CHILDREN’S shoeshop owner Sam Price has the world of shoes at her feet, after winning the Best New Footwear Retailer gong at the Footwear Industry Awards.
Angels And Urchins in St Cuthberts Street, Bedford, beat competition from as far afield as Dublin and Dorset to claim the award. And Sam had no idea that she had won until her name was read out at the ceremony in Birmingham.
But while Sam had never run her own business until she opened the shop three years ago, she already has a record of success. She picked up a gong at the 2009 Times & Citizen-backed Rising Stars Awards, and late last year Angels And Urchins was a finalist in the Daily Telegraph’s Best Small Shops In Britain awards.
Sam said: “I didn’t even know I had been nominated until six weeks ago when one of my suppliers said that he had voted for me.
“There were about six stores nominated, and then they drew up a shortlist, but it wasn’t until they read out the winners on the night that anybody knew the result. I just couldn’t stop smiling when they did.
“The awards are voted for by people in the industry, so it’s recognition from my peers.”
Angels And Urchins opened three years ago on the site of the former People People recruitment agency when, in Sam’s words, “the shop looked very different”.
As well as Sam there are two other employees at the store, and she admits that being her own boss is one of the aspects of running a shop that she enjoys most.
Sam, who has two young sons, is a former stockbroker, and had never thought of running her own business until she moved to Bedford.
She said: “We moved to Bedford as a family four years ago, and I was looking for my sons’ back-to-school shoes. I couldn’t believe that my only choice was to go to Clark’s, and the idea came from there.
“It was something that wouldn’t go away - I’d go to bed thinking about it, and I’d get up thinking about it. There was a lot of work to do - researching about running your own business, about the industry, speaking to other mums, speaking to the bank - and it’s been a really steep learning curve.
“But I love the fact that I’m solely responsible for this shop, whether it succeeds or fails, and what people think when they first walk in the door.
“It’s great fun.”