The Heart & Sole: Meet Cathy, Shoutique Founder

Having been a staple of the independent fashion world on the Gold Coast since 2007, we sit down with Cathy Hardy, owner of Shoetique, to discover the key to her enduring success and some of the must-have styles in footwear this season.

What was your vision for Shoetique when you first launched in 2007?

In August of 2007, we first opened our doors in Scarborough Street with a vision for a beautiful, independent European footwear retailer for women. We only had footwear and accessories back then, and once we moved to Australia Fair in 2018, we added more clothing and other products to our range.  

We really centre around premium quality and a personalised service – when we first started out, there were more than 20 independent footwear retailers on the Gold Coast, and now there’s only three of us! We’ve certainly stood the test of time, and our customers know that they will walk away with something they love. 

With such an enduring business, how do you adapt to new trends in the market and styles?

I think the biggest change for all within the women’s footwear industry is the wearability of sneakers with everything. Sneakers are hugely popular now, and we can style them with shorts, with dresses or wide leg pants, they are a must-have for our customer base.  

Other popular styles include our beautiful handmade Spanish Espadrilles (a personal favourite of mine!) – I think it all comes down to comfort, and at Shoetique we really focus on aligning comfort and style. 

Even with the rise of e-commerce, consumers are keen to return to in-person shopping for a more meaningful and personal experience – how do you like customers to feel when they visit your store?

It’s just truly personal service – you get service and knowledge of what we know and what could be a good alternative to what you think you need. Sometimes, going to a physical retail outlet provides you with the chance to be surprised. 

Not everyone realises this, but photographing footwear can be very tricky – it doesn’t always come out looking the way it appears in real life, or conveying the feel. Showcased with our beautiful clothing, handbags and accessories range, getting to experience our shoes in real life makes it a really positive experience. You know you’ll always pick up something fabulous, but more importantly, you’ll be fitted correctly and there’s a higher chance of finding the right shoe. 

When customers have experienced the difference, they always want to come back. 

What are the ‘must haves’ for you to stock a shoe design?

It’s always about quality for us – we aren’t down the lowest ends of pricing (or fast fashion) but we sit comfortably in the middle range of pricing. Nothing outrageous, but you’re paying for quality and durability (as well as beautiful and unique styles!). 

We’ve really curated our range at Shoetique, European shoes and clothing (lots of Italian and Spanish designs), and women come to an independent retailer expecting to find something better. You won’t spot our shoes on everyone, and we cater to customers all across the Gold Coast who know they’ll find something special here. 

When you’re stepping out on the town, what will we spot on your feet?

Our Spanish Espadrilles are number one! You never have a problem with comfort, they are super stylish and handmade – they just work for our lifestyle here on the Gold Coast whether dressed up or down. 

Any favourite retail moments or memories across your career to date?

I love when interstate or international customers return to visit us – it gives me such a buzz that we’ve made that level of impact. I might even get an email from an overseas customer asking for me to ship something or looking for another style, and that tells me they love the product but the service is something they remember us for. 

We’re lucky to have really endured as a successful independent retailer for a long time – we never sit still, and we’re always looking for new ways to excite our customers.  

 

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