Hello! Welcome to "Step With Me," White-Balmer Shoes' brand new blog dedicated to all things shoes. The goal of this blog will be to showcase new brands and products, provide shoe styling tips and shoe care tutorials. It will share a glimpse of my personal shoe closet favourites as well as answer shoe-related questions you may have.
Please be aware, I am no writer. In fact, writing has always been a little scary for me. Last year when my best friends gifted me a ‘fill in the blank’ journal, I realized the extent of discomfort I had with writing, even when it was meant for my eyes only. So, with personal growth in mind (and extra time at home during lockdown), I decided it was time to push past this writing hurdle, step outside my comfort zone, and create a blog. And what better topic than one I am head-over-heels for? I am excited to share with all of you my passion for shoes, my experiences with owning a shoe store, and what working in the footwear wholesale and retail environment has been like for me.
My Journey To Loving Shoes
I have always had an interest in fashion. During high school, I knew I'd one day pursue a fashion-related career. I competed in fashion design contests - designing and creating apparel. I participated in a youth government entrepreneurship program where I launched my first business, Kay's Designs, which offered my handmade jewelry and handbags.
In 2006, I got my first job working as a retail associate at White-Balmer Shoes. Who would have guessed that 13 years later I would be the owner of the same store that sparked my love for shoes? This part-time retail job set my goal to start a career in the footwear industry. I learned the importance of wearing good shoes at a young age and more importantly, that comfortable, good quality shoes do NOT have to be ugly. This important takeaway I have incorporated in my store's slogan: Step comfortably, Stylishly. I hope to convince everyone that you can achieve a super stylish look while not sacrificing comfort or necessary support.
After graduating Marketing Management at the University of Guelph, I secured a position at Canada’s oldest footwear distributing company, Baker Shoe Company. Over the 5 years of employment there, I learned about wholesaling footwear, design, and manufacturing. I was lucky enough to combine two of my greatest passions, footwear and travel, to experience shoe-buying trips to Singapore, Portugal and Vietnam. I was also able to go on annual trips to China where I selected products to introduce to the Canadian market, as well as curate footwear collections by choosing styles, colours, and materials for a comfort sandal brand.
Alright, introductory post completed! If there is any topic you want to hear my thoughts about, or if you have any shoe-related questions, please let me know in the comments below. Please feel free to share anything you enjoyed reading and stay tuned to Step With Me for the next post!
Love this post! Your passion for the footwear industry is so clear and it’s very inspiring to see you pushing yourself out of your comfort zone with this blog! I would love to know more about the behind-the-scenes of female entrepreneurship and more on the footwear industry in China.