How I Invented A Product To Prevent Lost Baby Shoes and Socks
Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hello! I am Danielle Ferrantello, mom and founder of Snappy Socks and Shoespender.
I am a mom of two boys, Cole (5), and Ford (2). As a new mom, I realized quickly a couple of things: kids' shoes are expensive, and what's even more expensive is losing one shoe and never being able to use the single missing shoe again. That’s why I created Shoespender, the first and only patented sock/clip combo to keep babies’ shoes on their feet!
Now let's not forget about the socks. My little men love to pull off their socks, To make it even worse, there's a laundry monster that always eats their socks in the dryer! To help parents like me prevent lost baby socks, I also created Snappy Socks by Shoespender.
Snappy Socks are slip-proof, pull-proof, and even snap together in the wash, preventing lost baby socks on laundry day!
Shoespender and Snappy Socks are brand new to the market, so we aren’t making money as of yet, but I hope that one day I can retire my clown shoes and see children walking around with Shoespenders and Snappy Socks! We have been able to put thousands of parents at ease with these products!
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
Before being a mom of two, I was a professional clown performing at children's parties all over New York. Most people knew me as “Crazy Dani”.
I've been an entertainer since 13 years of age and started my own business, Adrenaline Entertainment, during my freshman year of college. Fast forward 15 years later, I have created an entertainment empire, performing at over 3,000 parties a year, with over 30 employees.
After having my first child, I quickly realized I was now “juggling” lost socks and shoes. A walk through the mall with my son left us with one missing, expensive UGG boot. A trip to Disney left him shoeless in the parking lot even before we even made it inside the park.
After speaking to my mom's friends, I learned how many of them were dealing with the same problem. So, I searched high and low for a solution and realized there was none! This started the founding of Shoespender and Snappy Socks by Shoespender!
Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.
Considering I am far from an inventor, this clown was clueless. I started at the store Five Below, where I made my first-ever prototype using store-bought materials. Unfortunately, it didn't end up looking so aesthetically pleasing.
Things aren't as easy as they look, but with hard work, dedication, and persistence, you can conquer the inevitable.
I knew I had a great idea but kept ending up at a dead end. I refused to give up. Even after a year at a standstill, I knew my idea was great and knew I just needed the right team behind me! It took me over a year to find them, but when I did, my idea came to fruition.
We started with product design and worked together through Shoespender’s first manufacturing phase. After a year and a half of design, mastering the prototype, and designing the packaging, we created a product that wasn’t just functional but also aesthetically pleasing—finally, Shoespender and Snappy Socks had come to life!
In the meantime, I worked on getting my patent, which was no walk in the park either, since it was very expensive and not promised. Luckily, my dreams came true and I received my patent after years of praying and positive thinking!
The road to creating Shoespender and Snappy Socks has not been easy. It only got harder when I placed my first inventory order. The shipping rates were astronomical and it would take three months or more to get my product. I ended up opting for double-the-price, expedited shipping via air so I could hit the road running.
Describe the process of launching the business.
Getting Snappy Socks and Shoespender out into the world has been challenging. I thought inventory would fly off the shelves, but ha, wishful thinking!
It's just the beginning, as I am only about six months in. It is a much slower process than I anticipated but I am up for the challenge.
Find a solution for those in need, be patient, and have fun along the way.
I am fortunate to have a phenomenal marketing team that has not only created the Shoespender and Snappy Socks website but has also established our presence on all social media platforms as well as retail and wholesale marketplaces.
Sales have been few far and between so far, but thank God this clown didn't quit her day job since it’s supporting my brilliant idea to be an inventor! But, as with any challenge I’ve ever sought to overcome, I know it takes time, and I'm willing and able to put in the work to make Shoespender and Snappy Socks a huge success!
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Since launching, we’ve put Shoespender in several places online to set ourselves up for success. Currently, we’re on Amazon, RangeMe, and Walmart.com.
We also regularly run paid ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Google, are seeking out online boutiques to carry our products, and have built an affiliate program. We were also recently a part of our first Instagram giveaway.
My advice to other aspiring product founders based on what I’ve learned since building Shoespender and Snappy Socks is simple—find a solution for those in need, be patient, and have fun along the way.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
I remember thinking that getting a patent was the hardest part. But truthfully, getting Shoespender in front of my parents has been my biggest challenge.
I thought once we put Shoespender and Snappy Socks on Amazon and social media platforms, it would be a breeze. Boy was I wrong!
Currently, 80% of our sales are online sources, with, 10% via Amazon, and 10% coming from boutique sales. Our gross margin is 52%, with our costs around $3 per unit and customer acquisition around $11. We are spending $1,500 per month on paid advertising and have seen 200% growth in our social media following.
I have three trade shows lined up in 2023 which I hope will open many doors for the future of Shoespender and Snappy Socks! We are also adding adult socks as an exciting new option for new and existing customers. We would love to partner with a shoe company to license our product and are partnering with social media influencers who are moms.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Being a business owner, I realized quickly that creating relationships and networking are the greatest sources of success and raising capital. I also learned the hard way a couple of times that not everyone you meet has your best interests at heart, so you have to be careful with who you trust.
Another obstacle we had to overcome was just finding the right manufacturing partner. Initially, we spent a lot on the manufacturing process, and now we’ve made a connection with a new manufacturer who was able to get our costs down by 50%.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Currently, we use Shopify for our online storefront, which has been very easy to set up and maintain, while providing the foundational tools to help us successfully run the company.
Another platform that’s been helpful is Facebook. We’ve been able to get the word out about our products, educate our target demographic on not only our product, but also baby-related topics of interest to them, and connect with influencers.
For email marketing, we use Klaviyo. We also use some 3rd party extensions for managing our workflow and UX interface.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I have been lucky enough to meet some wonderful mentors who are also parents that created baby products. Many of these individuals have been fortunate enough to be on Shark Tank and made deals. These fabulous inventors have truly been my inspiration. They’ve also helped me with ideas, questions, and knowledge that is immeasurable!
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Follow your dreams and bring them to life! Although this is just the beginning, I believe in my product and I am willing to do what it takes to make it huge!
Things aren't as easy as they look, but with hard work, dedication, and persistence, you can conquer the inevitable. To think this clown is now a mom of two boys with a patented baby product that is manufactured and out on the market is beyond my wildest dreams. Never give up— if you dream it, you can achieve it. MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Although we aren't in a position to hire, we are looking for moms and dads to become product affiliates.
To become an affiliate, individuals can visit our website to fill out a quick form to become an affiliate of Shoespender and Snappy Socks. Affiliates receive a 10% commission on all sales under their names.
Where can we go to learn more?
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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