Toledo-based Stikii asks, "Why can't shoes be fun?"

Abec's SMALL BUSINESS REVIEW
Toledo Edition Please Support Small Business Owners April 2012

Toledo-based Stikii asks, "Why can't shoes be fun?"
By Bonnie Gretzner
When it comes to shopping for toys or shopping for shoes, most kids will pick toys every time. Toledo businessman Joe Chew, who has two young children, thought, "Why not make shoe shopping fun?" Turning his idea into reality, in December 2011 Joe launched Stikii, which features colorful emblems kids can stick on their shoes.
"We sell the fun factor," says Joe, also the founder of the six-store Computer Discount chain. "I took my children shoe shopping one day. We walked by the toy aisle, and they were so excited. We went to the shoe aisle, and there was no excitement. I thought, 'Why can't we bring the toy experience to shoes?'"
Aimed at children ages three and up, the machine-washable shoes are available online and in select stores in Toledo. Available in eight vibrant colors (including three pairs of Stik-ems) for $39, the shoes are designed for all-weather, all-purpose, indoor and outdoor wear. Joe says the shoes are ultra light and comfortable, and supportive as well. Children love to decorate them with the nearly 100 available Stik-ems in cloth ($1 each) and 3D plush ($2 each), he says, and more designs coming soon.
"We're hoping people will want to collect the Stik-ems," says Joe. "One girl almost has all of them already. Parents can also use them as stickers for a chore chart, and make it interactive and fun."
Joe spent more than two years developing Stikii Shoes from idea to prototype to finished, patented product, and is proud of the profits will be re-invested into the local economy. Now that the shoes are in the local marketplace, he says they will work on building national distribution. "Sales have been tremendous," he say. "Inquiries have come from more than 18 countries besides the United States," and the company has an active Facebook page, he adds.
Stikii Shoes entered the Wal-Mart's "Get on the Shelf" contest, which gives the winner a spot on the Wal-Mart store shelves, featured placement on Walmart.com and marketing support.
"A lot of people don't know about it (yet), but it's like the American Idol of retail products," says sales and marketing coordinator Tony Martinez. "If we win, the entire city of Toledo wins. We want to get the word out and get everyone to vote for us."
The first round of voting began in March and ends April 3; Round 2 voting runs April 11-24. More information is available at http://getontheshelf.com/product/744/Stikii.
If you have found this story to be interesting, informative, or inspiring, please let Joe know! You can contact him at 419-720-8322; Stikii Shoes is located at 5844 W. Central Ave, Toledo; email him at info@Stikii,com; or visit www.stikii.com.

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Abec's SMALL BUSINESS REVIEW
Toledo Edition
April 2012

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