THIS LITTLE PIGGY DOMINATES THE MARKETIt didn’t take mumof four Pam Walker long to find her feet in the world of kids’ shoes. Indeed, as JOHN PENMAN discovers, people travel from far and wide to shop in her child friendly stores00:00, 18 AUG 2005Updated21:40, 30 JUN 2012Get daily updates directly to your inbox+ SubscribeThank you for subscribing!

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PAM Walker was in Aberdeen one day unsuccessfully trying to find a pair of shoes for her first child when an idea struck her: Why not launch her own children’s shoe shop?

She recalled: “It was as straightforward as that, even though I knew nothing about the shoe trade or running a business at the time.”

Pam ran the idea past some people, got encouragement and headed off to a shoe fair in Birmingham to see if she really was into it.

She said: “I was so excited afterwards, I knew it was the right thing to do.”

Now, seven years later, her This Little Piggy shop in South Methven Street, Perth and its successful sister outlet in Broughty Ferry have grown into something of a phenomenon.

The groups of contented children in the Perth shop when I visited are testament to Pam’s success.

This Little Piggy may be located well away from the major population centres, but it is well known across the UK. Shoppers come from as far away as Sussex and Orkney to buy shoes from the vast range of styles.

Pam said: “We have a family who pile in the car, drive overnight from Sussex, get their shoes and then drive back again.

“It’s pretty incredible, but they were here on holiday and just fell in love with what we do.”

It’s easy to see why. Pam aims to make the whole shopping experience much easier for both parents and children.

The shoe styles are hugely appealing and are displayed well. The shop is also decorated to appeal to children.

There are toys for the younger ones to play with and an ever changing window display that shows off Pam’s artistic side. But it’s her business skills which have seen her recognised with a number of awards from the footwear industry and her local Tayside region.

Her marketing of the shop is relentless and imaginative. She’s sponsored a school calendar, advertised on the side of a static Stagecoach Magic Bus and even dressed as an elephant.

Pam’s determined attitude makes sure This Little Piggy is a success.

And then there are the neat little touches, such as including a pack of chocolate pigs for the children with every sale, that help keep customers coming back.

Some mums have even been known to leave their kids in the shop while finishing their shopping elsewhere.

Pam laughed: “It’s not something we necessarily want to happen all the time.”

But as a mother of four she knows all about the pressures of keeping your kids happy while shopping.

She also knows all about the challenges of running a business, because her mum went into business when she was younger.

Pam said: “I knew it involved hard work, long hours and a determination to succeed, but I also knew that it was something I wanted to do.”

Her resolve was tested when a fewdays after committing to launching This Little Piggy, Pam found out she was pregnant again. The same thing happened when she decided to open in Broughty Ferry.