By Ed Waters Jr.
The Frederick News-Post, Md.
Nancy Copen has launched Annabelle Grace & Co. LLC, selling women’s sandals she designed under the name Annabelle Grace Collection.
Question: What led you to launch this business?
Answer: It started as a distraction to heal some personal pains and put a positive focus in my life. It then became a way of taking charge of my life and my future. I felt vulnerable in my career, knowing that someone else controls my time, salary and financial security. I saw several friends lose their jobs to the economy after dedicating years of service to employers, and it prompted me to take action in a different direction. It was empowering and challenging to do something new and start a business.
Question: What is unique about it?
Answer: The sandals and business are built around inspiring women. We want to support women in setting personal goals and dreaming big. The shoes are a reminder to walk forward and keep moving toward those dreams and to just keep taking the next step.
Question: What do you do that nobody else does?
Answer: It’s the connection to other women and the inspiration that we share with others that is most important. We never want it to be another shoe company. We want to create a means of inspiring others and we just happen to do it through shoes. If you’re sitting on your couch you don’t need shoes. If you’re out and about, moving forward, doing something as you go about your daily life — you’re wearing shoes. We want to keep women focused and motivated in those little everyday moments.
Question: Why do you believe you’ll be successful?
Answer: The story and connection to women is one that all women can relate to. You can buy shoes anywhere, but it’s how those shoes make you feel that matters to us. We believe in the support and encouragement of women helping women.
Tell us something specific about your business field, who your customers are or how you see a new business doing in a challenging economy.I believe that businesses need to do more than just sell their product because competition is everywhere and there’s a vast selection of choices available to the consumer. Consumers want a connection to the business through the brand’s identity, excellent customer service, a larger purpose or the overall experience, and not just to be buying another item in a cart.