Shoes are my passion; they always have been and always will be. Having size 14 feet plays a big part in this as I have always had to do a lot of research to find shoes that fit.
My name is Curtis Hunter. I am 20 years old, a Business Management degree student and also a co-owner of YourStudentShoes.com along with my best friend, Ben Keighley.
I am an entrepreneur with a passion for business. For a long time Ben & I pondered upon the idea of setting up and running our own business. On the 1st June 2012 our business dream became a reality and we established YourStudentShoes.com .
How did we start it?!...Well it was with £500 left from a student loan.
The YourStudentShoes.com stance is simple - to provide students with trendy, comfortable and affordable shoes at a great price. What I mean by this is that when you walk into a High Street retailer, have a look at their footwear section. Then grab your smart phone and load up YourStudentShoes.Com. Compare the price and selection of shoes on offer on my website to those the retailer is offering and there you have it... Great quality shoes sourced from the UK, but at an outstanding price which won't put a dent in your pocket.
Setting up the company has involved many obstacles and putting in some long hours. Ben and I both work and study along with running the business on a day to day basis. Ben works as a social media and marketing manager. I work as a department manager within a Topman store whilst also being in the 2nd year of a degree. Trying to find time when we are both free is always a challenge as has been trying to negotiate our way into local regional and national websites, newspapers and magazines. But we have managed to do this quite effectively so far!!
The two of us have been really inspired by the positive work ethic of our families and parents. As a small business with only limited funding we have had to think of new and innovative ways to raise our profile. From the start we consciously made the decision not to pay for any advertising in the traditional sense but to focus upon new technology and linked social media. The advantage of this is that we have been able to utilise the latest developments to monitor our successes, such as through the use of analytic products available free through major technology companies.
We believe that we have identified a gap in the market for trendy inexpensive shoes aimed at students. Although we target students specifically our shoes can be worn and appreciated by people of all ages.
Since the website went live in June last year I honestly believe the business has been a resounding success. Waking up at 6am every day is not the easiest thing to do for a student but when you are being recognised with a highly commended award for ' Online Business Of The Year ' and being praised plus supported from the Ex-Defence Minister and local MP Nick Harvey you know things are going well. Waking up in the morning to see that you have had orders from different parts of the UK and from places around the world is a pretty special feeling!
We have used our resources and connections to the best of our abilities. The saying of 'it's not what you know, but who you know' is really applicable in our business. To be able to call on a friend who can design you a new logo or your sister's boyfriend to photograph the new range of shoes has been a great help. We've had some great promotion so far from the likes of London Wasps rugby team.
We're focusing at the moment on working with some outstanding up and coming music artists. Watch this space!
What are our plans for 2013? To carry on being successful and enjoying what we are doing. We are looking to bring out our own branded range of shoes and use the UK more and more for resources to further develop YourStudentShoes.com.