High Street Impact, Small Business of the Year and Alumni Business Person of the Year entrant – Footprints and Emma Priestman
Emma Priestman’s shoe shop is based in the Staffordshire Moorlands but its reputation is international.
Footprints, in Derby Street, Leek, regularly attracts customers from as far afield as the US and Denmark who make the most of the sort of service they tell Emma they simply can’t find back home.
A former children’s day nursery manager, Emma opened her specialist children’s shoe shop in 2006.
18 years later the business that was originally designed to fit around her young family is still going strong and Emma is diversifying.
After nearly two decades of focussing on children’s feet she’s now branching out into adult footwear too with a particular focus on ‘good shoes for the elderly’ and shoes for medical staff, hairdressers and others who spend their working life on their feet.
Emma is also working on a community element to her business where she takes her expertise into the likes of retirement villages, GP surgeries and mother and toddler groups to ensure people understand the importance of wearing correctly-fitting shoes.
“I’m really proud about what I do and the service I offer. I like to think our customer service is second to none,” said Emma, who currently has one member of staff but is looking to recruit a team to work for her expanded business.
“We have a lot of customers from Leek and the surrounding areas but people also travel to us from Cheshire and Derbyshire.
“We also have repeat customers from overseas who buy from us when they’re visiting family in the UK and say there isn’t a shop like ours where they live.”
Emma is currently studying on the Peter Coates MSc in Entrepreneurship, where she is honing the expansion plans for Footprints.
“It’s a fantastic course. It’s been like a breath of fresh air for me to be exposed to other entrepreneurs and so many inspirational speakers,” she said.
Footprints has been entered into the High Street Impact and Small Business of the Year categories of the Staffordshire University Business Awards and Emma has entered the Alumni Business Person of the Year category.