Designer Shoes You Can Create
Daymond John from Shark Tank told her "I LOVE IT!" That was all it took for Kara Mac of ShoeCandy to quit her day job the next day! ShoeCandy by Kara Mac is a line of high quality, designer shoes and sandals, along with hand-crafted mix and match accessories that you combine to create your own shoe and sandal design.
We were able to get some inspiring words from Kara in our Female Founders Q & A. Shoe Candy will be featured on our Instagram Friday for the Female Founders Giveaway along with one of our pieces.
1.What/who inspired you to start your company?
I was inspired to start ShoeCandy for two reasons. First, I used to commute by train from the suburbs into New York City. I had to have comfortable walking shoes but I also kept about a dozen pairs under my desk at work. If I had an event in the evening, there was another pair in my shoulder bag. Second, I would often make two to three day business trips and was forced to check my luggage as I brought shoes for each outfit in my bag. I wondered why a shoe designer had not come up with a shoe that could go from morning til night, be super comfortable and could be redressed to go with every outfit in a travel bag as well as your closet. I decided that I could come up with a solution to this problem and I worked nights and weekends to learn how to mold and cast chemicals and eventually came up with a heel that would be permanently attached to a shoe but the heel cover could be removed and redressed with all types of leather colors and prints and be embellished with pearls and crystals. Once I had samples made by 3D printing, I contacted a factory in Brazil who made the first sample run for me and ShoeCandy was born. I also came up with a way to be able to swap out the toe clips and sandal straps so ShoeCandy became the very first shoe system to be instantly customizable from heel to toe.
2.Where did you grow up? What was your childhood like?
I grew up in the same town I live now, Yorktown, NY. I didn’t live here my whole life but came back to it after 911 happened as I had been living in New York City for close to 20 years before that. My childhood was fun. I was the middle child with four brothers and sisters. We played outside all the time and were free to run around our neighborhood. It was a very safe place and my family is still close to the people we grew up with. My mom taught me to sew at a very young age and I was artistic. I entered art and sewing contests and always came home with a prize. When I was 12 years old, I announced to my mother, “When I grow up, I’m going to go to the Fashion Institute of Technology to become a Fashion Designer”. That is exactly what I did. In fact, it was the only college I applied to so luckily, I got in!
3.Did anything happen while starting or running your company that may have made you feel defeated. Now tell us how you overcame that.
Getting the Patent for my heel invention! It took 4 years and an incredible amount of time and money. Last November, my business partner, Ann Merin and our patent attorney had a call because, once again, the patent examiner had rejected some claims on our application. I was so frustrated and said that I wished I could just get in front of the examiner and show him how this works so he will understand that it is nothing like patents that had been granted in the past. My attorney said that it was possible and one week later, the three of us flew to Washington DC and had a face to face meeting with the examiner and his boss. Within one month, we got word that our application was approved and received the Official Patent from the USPTO a few months later.
4.Are you working on any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
We are working on so many different projects but they are all hush, hush at this moment. I can tell you that we are in the process of trying to license the heel technology to a major shoe company. Retail is really suffering and women want an “experience” to motivate them to get into a store. ShoeCandy is an experience driven, plug and play system and is practical and fun. Who wants some Candy?
5.What are your goal with the company?
I have huge goals for ShoeCandy. I once had the honor to sit with Daymond John from Shark Tank and tell him about my idea for ShoeCandy. This was before I launched the company or produced anything. I told him about my vision for the ShoeCandy Factory on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. Moms, daughters, girlfriends and groups would come to the Factory to actually design their own Candy, which is what we call the accessories like heel covers, sandal straps and toe clips. They would walk out the door with their own creations and when they got home the dad would ask the mom, “Did you make a purchase at the ShoeCandy Factory?”, and the mom would answer, “We didn’t just make a purchase, we made a memory!”. Daymond threw his hands up and yelled, “I LOVE IT” and compared my model to Build a Bear Workshop and American Girl. His final words were, “This can be Huge”. I quit my job the next day and started working on ShoeCandy full time. That was May, 30th, 2014.
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