Carol spent 27 years as a journalist before morphing into a PR specialist. But she never quite settled in the industry, although she was talented and by all measurements, a great success. A PR role at the UN opened a new door for her and she discovered, and fell in love with, the world of Fundraising. “I believed what I was writing and speaking about – I felt proud”.
But even in the midst of such enjoyment and positive impact, life had other plans for Carol. Another, rather unexpected, chapter was waiting for her. And, as with a great many changes, it came on the coattails of challenge, when a particular fundraising event just didn’t go according to plan, and her expectations of herself.
The idea for her next chapter, as a business owner, was born the very next day and The Shoe Garden is the result.
Key points from this episode
- Empathy is the glue that bonds clients and customers to you
- Your own experiences and unmet needs can point to a business opportunity that you are well aligned with – in Carols case, this was the impossibility of finding gorgeous shoes in size 12+
- A conscious decision to remain a “small giant” might be the right one for you – don’t be swayed and unduly influenced by others people’s opinion of how you “should” grow your business. For Carol, the one physical store and the online component is the perfect combination, regardless of others encouraging her to open more shop fronts
- Listen intently to your customers – that’s how you will become a better business person
- Starting out in business can be daunting – but you definitely have transferable skills. Be open-minded and positive, ask a lot of questions and surround yourself with people who support you
- Believe in yourself and take action! There is a reason why you have the desire to do this – trust and follow that desire
- Build giving into your business heart and you can make a significant impact – Carol has donated over $25K to her cause of choice. Microloans Australia through her “Shop, Share, Care” initiative
Links and key resources from this episode
767 million people around the world live in poverty
70% of them are women
The vision of Micro Loans is a world where all those living in poverty have the opportunity to build better lives for themselves and their families.
They aim to do this through their mission, which is to provide the poorest women in sub-Saharan Africa with the tools and skills to enable them to work their own way out of poverty.
By providing women with the skills and tools to start small businesses Micro Loans support them to become self-sufficient for their daily needs. Over time the money they generate from their own effort helps to ensure food security, improve housing, access to healthcare, and an education for their children.
Women are encouraged to make savings. This is as insurance against future crop failure, family illness and other unpredictable situations. Savings give them confidence in their ability to weather whatever life throws at them. With up to 99% of our loans repaid, Micro Loans can use the money again and again to help more and more women.
This is the foundation that Carol Haffke supports with her Shop, Share, Care initiative.
Carol and her Mum were able to visit some of the women in the region who benefit from such loans in late December 2014. They spent a day with the dynamic Agnes Kasuma, one of the Regional Managers with Microloan Foundation UK (the parent charity; the Australian charity just fundraises), and were able to hear the stories from some of the women in the Dodo lending group.
Click here to meet some of these amazing businesswomen.
Carol is also the author of “In My Shoes”, published in 2016.
With no experience in running a business — let alone in selling shoes — Carol developed her own way of doing things.
Carol is relentlessly honest in this book. She doesn’t flinch from describing the lows that she experienced in her first four years as a Proud Shoe Shop Owner, as she adjusted from a successful career to being self-employed, working solo and coping with slumps in sales. But In My Shoes tells of the many joyous times, too — like seeing first-time customers burst into tears of happiness at finding fabulous shoes that fit.
This is a book about creating your own brand in your own way. It is about taking a chance, learning on the job, becoming tough and daring to be different. It’s about making a commitment to create a not-just-for-profit business that cares.
Above all, it is a book about believing in yourself.
You can buy a digital copy at:
Or a paperback version on her website
The workbook that accompanies this Podcast series has a series of questions that can help you to uncover your core purpose for Your Next Chapter or to realign with it in your existing business.
With Foundation and evolution questions, it’s designed to get you thinking and exploring what’s possible and resonant for you.
Download it here > www.angelaraspass.com/purpose
About Carol Haffke
Carol Haffke spent 23 years in media, PR and fundraising, working in Australia, Namibia, Portugal and Vietnam.
Then one Sunday in November 2012, she suddenly had a melt-down.
Five hours later, she decided she would walk away from her career and open her own women’s shoe shop in Hawthorne, Brisbane, specialising in longer sizes.
Five months later, she opened The Shoe Garden.
Carol had no experience in business, retail or in shoes, but she did have a size 12 foot and knew first-hand how hard it was to find shoes that fit, let alone were fabulous.
Carol opened her beautiful shop when she was 44 and now, at 50, has never, ever been happier. Stressed to the eyeballs frequently, yes, but still happy.
Carol is also the proud author of “In My Shoes ... What it’s really like to start your own business” which is an honest and open account of her journey in business.
Connect with Carol Haffke
Support Your Next Chapter Podcast!
We hope you liked this episode and found it useful to your business (and you!). If you loved what you heard, we’d love your support. Here are 3 super easy ways to do that right now:
They’re greatly appreciated and super helpful in spreading the word to other Next Chapter women. Thank you!
Not sure how to leave a review on iTunes? It's easy and only takes a minute - Learn how here.
2. Share it using the social media buttons below