If this pandemic has taught us anything, it's how to adapt! But how do you adapt a service that requires face to face contact and physical touch? The forward thinking duo over at Klodhoppers children's shoe shop have it all figured out and are a shining example to us all of how you can continue to serve your clients with a little bit of out of the box thinking. I catch up with owners Kim and Mark to find out how they're keeping the little feet of Brighton and Hove happy and in good shoes!
Please tell us about your business and what you offer?
Klodhoppers is an independent family-owned children's shoe shop.
We offer footwear from birth to school age and pride ourselves on both quality and service as well as free advice and guidance. We are renowned for our extensive range of Pre- & First Walkers
How long have you been based in Brighton?
Established by Kim and Mark in 2005, Klodhoppers' first shop was in Blatchington Road, Hove. The second shop opened in Haywards Heath in 2007. In 2016 the Hove shop relocated to Portland Road but closed in November 2019 due to a family bereavement and Kim having to have a hip replacement. The Haywards Heath shop remains open and is still a destination for many of our Brighton and Hove customers.
What challenges has your business faced since we went into lockdown?
It's been a challenge with all of the new season's stock arriving but the public being unable to see it 'in the flesh'!
At the same time it's been a challenge financially as cash flow has been affected quite dramatically, and yet we still have to pay our staff, our rent and our suppliers. The small business grant from the government has provided a lifeline but we don't know for how long.
That said, it's made us look to other ways of developing and promoting our business, e.g. social media, remote fitting by video call, as well as ensuring that all of our stock is accessible to the public via our online shop.
Would you say that the Support Local Facebook group and Brighton Quarantine website have been a help to your business?
We've only recently joined so it's too early to tell but it certainly gives us another platform to maintain our visibility which we are hoping will reap rewards.
What advice would you give to anyone who is struggling right now?
We're all pretty much in the same boat so a problem shared is a problem halved. Contact your peers for support, help and advice or just to talk to them (we're members of a local independent retailers WhatsApp group). Both your accountant and HMRC have lots of advice and guidance to offer. We are members of FSB (Federation of Small Business) - their webinars during lockdown have been very informative (currently the Coronavirus webinars are free to non-members).
What happy song makes you dance in your kitchen?!
Mark would dance to 'Don't You Worry About A Thing' by Incognito and Kim would dance to 'Modern Love' by David Bowie (especially now she's got her new hip!).
Anything further you'd like to tell us?
We are fully-accredited members of The Society Of Shoe Fitters and the Children's Foot Health Register and were recently awarded 'Children's Independent Footwear Retailer Of The Year 2020' at the Footwear Industry awards.
With over 30 years in the industry, Kim and Mark are confident that their online fitting scheme via video call will help you to find the right shoes for your little ones in the size that they need. To find out more visit their website
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