(Pointe) Fitting Etiquette - The Client Guide
We've all been there - the kid's need new shoes, you forgot, it's rush hour and you think "if I just get there right before closing they'll still help me."
Footlights has been here for thirty years, we've seen it all, we've heard it all.
As the years have flown by, something that's drastically changed in the mindsets of clients is what is considered proper Fitting Etiquette.
Most of this is to do with the convenience that online shopping has given us, the growth of big box stores with twenty-four hour shopping, the allure of stores like Target---with Starbucks inside-- and the increase of parents of dancers who were never dancers themselves so it's a whole new world on what it takes to get properly outfitted for class.
This is a friendly PSA for those parents who are looking to learn about what they can do better to help their dancer get the correct attire for class when shopping at a brick and mortar store such as Footlights.
We have set boutique hours AND set fitting hours based on the service you need. It's not only important to understand those hours, it's important to respect the time it takes to provide each service needed.
That's right, this is a service-centric boutique. Which means, when you're shopping with us, that's dedicating a staff member to helping you through your entire experience from fitting your shoes to picking out tights. You're not roaming isle after isle alone wondering where to go for a specific product, you have hands on professionals there to assist you in finding exactly what you're looking for.
Did you know the average time it takes a client to shop at Footlights who is looking to be outfitted in ballet/tap/jazz shoes, leotard and tights is about thirty minutes? That is because the shoes are fitted to fit your dancer properly, which can take anywhere from two-ten minutes depending on how many styles and sizes are needed to be tried on before finding the best fit. That doesn't include the time it'll take to browse, select and try on leotards or other body wear, picking out accessories and the check out process itself.
Why does it take so long to fit such as basic shoe? Why can't I just help myself?
These shoes do not fit like your normal street sneakers and one size does not correlate across all styles (even in the same brand). Every foot is different and every shoe is made to fit different types of feet. In addition to that, every style of dance requires a specific guideline to how a shoe should fit. There are also the foot's shape and width factors, studio guidelines that goes into determining the appropriate fit rather than just basing and guessing off of your sneaker size.
When you throw in a pointe shoe fitting, this opens up an entirely new set of standards. Pointe fittings on average take fifteen-twenty minutes, this is not including your other items on the shopping list. Therefore, when you and ten other people show up ten minutes before closing - or even twenty minutes before closing, there is no guarantee we have the time to properly fit you all due to time constraints.
It takes the average dancer three minutes to put on their toe accessories before even beginning the fitting.
A first time fitting for pointe shoes can take five minutes just to get padding fitted appropriately.
As a service-centric business, we take our training very seriously.
"For the serious dancer, there is only one choice" has been our slogan for a very, very important reason and that reason is because of our training and certifications we as a company and our staff individually achieve and earn over the years for fitting pointe shoes. These services we provide are something we've made careers into studying and mastering. These services are not easily found or provided equally everywhere.
Fitting dance shoes (not just pointe shoes) is a specially trained service that takes time, dedication and as such is to be treated with a higher regard than simply a "shoe fitting" would suggest. While the online shopping experience can be easy for some parents, it's not always the case without first having professional assistance. Our staff spend weeks, months, years, training and diligently working with our vendors to learn each and every product we carry to ensure a proper fitting is provided for each item with each shopper. While we aim for fast service, the priority is proper service and in order to do that, we need the appropriate time to provide that service for you.
Oftentimes, parents think that fittings will only take five to ten minutes tops and are shocked to discover that there is a process to our services. We have countless run-ins of parents coming into buy multiple sizes of shoes because they didn't know their child should be present for the fitting of their first ballet shoes.
Overall, when you think of Fitting Etiquette, think of how you treat your appointments for a doctors office or other specialty service such as a mechanic: you take the time to schedule according to not just your availability but also the providers. At a clinic or repair shop, you expect wait-times and check ahead to ensure the time you should arrive to be seen and serviced the same day...The same should go for when you shop at Footlights. Call ahead, email us, schedule an appointment when you can. We're happy to assist, we just ask for you respect our time and our process in servicing you to the best of our standards.
- The Footlights Team