Thinks have been a bit stressful lately so for a change we’ve got some good news. Tamebay reader Helen Chapman of Dotty Fish, from Fleet, is a finalist for the NatWest everywoman Aphrodite Award, which is awarded to a woman who founded her business whilst raising children aged 12 or under.
Helen is a force to be reckoned with (and a lovely person as you’ll know if you’ve ever met her. As a mother of two young children she was shocked by the cost of leather baby shoes and believed there was potential to create a quality product at an affordable price. With no design experience, Helen drew some basic sketches and ordered 500 pairs of baby shoes and that was the start of her business Dotty Fish.
Helen had early success on eBay but in 2009 it was cut short by the financial crisis. With just £1000 left in her bank account and against all advice Helen decided to create a recession friendly shoe. This proved highly successful until her supplier defaulted on all her orders and she lost everything.
Nonetheless, Helen faced the challenge head on and convinced her husband to secure a loan on the house. Converting the garage and recruiting her first member of staff, she was determined not to make the same mistake again. Sourcing new suppliers in China she flew out to visit starting relationships that still exist today.
Dotty Fish continued to grow, moving into offices and recruiting staff. Always striving for the best Helen worked with the London Podiatry Centre to provide shoes that both looked good and encouraged healthy foot development.
Dotty Fish has thrived since and now exports around 70% of their shoes globally. When Covid-19 hit she put her staff first insisting they stay home whilst she and her husband packed and despatched all the orders. She is now focused on sustainability and reducing plastic in the supply chain.
The award winners will be announced at an online ceremony on the 3rd of December 2020. We wish Helen luck and have our fingers crossed for her… but in our eyes she’s already a winner!