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She turned a crisis into Success

Sandra Wilson

I looked at it as an opportunity to move on, start a home based business and spend more time at home with my son”

That is what Sandra Wilson replied when I asked her how she felt when Canadian Airlines notified her in 1986 that she was losing her management job, that the airline was downsizing. Unperturbed, she invested some of the severance pay in a four week entrepreneurial skills course. Years earlier she had obtained a diploma in financial management at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Prior to working at Canadian Airlines, Sandra had worked in management at the Royal Bank.

Born in Saskatoon, it seemed Sandra had been working all of her life, starting as a waitress at age 13. Now at 34, she wanted a home based business so she could spend time at home with Robert, her 13 month old son

I stumbled across the idea to design baby shoes by watching my son and my friend’s young children

She designed a unique pair of shoes made from an old purse, and watched her friend’s reaction. Encouraged by their positive comments she hand stitched twenty pair and brought them to a gift show for retailers only. Fifteen retailers placed orders, she was on her way.

She formed a company - Robeez Footwear Ltd. named for her son Robert. Working from home, she took care of all aspects of the business, from product design through to sales and distribution.

As sales grew she added staff and expanded. Today, Robeez employs 400 people and is now the leading worldwide manufacturer of soft-soles leather footwear for newborns to four-year olds. Her 90 designs are sold in 4500 outlets throughout North America, Europe and Australia.

Sandra can now spend all of the time she wants at home with her son Robert. Her largest client - Stride Rite Corporation - recently bought her privately held company for $30.5 million

Sandra Wilson turned what most would believe was a crisis into an success, proving once again that Canada is indeed the land of opportunity. She is another Canadian Achiever.

Learn more about Sandra Wilson at 

Next week the story of the health care lady responsible for 5300 staff.
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