The Court Circular catches up with Jane Attard at Hopscotch Shoe Boutique to discuss the joy she gets from her customers and how lockdown took her on some shoe-fitting adventures…
Words | Lucy Donoughue
Jane Attard can hardly believe that she's celebrated twenty years as a Molesey business owner this summer. After many years on Walton Road, Hopscotch Shoe Boutique has become a permanent and much-loved fixture. It’s the place that local residents go to for their children’s first shoes and every pair thereafter, as well as their own.
Reflecting on the longevity of her business, Jane shares how Hopscotch came into existence and what she appreciates the most about her brilliant boutique.
It all began with a friendship…
I moved to Molesey about 23 years ago when my daughter was very little, and my son was a toddler. At the time both myself and my husband were working for British Airways as cabin crew, so we struggled big time with childcare.
A couple of years later my friend Louise told me that the woman who owned the Shoe Booth, which was in the shop next to us now, was selling up and asked me whether I’d like to go into business with her.
To be honest, I didn’t think a huge amount about it, it was such a gift. My children were four and six years old then and Louise’s children were the same age. Setting up a business together meant that we could do a job and childcare share, which worked so well.
We opened Hopscotch Shoe Boutique in 2002 and we worked together for eight years...
When the lease on the previous shop came up for renewal Louise decided to move on. We were both in tears but understandably she wanted to do something different. I have such wonderful memories of those early days.
The shop that we’re now in used to be the Princess Alice Hospice Charity Shop and at that time they decided to move into the unit that’s now their home. So, as they moved up the street, so did I!
It was a huge risk, with it being a bigger shop and a higher rent but it worked out fantastically.
I’m so grateful to the local community…
Hopscotch has gone from strength to strength and it’s all because of the support from the local community.
When lockdown happened we had to close, so my daughter and I came up with a brilliant idea which was Delivershoo!
I would go to people’s houses on my bike, measure their feet in the garden, take a load of shoes with me and fit them on their doorsteps.
Then people from further afield were asking for the service and I couldn’t take everything on my bike, so I got a little van. Honestly, it was the best thing and really got the shop’s name out there. I still have people coming in because they remembered that I’d delivered to them. But it was exhausting. Opening the shop every day is a doddle in comparison!
I see children grow from first shoe to adult sizing…
One of the things I love the most about this job is that seeing the children I’ve measured for their first shoes, getting off the bus from Esher High School!
There’s also a lot of new people moving to the area, so nearly every day I’m doing fittings for babies as they start to try to walk, which is wonderful. The saying is that ‘barefoot is best’ which is true in the home, but if they’re out in a café or play area where the ground is less familiar they can feel insecure, so first shoes can really help. We sell beautiful little soft shoes, they’re adorable.
We also sell a lot of shoes for adults, from boots to Birkenstocks and everything in between. There’s something for everyone here and I love buying for all ages and shoe sizes!
Jane and the team will be celebrated Hopscotch’s 20th anniversary in early June.
Follow @hopscotchshoeboutique on Instagram for more details.
Hopscotch Shoe Boutique
107a Walton Road, East Molesey, KT8 0DR
020 8941 6718