10 years in the making

Just a minute… With Kirsty Cunningham & Arancha Heredeo from Windmill

Hi! Kirsty and Arancha. How long has Windmill been open?

We opened in October 2013 so we’ve been here just over 5 years!


How did your business come about?

AH: When I was child minding, I used to go to Spain a lot and buy beautiful shoes and bring them back for the children I looked after and the parents loved them. When Red Shoes closed, Kirsty and I were sitting in my garden saying someone has to open a shoe shop in Crouch End as there’s definitely a hole in the market so that’s what we decided to do. KC: We were both at that point in our lives where we were deciding what to do as we were at a bit of a crossroads and it was the perfect timing for us both.


What are the best things about owning your own business?

KC: The best things are being your own boss because you have that autonomy to do what you want to do without anyone telling you it’s right or wrong. AH: We can set our own rules and our own policies and choose what we want for our business. Theseare the best bits!


What don’t you like about it?

KC: Everything’s on you, all the pressures and the worries are on you. You can’t go to your boss and say, I can’t do this, can you get me some help because you are the boss. AH: Also, they don’t stop when you leave work – they come home with you. Basically, you can’t disconnect and even when you’re not at work, you’re still thinking about work!


What are the main challenges you face as a small independent business?

AH: The financial climate at the moment is very, very challenging for an Independent. Our cash flow is really challenged and battling with all the online offers there are is very difficult. It’s hard to compete with Amazon and places like that. KC: Sometimes people come in to get their child’s feet measured and we provide that service and expertise. We can spend 20 or 30 minutes to fit the shoes and make sure they’re the perfect and then the customer says they’ll think about it and they’re leaving our shop while checking the price on Amazon or elsewhere to see if they can get it cheaper.  Also, at the moment Brexit is making everyone terrified and cautious to spend money so that’s not helping.


What’s the biggest seller?

KC: In the winter seasons it would be our beautiful Croatian brand Froddo who are a small family business, hand made in Croatia. They do incredibly well because they’re flexible with beautiful, buttery soft leather in great colours. In the summer, Salt-Water sandals – they sell like hot cakes! AH: These are the big sellers but we also sell socks, bags, hair accessories, slippers, ballet shoes, Wellies, lunchboxes and backpacks, so lots of other things too!


What’s one of your favourite films of all time and why?

KC: One of my favourite films of all times is Pretty in Pink because it’s so evocative of my adolescence – all the music and the styling and the fashion. It’s a John Hughes film and I loved all his films. AH: Mine would be Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) which is a Pedro Almodovarfilm. I love this because of how eccentric and crazy it is and how it reminds me of my family. My mum is one of 19 children so there are 15 girls and 4 boys and I’ve got 64 blood cousins!


Windmill sell gorgeous footwear for little feet up to teens. They also sell some adult shoes. They offer an excellent shoe fitting service to make sure the shoes are just the right size! Windmill also sells a good range of slippers, boots, ballet shoes, socks, bags, lunchboxes and hair accessories. They are friendly, professional and shoe shopping with them will be a fun and happy experience!


Windmill are open 6 days a week (not Sundays) and you can find them at 98 Weston Park N8 9PP