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A Chat with August’s Profile, Kassie Rempel, founder and owner of SimplySoles

August 2007
© Profile of Success, Catalog Success magazine, August 2007
Interview by Gail Kalinoski



Catalog Success: When was the catalog established?
Kassie Rempel:
The first catalog was mailed in September 2004. It took about a year to educate myself enough to feel comfortable putting something in the mail. The first catalog was 36 pages and now they are always 36 pages. I started with two catalogs a year, one for fall and one for spring.



It has since grown. In fact, this upcoming fall, we will have four drops this season. We are working our way to eight drops a year. Right now we do three drops a season. Fall will be the first with four drops.



CS: What is your primary merchandise?
KR:
Designer women’s shoes. We have slowly begun to add accessories. This season we added baby shoes, which has been phenomenally successful. We slowly started to add handbags and they have been a phenomenal success as well.



CS: How did the company/catalog get started?
KR:
With the generosity of strangers. I had two catalogers who educated and inspired me: Terri Alpert with Uno Alla Volta and Andrew Newsome with Wisteria. I sent Andrew a letter complimenting his catalog and asking for advice on how to start my own. He sent back a three-page letter that served as my blueprint. To this day, I use the same printer and list broker that he originally suggested I contact. I’ve never met him, but I know SimplySoles would not exist without him. Terri, on the other hand, has been an ongoing mentor in every sense of the word. She has opened up her business to me to help me learn the types of financials I should be running, and obstacles I’ll probably face. She’s a sounding board, a coach, and a cheerleader and is a large reason for our success.



CS: You are a CPA and specialized in personal financial planning before starting SimplySoles? What made you decide to change careers?
KR:
In 2000, I started my own financial planning business and was working with five affluent families. In 2002, one family asked me to work with them full time and help the spouse set up and run an exercise studio and day spa in the D.C. area.



In 2003, I was transitioning out of running her business and was looking for an opportunity to pursue my own. The topic was always shoes. I was thinking of opening retail space. There was no shoe boutique in the area. A few clothing stores that opened only carried a few lines. Opening a shoe store was my first inclination but where do you find a place in D.C. that has parking, that has foot traffic and affordable rent?
 

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