SDH 210: Making your Hobby a Business with Abby Walker
Is your hobby the only thing that makes you feel like you? How do you transform that hobby into a successful business?
We hear all about that with Abby Walker who is the CEO and worldwide distributor of Vivian Lou! Vivian Lou sells insoles for heels that help women wear them longer without the pain that we all know too well. Always loving heels herself, she immediately latched on to the product when she came across the company in early 2014. Vivian Lou offers two versions of the insoles, classic or couture, and they slightly rotate the heel bone up and back. This shifts your weight off the front of your feet to your heel and stops your foot from slipping which reduces the pain and pressure usually put on women’s forefoot. Abby said that in a standard three-inch heel, 75% of the body’s weight is put on the forefoot, and by using Vivian Lou’s insoles, that weight is equally distributed across the foot and makes it feel as if you’re walking in a flat rather than a heel. Another plus is that they are invisible and can be put in anything from a strappy sandal to open-toed shoes! They also come in four different sizes that range from US size 4-12, so any woman can wear them.
Before Abby began working for Vivian Lou, she worked in corporate marketing and communications for 15 years. After having her second child, she felt like she had lost herself in her career, and decided to start a blog as a side hobby because it helped her feel like herself again. Her blog was called Mama’s Shoes and was her place to gush about how much she loved high heels to her whopping 36 followers. As she was gearing up to write a blog post about foot sprays that helped with pain and inflammation, she found out they contained lidocaine, which is a numbing agent that dentists used. She said she felt that she could come up with a less drastic solution to help with foot pain, and decided to create her own foot spray with all organic and natural ingredients. She hired a chemical herbalist and naturopathic doctor, and together they made a fantastic product that worked better than their competitors. The only problem was since it was natural ingredients, they could only produce it in small batches. Since it couldn’t be mass-produced, the product line fell apart, and her ticket out of the corporate world vanished.
As luck would have it, she soon ran across an online forum with two women discussing a great product called Insolia. Surprised she had never heard of it before due to her in-depth knowledge of the shoe industry, she called the chairman of the company to see where they may have gone wrong with their marketing and promotion. The chairman admitted that the company was run by a bunch of male MIT engineers who were struggling to understand and attract the attention of female audiences, and didn’t know how to get it off the ground. Seeing the potential in the product and company, Abby offered to handle their marketing in exchange for an increment of their sales, but the chairman came back with a different offer. He and his team were no longer interested in manufacturing the product and asked Abby if she wanted to become their exclusive distributor. Since she has gotten the brand to appear on platforms such as HSN, Amazon, and O, The Oprah Magazine!
It was slow takeoff for Vivian Lou, though, and Abby said she blames it on her mindset. When she started working for Insolia and launched Vivian Lou in late 2014, she was still working a full-time corporate job, and referred to Vivian Lou as her “hobby business”. After doing some self-discovery, she said she realized she didn’t feel like she was worthy of running a successful company. She knew immediately after launching that something internally was holding her back, and after speaking with an old coworker, she referred her to an emotional freedom practitioner. Her life has since been changed, and her practice has helped her uncover self-doubts stemming from her childhood and her uneasiness with money. She then hired a sales coach who enrolled her in a sales camp that made her more comfortable looking at her numbers and helped her fill out projection worksheets. She began projecting out $100,000 and $500,000, and it motivated her to drive her business, and grow it into the success that it is today!
Hear more of Abby’s story in today’s episode!
In this episode you will…
See how to grow your hobby into a business
Adjust your mindset to that of a serious entrepreneur
Be able to eliminate internal obstacles to become a better business owner
Learn to clear negative memories to create positive energies
Know how to bounce back after your business hits a rough patch
Find the best platforms to sell and market your product and business
“Picking up the phone and talking to people was not something that I liked to do…but I was like…I’m just going to…ask the question. And that was part one of me stepping outside of my comfort zone…[and] that just led to a series of other events…that landed me on HSN, that got me into Oprah magazine [and] opened several opportunities for the brand which has been phenomenal.” -Abby Walker
“When you call your side hustles, or your dreams, or what you want to do-if you keep calling them a hobby, the universe will treat them as a hobby.” -Abby Walker
“Once you clear your stagnant memories that are holding you back, it allows the universe to provide so much more for you. You’re creating a bigger cup for yourself when you clear out these blocked energies, and silly memories.” -Abby Walker
“My main mission as a business owner is I never want my business to run me, I want to run my business.” -Abby Walker
“You live and learn, you make mistakes, you’ll fail. I feel as a business owner, the more you welcome failure as a learning versus fearing failure, the quicker you’ll grow.” -Abby Walker