FN: Pediped turns five this year. Are you surprised by how quickly the company has grown?
AE: Yes, but we were always working hard, so we didn’t have much time to enjoy it and sit back and pat ourselves on the back. [Considering the rapid growth], we quickly revised our plans and goals for the company, and since then, we have been on track — even in the downturn.
FN: What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in growing the company?
AE: With any growth company, finding and hiring the right people is always the biggest challenge. We have been fortunate over the past year to get some great people in sales, marketing and product development. We have gone from just Brian and me to more than 270 people in only a few years, so we are always seeking talented people with experience who can make our company better.
FN: You didn’t have a footwear background when you started Pediped. How did you go about learning the craft of shoemaking?
AE: We hired industry experts and weighed their opinions before we made major decisions, and we combined this with actual real-world testing. Our Originals line was continually modified for more than 18 months before the product was ever ready for market. We had parents providing constant feedback as we evolved the design we ultimately brought to market in 2004. Some of the most valuable advice came from doctors who had recently become parents.
FN: When it comes to baby shoe construction, what are some of the biggest “no-nos”?
AE: I cringe when I see babies in rigid, hard-bottomed shoes — those shoes unnaturally mold their feet. We begin life with unformed bones in our feet and over time, they fuse into the 26 bones we have as adults. This process takes a long time, and shoes that are too rigid or too tight are effectively changing the shape of a child’s foot. This is true of shoes throughout childhood, not just during the baby years. Most experts agree this process of forming the foot bones does not end until you are 25, so children should never be in tight or restrictive shoes.
FN: Why do you use coated leather bottoms on the Originals shoes instead of the more typical rubber?
AE: One big problem we see out there is the amount of rubber used on many first-walker shoes. While grip is great for adults — who push off with every step and have a standard-length stride that is developed over time — new walkers have not figured out their perfect stride length yet. First steps are tentative: Infants do not plant their foot and then push off. Instead, they slide as they take different length strides and learn just how far down the ground actually is. With rubber bottoms, the shoe grips when the sole first hits the ground, so the foot jams forward in the shoe and the child can trip. Our Originals shoes, which have leather bottoms, mimic most closely what it is like to walk barefoot.
Read the entire article here: http://www.wwd.com/footwear-news/qa-with-pedipeds-founder-2222894?gnewsid=5fce9058fdd98395f0d1570f0e774a45
These shoes are a must have for babies who have yet to take their first step and tots who are already bolting around the house like lightning. They are a wonderful blend of science and style and every little girl and boy should have a pair.
Oh, and don't forget the matching hair clips of course!