What a year it’s been. Everyone knows the tough parts—closed for almost three months and a huge drop-off in brick-and-mortar shopping even when we’re open---it’s the same story with every small business I know. Call me an optimist, but I'm going to focus on the “wins” this year. I also want to thank our amazing team for sticking with us during this challenging year—and into our exciting future as we soon open a 2nd store in Camp Hill! They are a varied group, but they all share one common trait. They LOVE shoes! I've asked, and they enthusiastically shared, their favorite shoes of the season.
First, let offer my sincere thanks to those of your reading this blog. You are the die-hard Plum Bottom fans. You watch the videos and leave positive comments, you share our posts with your friends, and you keep us going by shopping in-store and online. Thank you so much! It’s those personal connections that make the tough moments worth it. So many of you have been customers since my father opened in 1977 in “the Alley” on Court Street. I will never get tired of hearing your remembrances of having fun with Joe as he wooed you into trying on sexy high heels, how he had you watch the store while he went out for a quick smoke, or how he bought you a drink when he’d see you around town. He was a wild guy (and we all miss him!). Many of you still have shoes that you bought in the downtown store or the Camp Hill mall. Please keep sharing those stories and keep shopping! I know he’d be proud of everything we’re doing—even if he’d hate the new computer system. 😉
Though it really started back in 2019 (remember those days?), the biggest “win” this year was the growth of our website. Lauren L. and Juliana have worked hard to update the look of the website and made it so easy to shop. At a time when we needed it most, the website gave us purpose and focus—both from a financial standpoint and to continue to connect with you, our customers. Our website feels like a living being. It constantly needs to be updated or “fed” new products and images. Lauren and Juliana continue to keep things fresh. Thank you, ladies!
Juliana gushed about her favorite Donald Pliner high heel loafers. “I LOVE them! They are comfortable to wear all day. They are chic, with eye-catching snake print, and cool mirror heel. I think they are perfect for mixing and matching with solid colors and other prints. And they’ve got a little boost with the heel but they’re not too high.”
Lauren L. loves the classic Daroca boot from Pikolinos. “It’s been my favorite for at least three years now! The leather is so soft that even when I take it off you can see the shape of my foot.”
My business partner Andrea and her adorable daughter Celeste have stolen the show with their Facebook videos this year. If you need something to smile about, check out a few of their videos. Lauren T., our official shoe buyer, trained with the best (Joe of course) and she continues to impress everyone who walks in the door with an amazing selection of shoes and accessories.
Lauren’s go-to boots this season are the Shannon from Dolce Vita. She says, "they are a super comfortable heel I can wear all day! Makes me feel good to put on a heel after living in sweatpants and hoodies these days!”
It says a lot that our most recently hired employees-Lesla and Nicole—have both been with us for more than a year. They have stuck with us and pitched in when we’ve needed support.
Nicole’s favorite this season is the very popular Pikolinos Aspen boot. She says, “The leather and color of these boots are not the only amazing thing about them. They are comfortable and the warmth they provide is top-notch".
Lesla's pick is another classic--Eric Michael's Isabella boot. Lesla loves that it's "so comy and love that you can dress it up or down!".
Danielle and Lynne have been with us since we opened at the Shoppes at Susquehanna Marketplace. They are the knowledgeable and friendly backbone of the Saturday staff.
Danielle refused to pick a favorite shoe. “They are all fantastic!” she tells me, “but I can’t live without my Daniella Lehavi handbags!”. I’m not going to lie, Danielle has more than a few! Lynne—usually a Naot or ARA girl-- picked a favorite of her usual comfort zone. “I love my Matisse Poppy. I am so surprised by how comfortable they are!”.
Vicki (who’s like the store mom who keeps us in supplies and coffee) is a 2nd generation Plum Bottom employee. Her daughter (our 3rd Lauren—though sequentially she was the 1st) started working with us as a teenager over a decade ago.
Vicki says, “my Toni Pons suede boots called Pont are super comfortable, and the fur trim makes them extra fun to wear! There are three great colors, but wine is my favorite!”.
The record holder for the longest running employee could, arguably, be Bonnie. She worked in the Camp Hill Mall store in the 80’s and I’ve known her since I was just a young girl. I’m so grateful that Joe asked her to come back after she “retired” from owning her own shoe store—Lady’s Choice.
Andrea and Bonnie both chose Eric Michael’s Amelia as their current favorite. Andrea says, “it’s a waterproof, super comfortable mid-heel. Pairs great with both jeans and yoga pants—the new casual lifestyle. And it comes in so many great colors!” Bonnie added, ”I love it so much I have two colors!”.
My current favorite? Thanks for asking ;) I'm partial to my white Bueno Fray boots! I love how they make any outfit pop—and yes they are very comfortable despite being pointy because the leather is so soft and forgiving on my wide feet.
We’ve been working in pods, so I don’t get to see these ladies as often as I’d like, but it’s amazing to know that we have such a strong team of women (and one amazing behind-the-scenes accountant—shout out to Dave😊) who have kept things running smoothly. With this team, I know that we're not only going to rebound, we're going to soar! I'm grateful for our staff and customers. I humbly thank you all!
Have a Happy New Year!