Coming up on the new year, I am reflective of what I’ve accomplished and thinking about my priorities for 2019.
I launched Bells & Becks last March without a whole lot of expectation or understanding of what was to come. I recently received a letter in the mail that I wrote to myself back in May, just after the launch. The letter was a series of questions that I was pondering back then along with some wise words of advice for future Tamar.
Here are the questions I was pondering:
Are people saying good things and spreading the word?
Looking back, the one thing I know I did well is execute on beautiful product. I very deliberately chose Italy as the place to manufacture the collection based on capability, quality, and of course, design aesthetic. Nowhere else in the world can match Italian knowhow in shoe-making techniques, nor can anywhere else match the quality of leathers and pure design sensibility. I chose wisely.
The inaugural collection is exactly what I wanted in terms of both quality and fit. This combination turned out to be magic for my customers. The shoes resonate even more when customers see and feel them in person and understand how chic, flat shoes can also be incredibly comfortable. People are saying great things, and we’ve receiving nothing but 5 star reviews on the site along with great word of mouth on the comfort factor.
What product decisions did you make for Fall?
At the time of launch, I was already in the midst of working on the Fall assortment, and I was conflicted because I didn’t feel that I had the perfect assortment of truly differentiated, chic and comfy shoes and booties for the season. I didn't compromise, and I ended up working with a new factory outside of Naples that produces shoes for Ferragamo. I was so impressed by the factory, that I decided to pull the trigger and work on a great key item boot with them. From this work, came the Brava leather bootie, which is by far my best seller this Fall. It turned out to be the perfect mid-heel height and combination of materials that created beautiful contrasts in a classic silhouette with a twist. I’m very proud of the Brava and have been wearing it on repeat this Fall/Holiday. It is truly both chic and comfortable, which is my filter for everything that will be part of the collection.
Did you figure out social and digital marketing?
Ok- no, I haven’t cracked this code yet at all, but I have come a very long way. I have a lot to learn in terms of how to build a digitally native brand. One of my key goals for 2019 is to find the right digital marketing strategy to drive growth and scale.
At the time that I wrote the letter, I made a note that I had 411 Instagram followers. By the way, up until the time I launched Bells & Becks, I had never even used Instagram, so this was already a decent accomplishment. I would say that I have a long way to go, but I finally hit the 1K follower mark on Instagram last month. I did it organically (no bots) and it feels like I have a genuinely engaged following of fans that love my shoes. Looking forward to 2019, I’ve got a lot of work to do to build this following and showcase that I have a lot to say about the footwear space in general. As I have to remind myself occasionally, I am actually a shoe expert.
The final note to myself in the letter said: “Be easier on yourself. Things that seem hard today will get easier.” These wise words are amazingly true. Many concerns that seemed utterly overwhelming at launch have been completely worked through. I’m on to new issues and even bigger challenges, but I have the confidence that I can figure it out and continue to push forward to build Bells & Becks into something really special. I'm beyond excited about the Spring collection. It reflects my point of view about great footwear that is unique in the marketplace, and of course, everything is chic and comfy.
Happy new year to all and looking forward to lots more blogging and writing in 2019.