You've heard of silly bands and those shoes that light up. Well there's a new style of shoe that combines the collectible craze and bling all in one product... And guess what, it was dreamed up right here in Toledo!
They are called Stikii shoes and creator Joe Chew says a light went on when he was shoe shopping with his kids.
"When they went to the show isle, there was no excitement. No thrill. Ok, ill try that on. whatever, bring me a pair. And I saw the same thing in other kids having the same experience. No excitement at all. At that time, it hit me, why can't I bring the shoe the toy experience in to the shoes. That's how Stikii got started," said Mr. Chew.
Mr. Chew has lived in Toledo for over 20 years and is an entrepreneur that opened a chain of stores called Computer Discount, around the city. He said it has taken almost two years of research and development to get this far, but he never thought he would own a shoe company.
He said, "We kept sketching, we'd realize something round is usually cuter than square, not so round. So, we decided round is the theme."
Stikiis retail for $40 and are designed for kids, at least for now. The outside is covered with a microfiber and is easy to clean. And the fun part is the collectable stick ums that give the shoe their name, Stikii. Right now, they have eight colors with over 60 collectable stick ums. Stikii??s marketing team said many parents are using the stick ums as incentives for their kids. They clean the room, they get a new pack of stick ums to collect and share with their friends.
Tony Martinez has created a music video with local kids promoting Stikii. And he said, "It is cool to see like someone who had the guts to, during a time when people aren't opening businesses and taking chances seeing them follow a dream and it does show us some Toledo Pride."
The creative design is already getting attention from around the world. Locally owned national shoe company, Stride Rite is carrying Stikii Shoes. And you will find them in kiosks at area malls and on their website. Company executives are in talks right now to launch their line of shoes on one of the Home Shopping Networks and connect with other national shoe departments.
Hal Yaffe, Director of Business Development, said, "Why can't shoes be fun? I think we found a way to make shoes interactive. There was no other show where the child had a reason to want to put it away. There's no other shoe where the child had a reason to clean up their room to get a new Stikii. I think we solved that."
Chew wants to inspire other entrepreneurs and said, if you have a dream, you need to give it a chance to grow and not be afraid of taking that first step. "My advice is, if you have a great idea, don't give up, don't settle. Keep pushing," he said.