Katie’s Shoe Game is Strong.
Katie Ray Johnston is a second generation owner (with dad Rob Wolk) of Sundance Shoes, a local shoe boutique with locations in West Bloomfield and downtown Birmingham. In a world of Prime shipping and free returns, Sundance customers are devoted because of the incredible selection of shoes, handbags, outerwear, and great accessories, but more importantly, because of the welcoming atmosphere of the store and Katie’s warm and inviting personality.
Sundance Shoes carries top brands like Jeffrey Campbell, Eileen Fisher, Vince, Frye, among others and Katie has a great eye for up and coming brands and designers, too, like InkDetroit, RebelSoul Apparel. The store is so beautiful and well designed, it’s a place you want to take your time looking at each pair of shoes, accessory, or bag, because of the unique mix of products Katie curates.
We recently connected with Katie to find out more about the behind-the-scenes of running her business, as well as a peek into her home life and tips and trends she is excited about in the coming season.
Sundance Shoes in downtown Birmingham is a chic shoe boutique.
When and what inspired you to get into this business?
Rob and Edie Wolk (my parents) raised my brother Jimmy and I to always follow our hearts. At an early age I fell in love with the shoe business, growing up at my dads shoe stores in Northland and Fairlane Mall. I knew back then I wanted to be in business with my dad. We are the best team and work so well together. I love everything about it….fashion, buying, customers, my staff. The team is amazing and I definitely could not do it with out them.
My husband Jeff also inspires me, he has always been my number one fan, supporting me in business.
Katie’s dad Rob Wolk, with her daughter.
What are the top 3 lessons you have learned throughout your business journey?
1. Work hard everyday, you will achieve what you want if you give it your all.
2. Customer Service-Listening to our customer and always having them leave happy.
3. Love what you do!
Tell us about your typical day:
Kiss my husband, have a cup of coffee, wake up the kids, get everyone to school, get to work by 9. Before the store opens I like to organize my day. I leave work around 4:30, catch a yoga class and make it home for dinner and bedtime!
Katie and her kids.
What has been (or still is) your biggest business challenge? How do you overcome it?
Opening a new store…it’s a ton of work but so worth it! I work hard every day to make sure SUNDANCE SHOES can be the best store it can be.
What do you love about your job?
Everything! It’s my happy place.
What is Sundance Shoes all about? How do you want customers to feel when they enter your space (or website)?
When customers enter the store I want them to feel a sense of beauty, fashion, calmness, and happiness. I want them to feel comfortable to shop and have a conversation and when they leave feel so good about themselves.
What are your current favorite items in store?
Fuzzy sandal slides, Marc Fisher wedges, Eileen Fisher sport sandals, vintage rock band t-shirts, guitar strap bags
Are there any new products or lines that you will be carrying that you are excited about?
In regards to your personal style, do you have a signature look or accessory? (i.e. hat, bracelet, one of your pieces you always wear)?
My signature accessory would be large gold or silver hoops, trucker hats, leggings, and dark eye makeup!
Katie wearing her signature hoop earrings, trucker hat by InkDetroit, and dark eye makeup.
A few items in your closet that you can’t live without?
I can’t live without: Jeffrey Campbell Cromwell boots– I have 4 colors! My black Lulu pants, my green yogi hat, and the Free People cream duster.
Who inspires your style? Favorite Style Icon?
I have a free spirit style….I put all different looks together…I guess its boho chic. My style icon is Brigette Bardot.
What are your favorite 2017 style trends?
Fur, chains, embellishments, applique and denim.
Fur pom pom sneakers
Denim and applique trends
Left to right: Sam Edelman pom pom fur sneakers, in-store only, Cape Robbin Fauna heeled sandal in denim or black, $75, Sorial Belle Saddlebag in Grey, $179
Favorite fashion, lifestyle, food or business blog?
Favorite places to shop?
Christian Larue, Rear Ends, Ruby’s Balm, Lululemon
Favorite place to eat?
Noble, Luxe, Ronin, and Greek Islands
Favorite quote or words to live by?
“SMILE OFTEN, THINK POSITIVELY, GIVE THANKS, LAUGH LOUDLY, LOVE OTHERS, DREAM BIG”
Favorite place for coffee or tea? And what is your favorite kind of coffee or tea?
Soy Latte from Starbucks
Reading 50 shades series
A perfect weekend for you is…
Just hanging out with my husband and kids! We have the best time together.
Katie and her husband Jeff.
You can stop by Sundance Stores to meet Katie, her Dad and her incredible team at either location listed below. Follow @sundanceshoes
on Instagram for great deals, in-store events, and new products!
Sundance Shoes Birmingham
235 S. Old Woodward
Birmingham, MI 48009
Phone: (248) 385-5960
Sundance Shoes West Bloomfield
6915 Orchard Lake Rd
West Bloomfield Township, MI 48322
Phone: (248) 737-9059