Today we talk to Tam, the founder of Hey Toots and their wonderful handmade shoes.
Hi Tam, so what is Hey Toots about?
Hey Toots is all about opportunity!
– An opportunity to give back to the community in South Africa, where I’m originally from, as the products we sell are handmade by an all women team there! Many of the ladies who make the shoes and accessories are from disadvantaged backgrounds, so for us to support their work is hugely empowering and philanthropic. If we can make a real success of Hey Toots in Australia we will be able to support the community more and more!
– An opportunity for people in Australia to have access to something different…a product NOT made in China, for example! 🙂 Beautifully handmade items, with uncompromising attention to detail, that are of outstanding quality.
– An opportunity for me as a new mum to create a business that allows me to work from anywhere so that I can spend more time with my precious little Pippa during her fleeting childhood years.
What was your inspiration and how did you get started?
I hope this doesn’t sound too corny but my inspiration has really been motherhood in itself 🙂 I am a teacher, working in a preschool environment most recently, and when I went on maternity leave I began thinking “what if?”. Maybe there is a way that I can stay home with my baby for more than just one year and then…SERENDIPITY!
While on a visit in South Africa catching up with my family, my pregnant sister dragged Pip and I along to a baby expo on our last day of the holiday when I came across the most divine little baby shoes made by Myang. As I got talking to Louise from Myang about living in Sydney it became apparent that they were looking for someone to sell their products in Australia. I said, “Me! Your someone is me!”
The partnership bloomed from there and in agreement with Hubby we created our online store to see where this opportunity could take us.
I am sure that the challenges we have experienced are those most entrepreneurs must face, things like self-doubt, the motivation to keep at it, to keep asking people for help, to keep opening more doors. Building brand awareness and getting website visitors is tough, there are so many incredible brands out there and so many other businesses vying for the same clientele!
Where do you source your materials / products?
We purchase our products from Myang in South Africa and then they travel by sea to these lands of beauty rich and rare. 🙂
What are the plans for Hey Toots in 2017?
We have a few market dates set up next month – Palm Beaches Market on Sunday, 23rd April and Kirribilli Market on Saturday 29th April! Hopefully some more around Sydney after that. We’re visiting Myang in South Africa in September to get a closer look behind the scenes at how the shoes are made and find out about the wonderful ladies who make them. Our biggest calendar event is our exhibit at the One Fine Baby Fair in Sydney on 4th and 5th November! We’re raring to go with anything else that might pop up along the way too 😀
What is your favorite piece at the moment?
I am most excited about our soon to be arriving winter items but in particular this little denim, unisex boot. We have accessories for girls and boys to match, cream beret and denim aviator! Just darn adorable!