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well firstly i am Lee No.2 :wink:


I am curently working for a well known Wholesaler and have been for the past 8 years, i now feel that i should do something with my gained knowledge, i.e open up a business. i am interested in keys ( which is my main field ) shoe repairing and engraving, the last 2 having little or no experience.


so where do you guys come in?

where can i gain experience in the latter 2?

what machines would you reccomend?

what layout capital ( roughly ) will i need?


absolutely any comments and advice would be greatly appreciated.


I have had the offer of a space from a friend in a well known supermarket..


Help me towards my first steps guys ( and gals )


kindest regards


Lee ( 2 ) :wink:

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I was always told "stick to what you know 1st expand into different fields second"


With that said, Why not start a new wholesale business?


When I worked for my original boss, I kept a small note pad in my pocket, whenever a box appeared in the workshop, or an invoice/delivery note was left lying around I'd write down the details to build a list of suppliers etc.

Also I listed part numbers, product lines, names things where called so when I did "Go it alone" I had the details of what I needed to get and where to get it (and I still have the pad as a momenta)


Shoe repairs and Engraving take years of experience to become competent at. I started with just shoe repairs and when I could survive with these moved onto Key cutting followed by engraving and then Watch repairs amongst other things.

Theres a certain amount of self teaching to be done though, and its taken me over 17 years working for myself to get to the stage I'm at today and I still see myself as an expanding business with a long way to go to get to the stage I see my self reaching.



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What about managing a service shop for your present employer to gain some expereince.


You could run with Keys/engraving/watches to a limited extent and build quickly up from there. I would probably advise you to go along the Shoe repair route in a very reduced capacity, sort of a "Heel Bar"set up no big stitcher no big outlay but taking the cream of the work. The bigger jobs that require the skill could be sent to someone else who would be prepared to do trade work for you, if you can find someone that is.

As your experience grows then expand from that.


Alternatively there is a new member selling up and the whole lot is going for £2000 a remarkably low price, but we dont know what condition or make the machinery is yet. Look under for sale banner.

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i totally appreciate that knowledge comes from experience--but we all gotta start somewhere..


i have made a call to a local repairer who is willing to show me the basics and he also has a computer engraver, so i am going in tomorrow to start my journey..


i really need to do this now or i never will, so this is the kick up my backside that i need, im sure you all had the feeling of being fed up of working for someone else knowing you could do it yourself.

many thanks to you both, sound advice







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im sure you all had the feeling of being fed up of working for someone else knowing you could do it yourself.



I came into this trade with the intention of learning a trade to start my own business it was an hereditary route. So I didn't get feed up working for someone else, just worked for them until the opportunity & time arrived that I could continue to my own business.


For you to be talking about this move, and already finding someone willing to show you an insight to the retail world of the cobbler shows you are on your way.


Do not take your eye of the goal, do not be put off by anyone. GO FOR IT! and Good luck.


Why not start a blog here on the site to detail and diary your new business?


Lee Ff

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You are very fortunate Lee No2, you have the world of services, service providers and expert help at hand on the forum should you need assistance. 2000 or so Independants never had this back up but they survived to tell the tale and some of them here are willing to help you, all you have to do is ask. Where... How.....Why, the answers are here for you.

Keith & Peter.. Shoe Machinery Specialists

Engraving Specialists

Key specialists

Merchandise specialists



And above all technical expertise from the members.


You need never to be alone with a problem.

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Since the forum has been here, I have pulled in several hundred pounds worth of turnover by getting information or services from members for jobs that would otherwise have gone to a competitor.


I have learnt many techniques and information which may help subconsciously in the future.


You need any help Lee No2 and your in the right place!


Lee Ff

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Cheers guys, really do appreciate the help.


Its now momday morning and i have completed my first day on saturday...

not gonna say too much now, i will start a blog as Lee suggested, but all i can say is what a real eye opener, to see it from the other side.


Thoroughly enjoyed it though! :D


I know i am very lucky to have so much assistance in my first steps, from my mentor and from all you guys, so once again THANKYOU!


Ill keep you updated

many thanks

Lee ( no. 2 )

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