Mixing enthusiasm with know-how, Arancha Heredero and Kirsty Cunningham may have just concocted exactly what Crouch End needs with the opening of their new children’s shoe shop Windmill
It’s a classic scene from Shaun of the Dead. After a particularly heavy night, Shaun (Simon Pegg) stumbles to the corner shop blissfully unaware of the zombies and carnage around him. It’s rather strange sitting on Weston Park looking directly across the road at where the scene took place, and where a new concept in children’s shoe retail is set to open this month.
Some may say this business in Crouch End is as dead as the zombies in the classic film, particularly as the last of its kind – Red Shoes – closed down at the back end of 2012. ‘There is a market for it,’ disagrees Arancha Heredero. She’s seated alongside Kirsty Cunningham, two local mums who have gone into business together to launch Windmill. ‘There’s a lot of children here in a small area,’ adds Kirsty. ‘We have friends in all the local schools and have got good community networking.’
They are a great double act and appear very confident in what they will be offering. Affordability is key, as is customer service – and these two will certainly give you a warm welcome – and brands to be stocked include Petasil, Froddo, Livie and Luca, Start Rite and the wonderfully named Bubblegummers. But Windmill is not just a shoe shop. ‘Parents were saying to us that they couldn’t buy things like socks, underwear, plimsolls for their children,’ explains Kirsty. ‘We also wanted to offer gifts.’
‘There will be a relaxed atmosphere,’ Arancha steps in. ‘We are going to have a kids corner.’
‘The experience for children is really important to us,’ Kirsty nods. ‘It’s a hassle to get children into shops, so we wanted a play area for siblings.’
As well as clearly being very good friends, Arancha and Kirsty bring different things to the table in terms of their partnership. The former has nine years of experience as a registered childminder in N8, and it was her constant trips to her homeland of Spain, where she brought back gorgeous shoes that every parent wanted, that inspired their business idea; and the latter has nine years’ experience as a menswear buyer for Selfridges. They have also been Crouch Enders for a decade now. ‘It’s a great community,’ Arancha beams. ‘It feels like a little village, but on your doorstep you have everything that London has to offer.’
‘The people here are from such a wide variety of backgrounds,’ Kirsty adds, ‘but they have all gelled together. It just works.’
I remark that both seem incredibly relaxed considering they are about to embark on a new business venture. ‘We are enjoying it,’ Kirsty smiles, ‘it’s a great adventure for us. If you love something that will come across. It’s like a dream come true for us.’
‘It’s a new phase in our lives and we are throwing ourselves into it 100%,’ says Arancha.
And with that, they head across the road to inspect the currently shop that will soon open to Crouch Enders as Windmill. Unlike the infamous scene in Shaun of the Dead, this certainly doesn’t look like a venture that’s dead in the water.
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