Careers Sisters: What inspired you to start a shoe boutique?
Sharon Oliver: I’ve always had a passion for fashion, with a particular love for shoes. I was overseas, working 12 hours a day, six days a week when I got the idea to start an online shoe boutique.
Career Sisters: How did you start the planning process to create your business, and secure the financing to launch?
Sharon Oliver: After sharing the idea with my husband, I purchased the URL and started saving money. Next, I began to research shoe vendors. I created the name, Wallk Slo, days before my wedding, when one of my sisters, Fern Johnson made me realize that my initials will be SLO. My dream finally came to fruition when the boutique launched on May 4, 2018.
Career Sisters: What challenges have you experienced while running your own business?
Sharon Oliver: Determining the shipping price was a challenge. I didn’t want the cost to be too much but also didn’t want to incur too much personal out-of-pocket cost either. The critical components of my business are drop shipping and inventory – it’s a challenge. Also, marketing is fun but challenging. You must make sure you keep customers constantly interested because it’s easy to lose them.
Career Sisters: Why did you choose an online boutique versus physical retail space Do you have plans to expand in the future?
Sharon Oliver: Online shopping has become increasingly more popular over the years. Consumers prefer the comfort of shopping from home. I experienced the convenience of online ordering when I was working overseas for seven years. I loved that I could still shop for loved ones during the holidays and stay in touch with the latest fashion.
Also, I feel more in control of the online business model versus brick and mortar. I don’t have to worry about overhead expenses such as rent, utilities, etc.
Career Sister: Do you have a staff? Who’s your right-hand for daily operations and how do you plan on growing your team?
Sharon Oliver: At the moment, I only have a brand manager who helps me bring my vision to life. I still have so much to do and so much more in store for my brand. Eventually, I want to have a warehouse and a team that will help me design and promote the brand.
Career Sisters: Do you have a mentor? How have they helped you on your business journey?
Sharon Oliver: My husband is an entrepreneur and my mentor. He is very candid with me and keeps it 100! When I get frustrated or even feel like giving up, he reminds me of why I started this venture and that motivation is usually the right inspiration to help me get to the next round.
Career Sisters: What advice do you have other women about launching their own business?
Sharon Oliver: Being an entrepreneur is not easy. But, the most important thing to remember is to follow your passion. Because, if it’s your passion you will work for it when no one else will and eventually the money will follow.
Career Sisters: How you manage work-life balance?
Sharon Oliver: I usually start my day by praying, posting on social media, then the gym. After the gym, it’s basically looking for the next “new release” for Wallk Slo.
Career Sisters: What do you do when you are not at work?
Sharon Oliver: I love outdoors. I enjoy my deck, book, and a nice glass of wine.
CHECK OUT OUR CAREER SISTER SHARON OLIVER’S WEBSITE WALLKSLO.COM