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  3. Maria Navarre: Author & Runs Shoemaking Classes

Maria Navarre: Author & Runs Shoemaking Classes

Maria Navarre

Maria Navarre was shy when she was growing up, spent most days reading books and tending to her vegetables with the dream that one day she would be an author with my own ISBN. She was crafty and loved to make her own sewing patterns for all of her dolls and once she was old enough she took a shoemaking course.

She always liked to make things and so she envisioned creating beautiful, bright designs. This led her to start chocolate classes with one of the UK’s best platforms. She’s always wanted to do something that had never been done before, and she thinks she can achieve that with her chocolate decorations book where she displays all sorts of hand-made sweets along with custom shapes like a bicycle and even a tea cup. Her latest creations are greeting cards featuring LGBTQ+ and disabled persons. You can see them at here

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to start your business?

Honestly, I just wanted to leave my, at the time, 7 am – 8 pm seven-days-a-week job. It took me a few years to get there and rebel against the “norm” and go my own way. I didn’t expect to be teaching a shoemaking class, really.  It just happened.

As for my writing, I took some time in the Lake District and everything changed. I took that time to write every day and I kept all of those notes and drawings. A few years later, I put the pieces together and made a book out of them. I told a friend of mine about it and she told me to publish it, just to see what happens. So, I did.

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How did you get your idea or concept for the business? 

I had been into shoes and shoe design in the late 90’s and I couldn’t find both pretty and comfortable shoes- most of them were black, heels that were either too high or too small or made of leather. All of it seemed pretty boring to me, so I wanted to bring something else to the market. At the time, I was preparing for my A levels and I had no idea how to make shoes so I researched it on the internet in my free time, but there were no tutorials available back then.

I eventually moved to London and I learned how to make shoes by hand. Many women were intrigued by what I was doing and wanted to learn, so I started there. I offered classes to these women where I would teach them how to make and design their own shoes.

Aside from that, I have dipped my hand into the world of chocolate making. In shops, you can buy chocolates, chocolate bars, etc and all of them are the same and have been there for years. I wanted to show people what someone can do with chocolate molds ranging from chocolate flowers, bicycles, doll-sized furniture and more.

How many people work for you currently?

So far, it’s just me. But I do have a small, circle of team members that are based all over the world. Everything I put my name on must be the best quality, so I contract others to help me. I have utilized professional photographers, graphic designers, and other highly skilled team members when I know their skills match the quality I am looking for.

What advice would you have for other new entrepreneurs?

Being a successful entrepreneur takes a lot of work, it requires you to constantly learn from your mistakes. If something doesn’t go your way, think about what you could be doing wrong and take steps to change it. Don’t copy anyone else; be unique and create your own style.

Utilize as much social media as you can! Use it to create contacts, join other entrepreneur groups, and spread your name- it’s all free! Social media is a door that will lead to another, and another after that. And lastly, create the life you want but above all else: be kind.

How much potential market share can you achieve in the next 3 years? 

Honestly? Who knows. It’s unlimited for writers, just as it is with shoemakers. It’s hard to know how big the potential market share will be in a few years, but I’m excited to find out.

What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made? 

Well, we have all made bad purchases. I can’t think of one off the top of my head that was particularly funny or so bad that it was worth mentioning. But, as for best purchases, I like to buy things for my family. I will buy things that will bring me joy, especially gifts for my nieces. I once bought an iPad for my niece as a present and, apparently, she stood in front of the unwrapped iPad box in silent disbelief for a couple of minutes, just staring at it, and then she screamed and burst into tears.  She sent me a long thank you message later, a whopping 12 pages. It is, and forever will be my best purchase.

Who supported you the most in your life?

My dad. He once told me: “If you need me, I’ll always be there for you.”

What are your future plans? 

I am taking things one step at a time. I try to plan only up to about 2-3 years in advance as there are unexpected little things that can happen along the way. As for the near future, I will be taking part in a TV show later in the year and I will soon finish one of my other writing projects.

How people should contact you?

Email is the best way [email protected]