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Graduates step out alone with Kindred Sole site

Two graduates from De Montfort University’s fashion retail buying degree course have joined forces to launch women’s footwear etailer Kindred Sole. Lizze Leary and Beth Widdowson, who graduated this summer, said the tough jobs market had fuelled their decision to set up their own business.

The pair started Kindred Sole as an online-only venture to avoid the costs associated with a bricks-and-mortar store. Leary said: “The online market is booming so we knew it would be a good option. We’re also able to reach a wider audience than we would with a single store.”

Since launching on October 31, Kindred Sole has received more than 6,000 hits from users in 75 different countries.

The site stocks UK footwear brands including Ugly Duckling, Laura J London, Velvet Bee, United Nude and Miss L Fire, as well as Spanish brand Menbur.

As sales grow, the duo plan to develop their own footwear label. Leary said: “We are looking to collaborate with young graduate designers to create our own brand of vintage-inspired footwear.”

The site relied heavily on free online marketing sources to generate business during the start-up phase. Leary added: “We built up a following on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter, which gave us lots of great leads and helped us generate a database to which we now send out monthly newsletters.”

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