Ally Stevenson, creator of Clean Heels Heel Stoppers, shares with us a bit about her brand and a few business tips for other aspiring entrepreneurs.
Ally, can you tell us a little more about what inspired you to create Clean Heels?
I came up with the idea for Clean Heels ten years ago when I was at a family outdoor party. We were outside and I could see my sister’s heels completely swallowed up by the ground, and I didn’t want to spoil my own heels. This is when I spotted beer bottle tops and put them under each heel. So with the two bottle tops under my heels I was able to stand without sinking. After testing numerous styles and materials I knew that the design had to be round to be able to distribute the weight evenly without sinking and a soft tube so that this wouldn’t cause damage to the neck of the heels.
What is the sole purpose and aim of Clean Heels?
To stop ladies heels from sinking into soft ground at all outdoor events. Also protect wooden floors in banned environments such as the National Trust and on boats.
Can you describe the moment in which you found out that Kelly and Deborah will be backing you?
I wanted to run around the room, but thought that wouldn’t of been a good look on the TV. But by my expression on the programme, I gave them both a massive hug of excitement. I am a bit of a hugger.
What does your product do in terms of confidence for women? How do you think it will make them feel?
We know the product already stops heels from sinking, saving their heels. But even better they stabilize women who aren’t so confident in heels. And women look great in heels, so I say try them and experience that gliding feeling, look at Deborah Meaden’s face on the show it was immediate.
In 2006 you were diagnosed with breast cancer, what kept your mind on the goal, which ultimately passed a clear victory on both health and business front?
My biggest barrier was the Breast Cancer and a lesson I will never forget. I launched Clean Heels and was diagnosed with Breast Cancer with 9 months of Chemo and radiotherapy. I thought of all this hard work and now I had the biggest fight of my life. But on a good note it made me fight and now I get to share my product with women all over the world.
What were the hardest days for your business?
In the beginning learning the ropes about patents and trademarks and how to run a business as I have never had any business training. And with my Breast Cancer being able to cope. But overall you have to put in hard work with any business to make it work.
Tell us about your best moment in Clean Heels, from idea to production?
I started with a piece of tube from B&Q and a CD case, within 3 months I watched CleanHeels’ heelstoppers get in the press here in the UK (British Made) I thought to myself: “WOW… I did it”. Then to see women at Goodwood races in 2006, walking in them was icing on the cake. I was a fantastic day.
Do you feel you fit into the Mumpreneur category? How do you manage a business and two children with an equal balance?
Ha-ha Mumpreneur… I like this. If you are organized, life is a lot easier. I do have a routine and always make time for my family after 5pm every day, I think this is important. But I am always ready to answer emails if need be or they will wait until the morning.
What are your top 3-5 tips for anyone looking to break into the shoe market?
This depends what you want to sell, from shoes to accessories.
1. Find a great pair of shoes or accessories that no one has thought about
2. If it’s new then protect with Patent and Trademark.
Good marketing (to tease potential buyers)
Good social media
Describe your favourite pair of heels and one place you would never wear them.
I have lots of favorite heels and wear them as much as I can. Probably wouldn’t wear them in the bath… Oh wait, I already have…