I’ve written almost 5,000 words on this website over the years, but one thing I’ve never written about is why I started the site in the first place, and how I came to earn a living from my love of shoes.
This story will be a familiar one to those of you who read my other blog, Forever Amber, but if you’re new to the site, here’s the shoe story (geddit?) of how I turned my love of shoes into a full-time career…
My shoe story began the week after I got engaged: not, as you might imagine, with a search for the perfect pair of wedding shoes, but with the news that my new fiancée was seriously ill, and would need a kidney transplant.
Terry began what was to turn into two years of dialysis a few days later. I, meanwhile, did my best to continue with my job in PR, but the stress quickly became too much for me, and I wanted to be around for Terry if he needed me, so I quit my job and started to dream up ways to earn a living doing something I loved: I figured life was too short to spend it doing something I hated (And I hated working for other people), so the only question remaining was what I could do instead.
I tried various money-making schemes in those early months and years, from selling clothes on eBay to launching my own magazine. Luckily, I had my writing skills to fall back on: I’d worked as a journalist before moving into PR, and I was able to call on some contacts, and pull in some freelance work to tide myself over.
Terry, meanwhile, was unable to keep on his own job due to his illness, and had started designing websites from his dialysis chair. What started as a way to pass the time during treatment sessions quickly developed into a skill people were willing to pay him for, so we decided to put our skills together and launch our own small business, offering website design (Terry) and freelance writing (me).
I was much, much happier as a self-employed writer than I’d ever been as a PR girl, but the job still wasn’t totally right for me. I still had deadlines to meet and customers (some of whom would call in the middle of the night, or first thing on a Sunday morning) to please, and although I’d always loved writing, I didn’t always love the subjects I was being paid to write about, which were often dry and uninspiring.
What I really loved was shoes. Shoes and clothes had always been my passion: I’d spend hours browsing online stores, or wandering round the mall, and got a real kick out of finding that perfect item, or putting together an outfit. It was fun, but it wasn’t something I ever imagined I’d be able to make a living out of.
That changed one day about a year into my freelance career, when I started to pick up blogging jobs, writing for fashion and entertainment sites. I already had my personal blog at the time, but I viewed it purely as a hobby, which is what I assumed all blogs were. Writing for commercial sites, however, convinced me otherwise: I started to realise that writing about shoes and clothes was actually something SOME people did for a living – and if SOME people could do it, why couldn’t I?
ShoeperWoman.com launched in April 2009, and hitting publish on that very first post was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Writing about fashion for living (as well as Shoeperwoman, I also run Forever Amber and The Fashion Police) allows me to spend all day doing something I truly enjoy, and while it’s not always easy (As with any business, full-time blogging has its ups and downs, and self-employment can be stressful at times), I haven’t regretted it for a moment.
As for Terry, he finally got his kidney transplant a couple of years after starting dialysis, with his brother John as the donor. He’s still designing websites, and is also the man behind the camera for the outfit photos I post on Forever Amber – the man has the patience of a saint!