The first year of business is the toughest. From finding your feet to creating a reputation, it’s easy for a dream to be brought back to reality. Luckily for Cim Froeling, her plan has remained solid since day one – her store No Boys Allowed in The Hague (Netherlands) sells only the best sneakers for ladies, pure and simple. Whilst many stores on her street have closed this year, Cim remains positive despite holding down the only female sneaker store on the planet! We hit her up to find out why the ladies are so hard to please and how she keeps all the (NBA) balls in the air!
How hectic has your first year of business been?
Very. But I’m getting used to it and I can see the results now, so that’s the best motivation I can have. There is so much stuff coming my way that I have to learn to prioritize, be patient and have discipline all at the same time.
What do you wish you knew then, that you know now about running a store?
I am ‘No Boys Allowed’ and I underestimated that. I’m not really a person who likes to be in the spotlight. But it’s very nice to get recognition for something you worked hard for and in this case that’s the store, so that’s me.
Has the GFC shaken your confidence at all?
Sure, it scares you. But we’re growing fast and the collection is getting better and better. We have a solid group of customers who represent No Boys Allowed to the fullest. So many shops have closed down. On this side of the block we’re one of two stores who are still open.
Crap, that’s nuts! What keeps you motivated?
Everything. Even the hard times. You just want to make it into a success, so you work as hard as you can. When a new collection comes in, every time we open the boxes and see everything pretty that we’ve chosen, that keeps me going. We also now have cotton bags with a print by Cris Kuhlen and it’s so nice if you see someone use it on the streets.
Having said that, you’ve chosen a tough audience and a difficult niche market. Have you seen change in the way ladies are dropping coin on kicks?
Ladies are difficult! I am so indecisive just like a lot of ladies. The customers here know that it’s okay. And because of their patience, they usually make the right choice and come back. Hence the reason we have so many regulars here.
The hype has died down a little, but I can only hope that’s a good thing. There are many female sneaker lovers out there of all ages and from all over the world. We have an online webstore and we ship worldwide, so we can definitely help them here.
How hard has it been to convince brands there’s a demand for smaller sizes out there?
That was easier than expected, because the brands actually have the sizes, but it’s the store buyer that just doesn’t order them. Fortunately, most brands are going to widen size ranges, starting at size US4 in the new year. Also, every brand has a segmentation pyramid. We’re getting closer to the top, so the variety is getting bigger and better. The big brands have so many great styles. For example with Nike, you have so many models for so many different customers. The collection from the indies is just smaller. So if you’re not into their colours, fabrics or models then that whole collection and brand (for that particular season) is just not for you. But the customers have, over all, opened up more towards the new smaller brands.
So what’s coming up next for NBA? You’ve got your own apparel line popping off, but we’re still waiting for that NBA sneaker collabo!
First of all, I was very much looking forward to this interview, such a big honour! We’ll keep on going establishing our name in the industry, pushing the webstore and updating the website and blog. Our own apparel line is going to be bigger with different prints. I’m planning on traveling the world more, looking for new things to keep on point and on top! That collabo? When the time is right, you’ll be the first to hear about it!