Entrepreneurs and COVID-19 - Interview with Carole Noland, Owner of Lord's Shoes (Vancouver)

Carole (right) in store with her daughter!
Please share a bit about yourself as an entrepreneur and what your business entails - brick and mortar store, online, product, etc.

Lord's Shoes & Apparel is a Candy Store for women's fashion; we have been keeping women well heeled and saving their soles since 1930.

The store was originally started by my father Cecil Lord in Edmonton after he gave up his career as a musician. Ultimately my mother Lucia Lord and I grew the boutique into a 4 store business in Edmonton showcasing women's footwear fashion from all over the globe. Lord's was and still is known for curating a unique collection of beautiful products.

In 2006, my daughter Jacqueline launched the clothing selection at Lord's with the opening of our Vancouver Boutique in Vancouver's South Granville. This store was the store I had always dreamed of, and finally we had found the right location to update the Lord's look with fantastic clothing featuring a size range for all bodies. Just as we offer glass slippers up to size 43, our clothing selection boasts a broad range up to size 18!

Close to one of the oldest independent shoe stores in Canada

As our Edmonton clients longed to get their hands on our newest collections exclusive to the Vancouver store, we launched our e-commerce store which ships worldwide and is one of the largest selections of footwear on-line in Canada. We also have taken on the concept of a pop up store which we take back to Edmonton every six months

Before the COVID-19 crisis, how did you work with your regular clients and reach out to new ones. What type of marketing worked best for you? 

I have always believe the best marketing is customer service! I believe in supporting and empowering staff so that they can give the best client experience possible. Although we have dabbled in print & audio & digital marketing, I still believe in client service and staff experience. You can see this in the staying power we have with our staff. Many have been with Lord's for decades! Our staff is our fashion family.

How has the social isolation required to combat the spread of COVID-19 affected your business? What about this has been hardest for you personally? 

One of their COVID changes!
Although we have a strong e-store the basis for our business is the brick & mortar. We are a group of social women whom love fashion and love to work with clients both old and new. It's been hard being away from our friends, clients and each other however social media has been a saviour. We can keep in touch with our clientele and love each and ever message and like we get in return.

We have used our several social media platforms to provide a feed that is both positive and exciting. We often post between fashion, inspiration and humour and add in the occasional personal note to engage our community.

Have you found new ways to interact with your customer? Have you developed any new products or services as away to help your clients through this time, or to fill a new need you see? 

Although we have always had a sneaky back door pick up for our ladies needing quick fashion-fix, the curb side pick up had been broadcast to our clientele and well received. We have clients trying on shoes in their cars, and my husband and I have started hand delivering on-line orders in Vancouver....why, not....we have the time these days. Also, we have added a live chat on the website for those looking for guidance on size and finding products. My daughter has been running this busy stream while home schooling her boys!

What type of marketing seems to be working best for you in this time of social isolation? 

Our social channels of Facebook and Instagram are true to our voice and provide an honest insight into our beliefs and commitment to both fashion and small business. I feel that our engagement with our clients in these arenas is positive and financially successful. We use social media and our website to show how our fashions look on "real" models (aka myself, our staff and friends) and we try not to use stock photography. This realness resonates with our clients and also helps then chose the right size when they see them on people they know and work with.

Scarf designed by Calgary artist 
Cydney Galbraith to celebrate 
Lord's 90th anniversary.
Anything you'd like readers to know about you and your business? Any last words of encouragement you'd like to share with everyone?

We will be back! Fashion is not cancelled! We are also touched by how many of our clients have continued to support us during this difficult time. We are truly touched

Lord's has survived many economic downturns, World Wars, depressions and we aren't going anywhere. This year commemorates 90 years of a fabulous family run business in Western Canada and we are committed to coming back from this even stronger and with the same loving faces you know from our boutique on South Granville.

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