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Hi Thinking of goin it alone, and start doing shoemaking for a living, but haven't got a clue where to start. there are only two that I know of in scotland one in aberdeen and one in castle douglas. I am in the middle with the potential of a very large area. hoping too do bespoke and orthopeadic as this is what i trained as. just wondering if any you guys can help as to wether opening a shop or doing from home?? :? :?

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Personally, I think the only way to go is a shop front. If you work from home how will people know you exist, other than through masses of advertising. What happens if your neighbour’s decide they don’t like the idea.

A unit, or shop will promote a better image, which if people are spending several hundred pounds on shoes they would want.

Mind you I’m not a shoe maker, our markets are very different!

 

Lee

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We are quite heavily involved with this market Gingerbas. It's a complex market and one which is extremely competetive.

 

There are some very big players as well as a few bespoke contributors, all of which are struggling on price at the moment. Most of the work is sourced through the NHS and you know how they are sqeezing all the suppliers at the moment.

 

The most cost effective Companies tend to gain the biggest contracts and therefore make the bulk of the profit.

 

You will need to invest a fair few quid to obtain the right manufacturing machines even for a small operation. If you wish to go down this route, let me know and we'll help in any way possible.

 

Keith

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Working from home = no business rates, may need planning permission for change of use? (although I don’t know any thing about working from home so this is probably wrong.)

 

Grumpy moaning neighbour disgruntled at their residential street being used for business purposes might = visit from the council ?

 

Incidentally, there are still a lot of people out there who would pay for a Bespoke pair of shoes, my self included however here in East Anglia as with Gingerbas’ area they are few and far between. Should be possible to earn a good living and I only hope you go it alone sooner rather than later Ginger, you’ll never regret it!

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cheers guy'. sort of what i already thot.. I would prefer a shop front but a tad deer up here. What machines are you talking about keith as a finisher is all i would need as everything will be done by hand, no overlasting machines will be needed, don't like the finish they produce any way, maybe a goodyear but would prefer to do by hand, and yes i work with the NHS and patients are always asking me to make more shoes. I'm not in the position to help them tho. once again cheers guy's.

 

Lee I'm already regetting not doing it earlier :cry:

 

 

Thats the thing Peter, open a shop and they pass by, don't and who knows where you are!!!!

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Hi there

 

I've only just spotted your posting and I think the advice so far has been good. Ten years ago I did what you are planning. I was working for a company making NHS footwear and to be honest the standard of work and the attitude of the workforce was really poor, and that is not what I wanted. I started my own business making shoes privately and believe me, there are enough people willing to pay £500-750 for good shoes around Scotland. I have a small shop and one employee (my daughter) but the work is great.

 

I refuse to tender for NHS work as the restrictions on the business are huge, but by reputation alone nearly 1/3 of all my work is paid for by the NHS, that is where the quality of the work and the service you provide will count.

 

Planning permission depends on your councils view and where you live. I wanted to downsize and work from home but they have refused me, but I'm lucky with rents of only £75 per week.

 

If you want to call me at work feel free to do so, better still why not pop down and have a chat for a day and see for yourself what can be achieved with very little money, I started with nothing except an £8000 bank loan.

 

I also suggest having a look at the website www.shoemakers.org as there are a number of other small businesses on there who have gone through the same as I have. Then maybe consider coming to our next Independant Shoemakers Conference in February and chat to more of us.

 

Good luck, Phil

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