This month, we’re getting to know the multi-award winning indie children footwear specialists, Cooshoo, ran by the lovely Anna Swift and family…
When was Cooshoo established?
Cooshoo opened its doors on York Road in Kings Heath in April 2014.
What inspired you to set up a children’s footwear store?
Like many small businesses Cooshoo developed out of a frustration with what was available from other children’s footwear providers. We were really fed-up with uninspiring designs and being forced to select pink for our daughters which didn’t really reflect them or us. We travelled to independents elsewhere in the country for cool footwear for our daughters Nuala and Doris. After lots of research we felt confident there was a gap in the market for fitted footwear for style conscious parents.
Where did the name come from, and what does it mean?
It was a bit like choosing a name for your child. We created a huge list and narrowed it down to Nushoo or Cooshoo. Nushoo would have used the first syllables of our eldest daughters name but we didn’t want our youngest to feel left out. So, we went with Coo as in you ‘cooo’ over something nice and shoo is obvious!
Why did you choose Kings Heath as your home? / What is it like to be located in and work in the heart of Kings Heath with so many other successful independents?
As residents of Moseley and Kings Heath for over 15 years, we strongly feel that the community deserves to have beautiful and interesting shops and we love that the offer in Kings Heath is so varied you almost don’t need to go anywhere else! This vibrancy also brings with it wider benefits to the community too by helping to attract events, bands and other organisations to the area. We were already committed to shopping locally with other independents and we wanted to be part of that.
Your window displays are always so lovely, where do you get your inspiration from?
Thank you. Pinterest is my go to place for ideas, I can spend hours on there! I also get ideas from visiting other places, music and of course the seasonal festivals provide lots of opportunity for quirky displays. We are currently in the process of re-brand so there will be more fun to come inside and out and on the web too, so watch this space.
For customers who haven’t visited yet, what can your customers expect from a visit to Cooshoo?
Fabulous shoes in lots of different styles and colours, including school shoes. A calm and fun atmosphere and lots of time taken to make sure your child is comfortable and leaves with really good fitting footwear to suit their feet. We follow the Society of Shoe Fitters training and the fitting is crucial we are also attentive to every family who comes to Cooshoo. We know children all behave differently depending on lots of things, we adapt our service to work with every child whether they are bold and full of energy or shy and need a bit of time to settle in. We also regularly fit children with behavioural issues and with different physical capabilities. To help families in this position, we can offer a very personal service booked appointments and early/late opening on request.
As a family-run business, what influences the footwear and accessories you stock in store?
Three years’ experience and lots of listening to parents’ feedback has led us to a point where we are really confident with the fit and quality of the brands we stock. Comfort is paramount for every style we select and we pride ourselves on having lots of different shaped footwear to suit different shaped feet. We also look for specific things depending on the purpose of the footwear so toddler shoes are selected for their flexibility, school shoes for durability and a large proportion of our shoes have removable foot-beds which is so useful to get a good fit for children who wear orthotics or splints.
We also aim to have a wide range of styles and colours of footwear to suit different tastes from the classic to the outrageously funky and everything in-between!
What is your current bestseller?
Bobux are a New Zealand ‘barefoot’ brand and have fast become our best-seller. They offer first walkers and toddlers real flexibility and are styled so well too. Our best-selling shoe overall is one called ‘Savage’, a boys school shoe that is reinforced all the way around but has a breathable foot-bed perfect for the boy who is hard wearing on their shoes.
What do you think makes Cooshoo different to other footwear stores?
We are not simply selling shoes, we listen to parents and children and tailor our service to them. We are learning all the time too which means our styles and fitting keeps on getting better. We see children with slim feet, wide feet, narrow ankles, high bridge of the foot etc all the time so we know what styles suit different shaped feet. Likewise, orthotics are all different and drastically alter the fit and size of shoes too. We are becoming adept, and much quicker, at looking at an orthotic insert and the pair of feet they support and selecting the styles most likely to fit.
Where can we find out more about Cooshoo?
You can find out more about us on our website cooshoo.co.uk and our Facebook page or call us direct for a chat on 0121 444 1808.