Abby Lou Walker is the president and CEO of Vivian Lou, a company dedicated to freeing women everywhere from shoe pain. Since starting her company in 2014 as a side hustle, Abby has grown Vivian Lou into a successful 7-figure business. She’s also the author of the hilarious and riveting memoir Strap on a Pair. As you’ll learn in our conversation today, she has several other amazing products in the works.
In 2012, Abby got her start in the shoe field by starting a casual blog. She would spend an hour a week on it, and sometimes skip weeks or months completely, because it was just a hobby for herself with no pressure around it. In 2014, she wrote a post about shoe products that are designed to alleviate pain for women who wear high heels, pointing out a problem with many of them. She decided to do something about this problem and put together a new product.
Unfortunately, when it came to mass manufacturing the product, everything fell apart. Abby’s heart was broken, but she didn’t give up hope. She kept doing market research, and a simple Google search led her to a conversation about a product she had never heard about. She chatted with the CEO of the company making those insoles, and was given the opportunity to be the exclusive marketer and distributor for the product.
In October 2014, Abby launched Vivian Lou. At that point, it was still a hobby business that she worked on during nights and weekends. After quitting her day job to focus on the business full-time, Abby experienced more setbacks and needed to go back to her day job. Finally, in fall 2016, she quit corporate America again, and hasn’t looked back!
Abby points out in our conversation today that she has learned to welcome failure, because learning what doesn’t work is as important as learning what does work. “Even when you lose, you win,” as Ruth puts it. Tune in to learn all about Abby’s journey, the lessons she’s learned and words of wisdom she’s received, and how wrong turns can actually lead to the life you love.
[04:33] – Abby starts things off by giving an overview of how she started her journey as the CEO of Vivian Lou.
[08:00] – We hear about the next steps in Abby’s journey after her first product failed in the mass manufacturing process.
[10:15] – How long did it take Abby to say yes to the opportunity that she was offered?
[12:00] – Abby talks about the launch of her business, and the struggles of the early days.
[15:23] – We hear about the name of Abby’s book.
[16:26] – Ruth and Abby talk about the option of Googling your way to success, and the fact that no one else knows what they’re doing either.
[20:02] – Abby feels like the moment her first product failed was a turning point for her, when she could have decided that entrepreneurship isn’t for her.
[21:07] – Some people think of entrepreneurship as all or nothing, Abby points out, and that isn’t necessarily true.
[23:53] – Abby feels like if you follow those little whispers, the Universe will give you opportunities when you’re ready for them.
[26:11] – Ruth talks about a challenge that came out of a conversation with her daughter.
[28:12] – Abby doesn’t consider herself a confident person. Instead, she’s a courageous person.
[29:23] – What is one of the hardest lessons that Abby has had to learn, either in business or in life, and what did it teach her?
[32:33] – Abby discusses the role of fear in her life and business, exploring her fear of failure.
[36:02] – What goals are Abby working toward right now? In her answer, she reveals she’s working on starting her own shoe line.
[41:19] – Ruth talks about the fear around the first time she invested money in a physical product.
[43:40] – What’s the best piece of advice that Abby has ever received, and why?
[47:08] – When Abby first started Vivian Lou, she didn’t even sign her name at the bottom of the weekly emails because she was timid about showing up.
[47:50] – Where can people find Abby online? In her answer, she offers a discount code exclusively for listeners: enter “do it scared” (without quotation marks) as your discount code at Vivian Lou for 20% off.