Where do you get your shoes? If you are size 9+ you will be pleased to hear about Divna (deev-na), an exciting new fashion source for women.
Owner, Veronica Ljubicic, 31, wears a size 11 and it was her own shoe shopping frustrations that inspired her to start her business in this niche market. “I just found there was little selection or style and it was hard to find shoes that fit, looked good and were fashionable enough for me as a young woman.”
Right now you can purchase her shoes online at www.divna.ca as well as at different fashion events. Importing her shoes from New York, Texas and Boston, most are manufactured in Brazil, and some in China. She carries an inventory of 20-25 styles, in sizes 9 to 13, with narrow, wide and half sizes available in select styles or by special order.
Veronica came up with the name Divna which in Croatian means beautiful on the inside and out because she wanted women to feel good, to be proud of their size.
Thanks to a government self-employment program, Veronica received training and an advisor to help her develop a business plan. However, in her first year she’s learned a few lessons. “I have never worked so hard, but I realize to be successful, I have to put in the hours.” admits Veronica. “And if I am honest, most of the time it doesn’t seem like work, because I love what I am doing.” she adds.
It has also taken her longer than she thought to find customers. “I had unrealistic expectations on how quickly the business would grow.” Her advice to other “newbies” - do some serious number-crunching, make sure you have contingency funds in place.
And what for the future? “I would love to produce my own line of shoes; to work with a designer to create a range of shoes that are affordable and that cater to my customers.” Her long term goal is to make sufficient revenue from her business to support causes that help women and children, such as Soles4Souls.
With her enthusiasm, marketing and fashion training, Veronica is a determined young woman who is destined to succeed – be it selling, manufacturing or donating shoes.