So, if you're sitting comfortably we'll begin.
Our story begins just short of 7 years ago when 2 hard-working NHS podiatrists (that's us!) met for the first time.
Baby, It's Cold Outside...
We had been snowed in, stuck in New Mills, and unable to get to our normal place of work, which at that time Helen worked in Bakewell and Fran in Chesterfield. In these situations, we were able to work from our nearest clinic within the NHS trust for which we worked and, for us, that was New Mills.
Although the snow was heavy, some patients made it down to the clinic that day. We really would have preferred it if they'd stayed safely at home, but of course, they knew how important their foot care was!
At the end of that day, we went our separate ways.
One year later and our paths crossed again, as we started working together in Chesterfield.
Another 2 years later and we found ourselves worn out with work, not able to draw breath, and not always able to give the care and service, we personally, would have liked.
It was after one of these days we had our first conversation about going into Private Practice.
Self -Employed... Never!
Both of us had worked previous jobs, unrelated to Podiatry, and Fran had run her own business before. Helen had spent the last 14 years working for Government Departments and the NHS. Never having considered EVER being Self Employed, and realising the NHS was not a sustainable career for her, we decided there and then to jump in with both feet!
Strike whilst the iron is hot!
We wasted no time looking for premises for our new venture. It so happened that 44 Market Street was up for grabs. The inside was not perfect for our needs, but what a great location and with double bay windows just waiting for Fran's artistic touch!
Within 4 weeks of deciding to start up our
own Podiatry business, we had agreed to rent the property. After a lot of form filling, we finally got the key 3 months later, on 1st June 2017.
High-Five for Alan...
It took 3 months to turn one big empty floor space into what you see when you visit our clinic today and Stepwise Podiatry opened its doors to care for our first patient on 2nd September 2017.
Credit here to Fran's husband, Alan, who did most of the work (with some assistance from us).
Podiatry requires good hand-eye co-ordination and attention to detail, a bit like DIY
and it turned out that Fran is pretty good at tiling and grouting and Helen not too bad at painting skirting boards!
The name we settled on for our new clinic, Stepwise Podiatry, was the idea of Helen's daughter, Beth.
We have grown steadily in these last 4 years.
Fran finished with the NHS in March 2020. Timing is apparently everything and this was certainly bad timing due to a certain CoronaVirus Pandemic, meaning we had to cancel our patients and close our doors at the end of March for 2 months.
Yes, it was a setback but, nevertheless, our business survived and has become stronger for it.
Helen has also now finished her post with the NHS and from August 2021 is also a full-time employee of Stepwise Podiatry.
...Happily Ever After!
Finally, we can walk to work and spend more time at home with our families. We have shortened our working day by at least 2 hours and our cars are breathing a sigh of relief!
For you, it will give you more choices when you book your appointments and more chances for us to help fix your feet.
Here's to the next 4 years. We hope you'll join us on our journey.
Best Wishes, Helen & Fran x
Stepwise Podiatry - For The Wellbeing Of You And Your Feet, Step Into Our World