Foundations: Meet Radical Yes!

Image credit: Kristin Wursthorn

At AAMI, We love to see small businesses develop and grow. In this article, produced in partnership with Broadsheet, the creators and owners of ‘Radical Yes’, tell us about their small business.

‘Radical Yes’ makes stylish shoes for the busy and creative, modern woman. With comfort at the forefront, ‘Radical Yes’ strives to create a ‘flat shoe liberation’, making only flats, only for women.

The duo, who are partners in life as well as in business, share their perspective on the benefits of work-life balance, their biggest challenges, and tips for aspiring business owners.

1. What is the most fulfilling thing about being a business owner?

Being the ‘master of your own destiny’ which for us means we can be there for our kids a huge amount more than if we were working in the kind of fashion jobs we had pre Radical Yes. We also love the challenge of being able to write our own script each day – thinking up new sales strategies, constantly talking about different ways to communicate with our customers and market the brand. We love that and really thrive on the creative side of the business.

2. What are the biggest challenges you have faced as a business owner?

Fear is a huge factor especially when you have 2 kids to take care of and some days it would just be so much easier to have a regular salary. Like Spiderman says ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ and so it means we have to be ‘on’ and really working every single day, worrying about revenue and cash flow (a lot!) which can be very challenging.

Being a business based around manufacturing as well, where things can and do go wrong, has been particularly scary over the years but every time we have had a challenge on that front we have used it as an opportunity to learn and get better. Each year that has gone by has given us the experience to know what to do if something goes wrong with a style or a material and we have also learnt that this is part and parcel with manufacturing. It is not a perfect science and from time to time things go wrong. It’s how you deal with issues that defines you as a business.

Image credit: Kristin Wursthorn

3. What were your first steps when it came to promoting your business?

Initially we used Instagram just to let our close friends know what we were doing, but as we became more dedicated to the business, we soon learned that social media is not a marketing strategy in itself. We quickly learnt the power of email to create an important channel of communication with our customers. Our first pop up shop also did a lot to spread awareness about our brand and allow people to see, feel and try the product which is still very important for a shoe business which is primarily online.

4. Tell us about Radical Yes!

FLAT SHOE LIBERATION! Radical Yes makes flat shoes for modern women who are getting ALL the things done! Creative, professional, active women who don’t have time for the fuss of heels but still want a killer look to feel super sharp in. Everything we do revolves around this philosophy of cool pragmatism. We only make flat shoes, and we only make shoes for women. We have a diverse range of styles – everything from trainers, to loafers and slides, with the boundary being that they are flat, very comfortable and highly wearable shoes.

5. How did you develop the idea for your business?

The idea first struck Kerryn whilst she was taking a sabbatical from her Product Developer role in footwear to complete a year of Yoga Teacher Training. It began on the Yoga Mat with an idea to create a flat-shoe that was comfortable enough to wear to the Yoga studio, but cool and ‘together’ enough to wear out café and gallery hoping afterwards. The collection began as a 7-piece range built around the same desert boot inspired lace up style, made different through unique materials and palette choices. We added a removable athletic innersole for comfort and also reduced the amount of internal backings that factory produced shoes traditionally maintain so they were very soft and unstructured – almost slipper like. We quickly became known for making comfortable shoes with a point of view and it grew quite organically from there.

Image credit: Kristin Wursthorn

6. Do you have any tips for Aspiring business owners?

Stay focused! It is so easy to keep chasing all the shiny new ideas and iterations that things ‘can’ be instead of just sticking to the plan. We have done that a few times along the path – things get wobbly real quick and suddenly your overhead has doubled and your revenue has halved while you were meandering off track. So that said, it is important to plan, particularly your financial metrics (revenue, gross margin, expenses and planned profit) to know where you want to end up. You also have to REALLY know what your values are and absolutely most importantly who your customer is. If you want to make things you need to have a super strong and transparent relationship with your suppliers. Product is everything.

7. How do you juggle your work life balance?

Actually this has been the best thing about running the brand. We are with our kids a lot of the time – quite often they will be out the back of the shop watching us pack orders and serve customers. Our oldest son Max is always offering us cute ideas for product and marketing concepts! We love that they are getting exposed to this world at such a young age and can see it already firing an entrepreneurial spirit in them. The juggle can be hard, but in many ways we are blessed because what we are doing never really feels like ‘work’. It’s just what we do as people and where our passions are so in that sense the business is just an extension of our lives which makes it easier at times to mentally manage it all.

8. What has been the biggest high for you with Radical Yes!

Making a video for Broadsheet and AAMI has to be up there! But also just seeing many of the amazing women who wear our shoes out in the world living active and inspired lives in Radical Yes shoes. Annabelle Crabb wearing a pair of our Saturn Returns Pink High Tops into the senate last year was defiantly a highlight and realisation that what we do is relevant and resonates with the exact woman we were hoping to serve.

Image credit: Kristin Wursthorn

Making sure your business is looked after

AAMI Business Insurance supports small businesses across a range of industries, which is why we’re a proud partner of Broadsheet Kitchen. From humble beginnings to established businesses, AAMI Business Insurance offers flexible cover and has products available to help you to scale up your insurance as and when your business grows.

From cafés to market stalls, photography studios to retail stores, see how AAMI Business Insurance can be there for your business.

Get A Quote Today

AAMI Business Insurance is the trusted insurer of over 70,000 small businesses – including Broadsheet Kitchen. Whether you’re a tradie, a restaurant owner or just starting a business, AAMI Business Insurance caters to your needs. You can watch the full Foundations episode here.

Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as AAMI Business Insurance. Please read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before you make any decision regarding this product. The Target Market Determination is also available.