Here's how it all started:
“THE ZIP HEARD ROUND THE WORLD”
ZIPZ Shoes is the brainchild of
entrepreneur, Jerry Stefani and his family.
A clandestine BBQ/family reunion 6 years ago would become the catalyst
for the idea. A large contingent of the
family had children in attendance at the BBQ.
Some of these children played “dress up” and changed their shoes several
times during the day much to the chagrin of their mothers who complained of
having to buy excessive pairs of shoes for the children. Other children simply got their shoes so
dirty from playing they had to be changed numerous times throughout the day. In both cases Jerry took notice and in a
stream of free thinking he made a comment that perhaps an interchangeable shoe
would solve these problems. Orange County
Curious, the family members around Jerry asked him exactly how he would accomplish that goal. Jerry’s idea was simple: Create a shoe with replaceable, interchangeable covers and souls. While this initial burst of genius made the idea seem easy it would prove to be quite an adventure and anything but simple. Jerry’s immediate family began to get involved and discussions began on how to tackle this project. The initial suggestions for the shoe’s fastening system consisted of such things as snaps, buttons, fasteners, Velcro, etc. These early ideas and sketches were numerous but a consensus among family members could not be reached. Clearly the key piece to the idea was still missing.
Then in the middle of the night, again Jerry was struck by an idea…Zippers!! He immediately informed his family and they all agreed this was the idea they had been hoping for. It was so simple, yet so perfect. A zipper would be the ideal means of replacing and interchanging covers and souls of a shoe.
Now that the idea was set, the manufacturing process could begin. Again, during this time setbacks were many. Initially the cost of the shoe was the primary focus and all attention was directed at this goal. Again, this proved to be a costly mistake. Numerous prototypes and numerous factories failed over the next several years. This was a mentally and financially painful R&D period. Suddenly the family changed directions and realized the quality of the shoe and it’s use should be the top priority regardless of costs and all efforts were focused on this goal.
Zipz forged partnerships with the best footwear factory group in the world, Diamond Group along with sourcing and manufacturing company SRG, run by the famous Art Carver. Zipz also forged partnerships with the world’s best fastening company, YKK. World class art director Scott Anderson joined the Zipz team, as did award-winning shoe designer Trevor Marley, VP of Operations Marcello Zalai, and CFO Fadel Lawandy. With this team in place Zipz began working with more specialized factories and the best materials available. Due to the labor intensive needs of the shoes construction not many factories would accept the challenge of making the shoe. Finally Diamond Group did. It took almost a year to formulate the proper methods of manufacturing and developing the correct covers, soul’s, designs, packaging, and of course the special YKK zipper. While the shoe was now extremely expensive to manufacture there was no denying it was everything they had hoped for in use and quality and the dream that was an interchangeable shoe was now reality.
Initially the shoes were named “Marshmallow Skins” because they were so soft and comfortable; somewhat like being in your own skin. Not to mention the fact that you could “shed” your skin and change it to something new if you wanted. While this name was cute and served its purpose, it was clear a few more “tweaks” were necessary before going to market.
Heading back to the drawing board, the team began making those necessary tweaks, which included changing the name to “Zipz Shoes” and finalizing the launch of the first of the Zipz collections, the “Cali Classic” collection. During this time, Zipz intellectual property and patent attorneys, Knobbe Martens Olsen & Bear LLP, worked diligently to secure Zipz Shoes patents worldwide in both utility and design which were finally issued in 2009!
The journey from an idea at a family BBQ to the launch of Zipz Shoes has ended, but the journey for Zipz Shoes taking over the world is just beginning! Don’t worry though, we’ve got more BBQ’s ahead for the Zipz team and we’ll think of something to make that happen as well…
Change Your Shoes, Change Yourself, Change Your World!!!
I was sent a pair of ZIPZ in the DRAGONROSE style! And I think they are just gorgeous!
I've worn them several times, and they are quite comfortable. I love the fact that all you have to do is unzip them, get a new pair of covers, and zip them on! And voila, it's a new pair!
I must say, these are my new favorite shoes. I can't wait to get more covers for them!
*I was sent this pair of Zipz Shoes for review purposes only. I am not being compensated for this review. All opinions are 100% my own.