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Monday, April 14, 2008

Cool shoes made in her basement

My cousin gave both of my girls shoes called Robeez. When friends saw their shoes they wanted to know where they could get some. We were trendsetters I thought. Seems Robeez are now everywhere. The company was started in 1994, when Sandra Wilson was laid off from her airline job. She wanted to spend more time with her 18-month old anyway, so she sewed him a pair of shoes and went to a local gift show trade exhibition to see whether others would be interested in buying them. That trade show brought her 15 retailers interested in selling her shoes. So she went to work in her basement, Robeez footwear headquarters, sewing as many shoes as she could. Sales were booming and she hired a sales rep a year later, and in 1997 Robeez shoes were online as well. Robeez outgrew Sandra’s basement in 1999 and they leased their first commercial space. In 2001, sales were $1.2 million Canadian, and today sales are over $15 million. They employ over 400 people and the shoes sell in 4500 stores worldwide. The company was purchased by Stride-Rite in September 2006. I think I'll buy a pair for my friend's newborn. Shhh! It's a surprise.