Steven Oakley sat down with Phoebe Ledger for our first Client Feature for 2019
Soda the Store
A women’s clothing & lifestyle store with salty coastal style.
What can your Business offer to others?
Soda the Store offers peace of mind through styled solutions for the coastal women’s wardrobe. Offering quality clothing and lifestyle accessories at an affordable price, Soda stocks a variety of new and different items and brands previously not available in the Coffs Harbour Region. I look to source stock regularly so customers can expect to see new pieces in store. With a welcoming smile and friendly professional service, Soda provides a relaxed environment for shopping, styling advice, and promotes positive self-image.
Soda the Store is also a place to pop in for a chat! I love that friends, family, customers and passers-by will stop in and say hello!
How long have you been trading for?
The store opened early December 2018, after six days of substantial renovations. Some days it feels like months since the doors opened, other days it feels like just last week. It is incredible how much has progressed since! In saying that, everything is still very new and a steep learning curve. While at times daunting, I’m very much enjoying being a new small business owner, and I’m trying to embrace the whole process.
Who will we meet when we visit the shop?
At present, when you visit the store, you will be greeted by yours truly! Soda is open six days a week, and I’m there every day! Plans include employing a staff member, but for now being present and involved across all aspects of the business and in-store helps to determine what developments and improvements are needed, which in turn helps to shape the direction of Soda. Plus, I love the design and vibe of the store – it makes for an enjoyable and chilled place to spend all my time.
As a business owner, what is the most difficult hurdle you have come across and how did you get over this hurdle?
Juggling the many facets of running a small business is my biggest hurdle. As a new business owner, I am still in the process of implementing systems as well as tweaking the look and feel of the store. Prioritising and time management are imperative; just recently I designed a weekly planner for a more structured work day and week. This routine allows for more efficiency, to work smarter, and also ensures I get some downtime. I also love a good list (Google Keep is my everything!), and this helps me organise the many ideas and tasks as they arise. I also have to remember it’s just me doing everything, so I need to look after myself otherwise it will impact on the business. When I can’t get it all done, I remind myself to do what I can, and the rest will fall into place.
If there was one thing you could say to other business what would it be?
To other business, I would encourage the support and embrace of other business. Becoming a small business owner has provided the opportunity to meet other small business owners – be it brick and mortar, side hustles or start-ups. There is quite an underground movement in the area that I wasn’t previously aware, and I’m loving meeting people who want to talk and share their business ideas and plans. Some exciting developments and collaborations (as well as friendships) are forming through these communications. It has been an unexpected bonus, and I believe encouraging and supporting this pool of talent, and other businesses are vital and beneficial to the community.
If there was one thing you could say to your Customers what would it be?
To my existing customers, I would give thanks for the support, encouragement and positive feedback, that their business is very much appreciated, and I hope they continue to share the journey of Soda the Store with me. To all my future customers I would say a big welcome, and I hope they enjoy the Soda experience!
Credits for all these amazing images to Jessi Simpson (@bloompress)