We first came across Rosie Lyness when she was our client at Leeds concept store, Lamberts Yard. Her gentle Irish charm and quiet ambition was complimented by a wicked sense of humour and an incredible eye for the latest trends and emerging brands, cementing her as a leading fashion buyer in the region.
Rosie was always so complimentary about us setting up Content Soup as a female duo, and took a keen interest in what we were doing, supporting us from the sidelines – so when she phoned us last year to say she was taking the leap and setting up on her own, and would we help with some PR and influencer marketing for her new business, we jumped at the chance to work with her again.
That business is Second Store, the first female-only sneaker e-tailer in the UK, bringing together some of the most exciting international brands on the market: Vans, Saucony, Superga, Karhu, Veja, Spring Court, Rose Rankin and Good News London all fall into Rosie’s fine-tuned sneaker edit. Her choices are always on point for women wanting cool footwear that isn’t what the whole high street is wearing.
We are huge fans (and customers!), and especially love Rosie’s understated website, gorgeous brand and MEGA Instagram, which is a lesson in how to curate a jaw-dropping grid! She’s really bringing the female sneaker scene to life online, and winning a tribe of ‘Second Sisters’ in the process.
Soup of the Day is a series dedicated to women we admire and who inspire us, in business and just general life. Rosie is one of those women.
You’ve carved out a niche in what’s previously been a male-dominated market. How did the idea for Second Store come about?
I’ve always wanted to be my own boss and create a brand/concept/store, so Second Store spent a long time bubbling under the surface before I was ready to make it happen. I love sneakers, paired back Scandi style, street style, pop culture, trends and being comfortable, so Second Store became a way to marry up all these interests under one roof.
It’s not just men who are envied for their trainer collections. Female sneakers are pushing their way right to the front of the shoe cabinet, and I wanted to give women the best sneaker collections out there, all in one place online. It’s been great connecting with so many women who share my love of sneakers but find themselves underserved on the high street.
Which social channels do you use the most for Second Store?
I think Instagram is most relevant for Second Store. Second Sisters are a really engaged, up to date, creative bunch who appreciate aesthetics and community. Instagram ticks all of these boxes. I’d love to get more conversation going on Twitter and Facebook so that’s something I’m currently getting my head around. I also love a good day-dreaming session on Pinterest, especially when it comes to interior design!
How do you use your social media channels to communicate with your audiences?
I post stylised product newness, updates and journal posts on my Insta grid, and use Stories to give a bit more of an informal behind the scenes insight to Second Store. I use Facebook and Twitter to reinforce these messages but also to build on my foundations as an outward-looking, feminist company that’s open to dialogue and learning new things.
You’ve gained thousands of Instagram followers in a relatively short space of time. How have you done it?
I have been really lucky with a series of influencer marketing collaborations, which really helped Second Store to reach women who were interested in what I was doing. I definitely have to give a big thank you to Clemmie from Mother of Daughters who gave Second Store a shout out and I saw my followers grow from around 500 to over 5,000, which was just so exciting. Since then she has had a lot of people asking who/what the female only sneaker store was called, so she has mentioned me a few more times. It’s really nice to know that when you manage to reach people that they stick around because they like what you’re doing.
What are your top tips for growing a business on Instagram?
I am by no means an expert, but word on the street is that consistency is key. Work out your USP, know what you stand for and what you want to communicate, and keep chipping away at it. Engage with your audience, see what they respond to and ask them for feedback. I think some of the most interesting accounts I follow are those people that are really open, honest and wanting to grow. Good imagery…Posting at the right times…And hashtags? Haha.
Fave Insta accounts?
Can I say all of the fabulous five from Queer Eye?! Girl crushing on Clara Amfo at the minute… Sharmadean Reid is so inspirational to me, and I always like to keep up to date with sneaker babes Ugly Mely and Girl on Kicks.
Insta Stories – are you a fan? What’s the benefit to your business, and has it affected what you put on your ‘grid’ / how you use Instagram?
Yes, I love a good Story. People tend to let their fun side out, have a laugh and not take themselves too seriously. I post more products on my grid and want to use Stories to let people get to know me and the brand a bit better…I think I need to get a bit braver with this.
How much time do you spend on getting the perfect shot? Do you use professional help?
Yeah most of the product shots are done by professional photographers, I think it’s so important to show off the sneakers in their best light and to ensure the website has a clean, curated feel to it.
Any editing tools / social apps you use that you can recommend?
I use various tools such as Insta Size, Canva, Gif Maker and VSCO cam as well as things like In Design.
What camera do you use?
My iPhone! I’m going to get a snazzy camera soon…I see a lot of bloggers using the Olympus Pen, they look like fun or maybe I’m just a sucker for a #ad.
How’s the new Instagram product tagging / shop working for you?
I think there’s definitely room for me to improve my usage of this feature but in general, I think it’s handy for customers to be able to see product info really quickly and decide whether or not it’s for them.
What’s your advice for other women setting up in business?
Reach out to other women and build up a network. There are lots of us out there doing a lot of good things and more often than not, we are up for helping each other to grow.
Also, when I’m going through a difficult or stressful time, I always ask myself the question – are you going to let this be the thing that breaks you? (sounds dramatic, I know!) but this simple question immediately throws a bit of perspective into most situations and fires up the problem solving part of my brain rather than the panic stations. Try it, it might work for you!
And finally, what’s next for Second Store?
Continue to grow and reach a wider audience. Introduce more brands, bigger, more exclusive ranges and hopefully host more events.
Thanks to Rosie for being our Soup of the Day! If you’ve not already, visit her website and treat yourself to some new season kicks! https://second-store.com/