Jennifer is such a great example of someone who has turned a difficult period on its head and came out on top. Her passion and beliefs are what have led her to this point, and it’s been wonderful to guide her as her plans for further expansion come to fruition
The next of our female entrepreneurs is Jennifer Bailey and her shoe brand, Calla Shoes.
Jennifer set up her business at the age of 37 after she developed bunions on her feet and struggled to find stylish shoes that weren’t painful.
Working previously as a Marketing Manager in Salford, Jennifer worked alongside business start-ups for several years. After being offered redundancy whilst pregnant with her second daughter, Jennifer decided that it was the right time to start chasing her own dream and create a business of her own.
Splitting her time between nursing a newborn, and developing a business model for her distinctive commercial idea, the savvy business owner launched her brand, Calla Shoes, using a start-up loan paired with some extra funds from her inheritance to give the business the kickstart that it needed.
Fast forward three years, and the e-commerce business now ships to 58 countries around the world. With two more rounds of investment under her belt, including one from the British Design Fund, Jennifer now manages an all-female team of four.
The business has been supported by Manchester legal firm, Primas, with Senior Associate, Daniel Rodgerson advising Jennifer on her two sets of investments, as well as providing lots of practical legal advice about managing and growing a business, the right way. Dan – who met Jennifer at a NatWest Accelerator Programme – has also spent time introducing her to other like-minded business individuals so that Jennifer never felt like she going it alone.
Jennifer has bold plans for Calla Shoes this year too. Whilst seeking another round of investment in the next 12 months, rapid expansion is high on the agenda for the business owner with plans for a second business launch in the pipeline too.
Putting her best foot forward
Jennifer said: “One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced along the way is getting backing for my business proposition. Often, funding panels are predominately made up of men and so, it was incredibly difficult for them to buy into a concept that’s centred around women. It was paramount for me to showcase the scalability of my business model and I was determined to demonstrate this, regardless of gender.
“Something I’ve learnt along the way is that it’s so important to get legal advice from the beginning. Make sure you’ve got an understanding of basic legal principals, like trademarking and company formation. Primas have been an invaluable stitch in my business’s tapestry and I’m so grateful to Dan for his advice and guidance along the way.
“This International Women’s Day, I’m celebrating all the many inspiring women I’ve been I’ve been lucky enough to meet along my journey. I’m confident in saying that the future is looking certainly looking bright for both my business and other female entrepreneurs.
“To any women looking to start their own business – your potential is unlimited. As long as you’re confident in your business idea and knowledgeable about your industry, investors will see that spark in you. Don’t concentrate on what’s holding you back – there’s always a way around it. You don’t need to be a superhero to start a new business either, just a belief in yourself and a desire to move forward. Thing BIG – there’s no stopping us from world domination!”
Dan Rodgerson, Senior Associate at Primas, has supported Jennifer with legal advice for Calla Shoes and commented: “It’s been a real pleasure to support Jennifer on her business journey and it’s great to see another woman taking the plunge into the business world after an already successful career.
“Jennifer is such a great example of someone who has turned a difficult period on its head and came out on top. Her passion and beliefs are what have led her to this point, and it’s been wonderful to guide her as her plans for further expansion come to fruition.”