Good talks to prominent New Zealand footwear designer and influential businesswoman Kathryn Wilson about running a company during COVID-19 and beyond.
Being in the shoewear business for 17 years is an achievement in itself, and not only that, Kathryn Wilson has experienced the ins and outs of operating a business during two recessions. An eternal optimist (which we love), Kathryn understands the importance of taking positives from these types of experiences, including the strength of her dedicated team.
Kathryn Wilson’s longevity is attributed to a loyal following of the brand, due to Kathryn’s focus on her community through good times and bad. During times like now, she says the brand’s reputation for service, product, price, design and quality is more important than ever.
Running a business comes with challenges, but Kathryn takes these in her stride. She’s been working from home during the lockdown, made tricky with two children aged one and five, but she’s also been able to reflect on how lucky we are to live in New Zealand during a worldwide pandemic.
To stay mindful and focused, Kathryn aims to get to bed at a reasonable time each evening, so she is rested and ready for what the next day brings. She makes a point of not checking media reports during the day other than the 6 pm news, so she is not inundated with bad news all day. Wise advice for any budding entrepreneur or fashion designer.
We ask Kathryn what she thinks retail will look like post-lockdown, and she acknowledges it’ll be a tough few months, but as always, her optimism shines through. She notes the importance of ensuring the customer experience online is the best it can be, and is looking forward to reopening her physical stores as interacting with customers is her favourite part of the business.
We’re in luck for Kathryn’s upcoming collection, as leisure and lounge-wear focused fashion is in demand. She says “we have designed capsule collections of beautiful house slippers in satins and soft leathers to be worn indoors”, as well as variations on the classic white trainer.
During Level 2, you will be able to visit Kathryn Wilson stores in Britomart, Herne Bay, and Newmarket, and in the meantime, you can shop online at kathrynwilson.com.