Shop Talk: Rachel Patterson
Owner & Buyer, Feet First
What are some of your responsibilities as Owner and Buyer for Feet First? Buying shoes for each season is a lot of fun, but also like trying to read a crystal ball. Footwear production has a long lead time, which means while you’re selling in the current spring season, you’re also planning and ordering for next spring. In addition to buying, I love being out on the sales floor working with our customers and getting to know them. Building these relationships helps with the buying process as well.
What is your favorite thing about having a brick-and-mortar store? On a personal note, my favorite thing is supporting a dog-friendly environment! Many of our customers regularly shop with their dogs or stop in to visit our rescues, Reno and Rascal. Coming from a corporate environment, I’ve found owning a small business has a more personal and intimate atmosphere. We get to be a part of our customers’ special events and milestones. I know we’ve truly made a customer happy when they come back to show us photos or tell us about their trip and how happy their feet were.
What are some of your bestsellers right now? Spring shoe styles with pops of color, metallics or snake prints. Our vibrant headwraps and fringe earrings are the most popular accessories at the moment, and both are locally made.
Do you work with any local brands or artists? We are happy to support both local and female-owned businesses such as Passion Lilie, Sarah Ott, Mose, Mary & Me, Fringe + Co, Yung Hussy, Queens Metal, Mitzi Wear, Native Nail Polish, Betsy but mainly Garcia, In-Habit and Julie Silvers.
What are some of the reasons your store has consistently been voted the best in New Orleans? For over 40 years, Feet First has been locally owned and has been known for personal service coupled with unique selections. As the new owners, we strive to continue to provide the same shopping experience I enjoyed as a Feet First customer to both locals and our New Orleans visitors.
What are some things your store has to offer in addition to footwear? While women’s footwear is our main focus, we have a large selection of handbags, apparel, gift items and locally made jewelry. We also carry a small selection of men’s footwear, socks and T-shirts.
Feet First, 4122 Magazine St., 899-6800, FeetFirstStores.com