Name: Amanda Overs
Job title: Founder of I Can Make Shoes
Time in current role: 6 years
Amanda is the founder of I Can Make Shoes, a shoe-making school based in east London.
Why did you decide to start your business?
It was a bit of a planned mistake. I always wanted to work for myself, (mostly because I could never make it to work on time) but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I started a Business and Marketing Diploma straight out of high school and I’d always loved shoes, so a business in footwear seemed like a no-brainer.
I wanted to make shoes but didn’t have any access to machinery, so I came up with a way to make high-quality shoes from home and voila, my business was born. I now run shoe-making classes for beginners without the use of industrial machinery, transforming shoemaking into a ‘from home’ craft.
What are the key functions of your role?
My job is so varied. It’s quite an admin-heavy job on one hand and on the other hand I make shoes almost every day. I’m responsible for promoting my courses, managing bookings, facilitating date changes, teaching courses, updating the website, social media management, accounts, packing and posting orders, writing eBook content, arranging photoshoots – and this doesn’t even put a dent in my list of responsibilities.
Talk us through your typical working day
- Arrive at the office (I live 10 minutes away by train).
- Check my emails and bookings from the night before.
- Go through the daily checklist and reply to all bookings.
- Check the post room for deliveries (we’ve got a constant flow of shoe making supplies coming in and out)
- Lunch time. I usually eat at the café in our building because the food is soooo good and it means I can get food and go straight back to work. Sometimes I go to a meditation class at the London Buddhist Centre to clear my head.
- After lunch I usually start on the fun work, making shoe stuff! It varies every day but this could be anything from packing up shoe-making kits to cutting and making sandal straps for our sandal-making courses.
- Get all the orders from the day packed and dropped off in the post room for collection.
- Wine time!
Sometimes we film short videos with helpful shoe-making tips and other times we do a full stock take which can take up a whole day.
Your favourite part of the job?
Working with my hands, I find it so therapeutic. Sometimes if I’ve been on holiday or out of the studio for a while I just want to pick up a pair of scissors and cut out a shape.
…and the part you could do without?
Like any business it comes with a lot of responsibility. Staff, students, suppliers, web developers, accountants, banks, HMRC – I’m responsible for all of it.
How would your staff and clients describe you in three words?
Patient, encouraging, positive.
Plans for the future?
We’re transitioning at the moment to become a platform that offers shoe-making courses around the world. It was a massive surprise to me when I realised how many of our students came from abroad, so we want to be represented in other locations too.
Do you have any advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs?
At the risk of sounding like a Nike advert, just do it! LLY