We were honored to interview Kitty Stettner, creator of KiKi*C, a comfortable, stylish wedge shoe with a slipper feel but a go-anywhere vibe. From shoes to matching dog accessories, the company is growing. Check out the reasons why:
How the Wedge Heeled Foam Slippers Were Conceived
What inspired you to develop KiKi*C? Where'd you get the idea for the foam-soled design?
KiKi*c began as a personal mission to acquire shoes to wear at home. I was looking for a stylish shoe with the comfort of a slipper and a hip look. When I began to search stores and websites, I realized that these shoes did not exist. Somehow, slippers had escaped evolution. The comfortable shoes that I found were relics of the flat, fluffy slippers and moccasins I had worn in grammar school. And the chic shoes available were typically pricey, and not very comfortable. Therefore, I set out to create fun, chic and very cushy shoes on a wedge. While testing various materials to use in my footwear, a contact in the shoe industry suggested that I try memory-foam, and the idea stuck. Our foot-hugging foam provides incredible comfort and a customized fit. What began as a metamorphosis of the slipper resulted in a unique type of shoe that can be worn both inside and out.
What previous experience did you have in the fashion world before KiKi*c took off?
Zero experience. Just an idea and a strong will. I have always been involved in some sort of design undertaking, whether it was making jewelry or renovating interiors. I really love that type of project. Once I get an idea in my head, I just steam-roll ahead. In this case, it took a while and has evolved into a passionate business.
How has the company grown since the early days? Did it take off easily? My shoe vision began over three years ago, and KiKi*c went live on the net this past June. Initially, I had my heart set on manufacturing the shoes in the U.S., but unfortunately that could not happen, as most of the footwear production has moved offshore. Just finding a manufacturer to work with me was incredibly difficult, frustrating and time-consuming. (And it is a totally male industry. I have not dealt with one female executive since inception.) I had a number of requirements that needed to be fulfilled by a shoe manufacturer, such as making sure each shoe was handcrafted, not mass-produced. And to accommodate the foam midsole, we had to make our own exclusive outersoles for the perfect fit. I attempted to work with companies in various countries. Luckily, I was introduced to a manufacturer in Mexico, which is where my shoes are being made. And we have a great relationship, which is vital!
Future Plans and Favorite Styles
Right now, your focus is on wedge-heeled shoes. Do you plan to design any other type of shoe? We have many designs for the near future. In the first half of 2007, we will be introducing additional styles to our limited-edition collection, along with a new three-inch wedge. We also plan to introduce a men's line. Besides my husband (who has tried on his women size equivalent), all of the workers at my local post office are waiting to get these cushy shoes on their feet!
Do you have a favorite design available in your line right now? What makes it your favorite? That is a tough question, because I live in all of my shoes on a daily basis. The designs really do make your feet look chic, and living a good part of the year in Florida, I am able to wear the shoes inside and out. I guess if I had to choose a favorite design, it would be Little LuLu, a retro remake of a pair of boa-feather heels my mother used to wear (and named after my mother as a result).
Why You Should Give Them a Shot
KiKi*c shoes look like definite 10's as far as comfort goes. On a scale of 1-10 how much support would you say your shoes give? Based on my own wear and customer feedback, our handcrafted shoes provide excellent support because of a few factors. As mentioned, KiKi*c utilizes a foot-hugging foam based on NASA technology. Our insole provides a customized fit. Additionally, our exclusively designed outersoles are made of high-quality P.U. (polyurethane). They are lightweight, skid-resistant and non-marking. (We have also received positive response on fit and comfort from a number of customers who experience foot problems, such as bunions.)
Does the fact that the foam surrounds and conforms to your foot cut down on the pronation that may happen with other sandal and flip-flop designs? Definitely.
Overall, would you say they're safer to wear than most designs? I think that the KiKi*c design offers one of the best combinations of style, comfort and safety on the market.
What are the benefits of wearing KiKi*C shoes? I could go on a very long tangent here, but in as few words as possible: These shoes are fun, funky, stylish and cushy. Visually, our shoes make your feet look chic. Spiritually, the shoes provide a pleasurable way to feel stylish whether in leggings, jeans, lingerie or whatever sparks your imagination. Physically, the collection provides incredible comfort and a customized fit. The bottom-line is: When you get home from a day of hanging in your heels, you can soothe your soles in a pair of KiKi*c's. You will no longer need to surrender your sense of style for comfort.
Where to Find the Shoes and Other Products
Where can we find KiKi*C shoes? At: KiKiC.com Also, we are just beginning our sales effort to retailers.
KiKi*C isn't just about shoes. Tell me about fur baby couture. If there's one thing a lady loves more than her shoes, it's her dog! You have dog accessories to actually match some of the designs in your shoe line. I think that is the cutest thing I've ever seen. I'd love to buy myself some shoes and a matching boa for my boxer mix--even if he is male. I am a huge dog (& animal) lover! And there are a lot of us out there! I thought that it would be fun to produce matching fashion accessories for the fur babies in our lives. People are spending more time in their homes, and our pooches are our (bonus) children, so why not have matching accessories? Our initial line includes coverlets, bandanas, neckwear and barrettes.
Finally, shoe boxes are great for keeping your shoes organized. However, we don't all do it that way; the boxes that your shoes come in are great for storing keepsakes. What do the boxes look like? One of the many things (in life) that I don't understand is: why make unattractive shoeboxes that you would want to throw away? What a waste! Make them beautiful and RECYCLE! The KiKi*c shoe boxes are designed in a beautiful floral/polka dot pattern. They are deliberately intended to be re-used to store pictures, keepsakes, etc. Why not???