A north-east businesswoman has continued to emphasise the importance of foot health in children throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lisa Durward has always had a passion for raising awareness about the importance of correctly fitting shoes for children in a child’s overall health and development.
Despite facing a number of obstacles in the past year, the mum-of-two is still working hard to spread the word further by linking up with the NHS through local health visitors.
She also aims to visit schools and nurseries to educate children themselves about looking after their feet once restrictions allow. And she is encouraging parents to have their children’s feet professionally measured as soon as possible.
And she has shown her support for Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce’s North East Now initiative – supported by creative agency Hampton and Aberdeen Journals – as it also aims to promote local businesses battling through the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We pride ourselves on doing more than selling shoes and clothes,” she said. “We provide a health service for children’s feet.
“I am extremely committed to educating my customers and the wider public on children’s foot health – it is a vitally important component for future foot health as adults.
“I find that there is far too much emphasis on the ‘size’ of the shoe when there are in fact so many other factors to consider including width, material and brand.
“Me and my team are consistent, experienced and knowledgeable. We know our brands and we can tell just by looking at a child’s foot which brand will be the best fit for their shape of foot.
“I am passionate about breathing new life into the measure and fit trade. As a parent to two young children myself, I know we all place a huge emphasis on our children’s health and wellbeing from what they eat to how much time they spend on technology.
“Our children’s foot health plays such an important role in their overall health and physical comfort day-to-day.
“The correct fitting shoes will benefit our little people’s development in supporting their growing bones and changing foot shape. Healthy feet can impact everything from good posture to ankle, knee and hip strength.
“I am hopeful that shoe fitting is perceived as even more valuable after being in lockdown for so long without access to this type of service.
“I always say ‘your feet are your pension’ – look after your feet and they will look after you.”
Lisa launched Bob and Lulu in 2017 after taking over the business from its previous owners and undergoing a rebrand.
She has spent a great deal of time diversifying her services over the past year, including offering an outdoor shoe fitting service.
Lisa said: “I was keen for the shop to undergo a revival so I set about a rebranding mission to give it a fresh, modern look and changed the name to Bob and Lulu.
“The shop is named after my gorgeous dog Bob and his best friend Lulu, whose owner is also one of my best friends and has been a huge help and supporter of me and my business.
“I diversified by introducing a range of baby and children’s clothing so that my customers could visit the boutique for a complete outfit for their little ones.
“I’ve also had to diversify since the coronavirus outbreak too. In the first instance, my team and I knew we had to focus more heavily on our online service so we increased the range of shoes on our website.
“We had to accept early on that it was the only way to continue trading throughout lockdown. But at the end of the day, our mission is focused on seeing the children in person and physically measuring their feet, so we had to get creative.
“During the first lockdown in March 2020, Bob and Lulu started up a delivery service.
“We would take shoes to our customer’s doors and have the children try on the shoes from a safe two-meter distance and we would give advice from afar.
“We as a team were there to reassure parents and provide the best possible service despite the difficult circumstances.
“We also have children who come to see us who may have orthotics or have hypermobility and they require a specialist service, so it was important for us to continue working for those children who require extra foot support.”
As businesses begin to reopen their doors to the public, Lisa is urging people across the north-east to do what they can to support their local communities.
Lisa said: “North East Now is an excellent platform for small businesses like ours to showcase what we have to offer.
“It’s great to see North East Now championing businesses across the city and beyond and Bob and Lulu is delighted to be featured alongside other local businesses as we have welcomed customers back into our stores.
“As we all know, retail including major stores have been hit hard recently and the same can be said locally here in Aberdeen.
“With the loss of these major stores amid an ever-changing high street landscape, shopping habits have changed with consumers enjoying the ease of ordering everything they need with the simple click of a button from the comfort of their own homes.
“However, for Bob and Lulu, we are more than just a shop. We represent the true essence of shop local.
“We love being a part of a family’s journey from watching their toddlers take those first tentative steps to when they step into school on their first day – school shoes, particularly for the first day of school are a major milestone purchase and we feel honoured to play a part in making these precious memories.
“Our shop is situated opposite Ashley Road primary school which is so nice as we often have children stop and tap on the window to wave to us and they send in pictures of what they have drawn of their first day of school. It’s super lovely to be a part of a community.
“The ‘shop local’ movement is fantastic, but it’s not enough to simply talk about shopping local or to hashtag ‘shop local’ on our social media platforms.
“We actually have to physically shop local. We need our customers back – we need their physical presence back in our shops to help us get back up and running again.
“I understand some people are wary about shopping safely, but when they see the measures in place to ensure it is safe to shop again, we can provide that comfort and confidence.
“It’s time to bring back the personal touch to the shopping experience.
“Going forward, my aim is to continue to spread the educational importance of children’s foot health.”
For more information on Bob and Lulu, visit www.bobandlulu.com
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