aNewDomain.net—Muddy cleats in your car.
Those are words every soccer mom or dad loathes.
When Suzanne Simms saw her carpool heading for her newly-washed car, she knew there was something she could do about muddy cleats: Create a business out of it.
Simms is an entrepreneur in the San Francisco Bay Area and founder of SMSportz Design, LLC, and Splosheez Invertables Cleat Guards for Kids and Adults.
When I met Suzanne, whom I had known previously as a senior account executive of Abbott Laboratories, she told me about how she created her product, Splosheez, and brought it on the market in 2012.
The idea of a protective overshoe for sports became more than just an idea when Suzanne found herself spending weekends at soccer fields attending her children’s soccer games. She saw what a huge market there was for her idea. There are 265 million people worldwide playing football (or soccer in the United States) or 4% of the world’s population per FIFA’s 2006 Big Count statistics.
According to the United States Soccer Federation there are more than 4.3 million registered players among the 24 million people who participate casually in the US.
Suzanne wanted to create a product that would take care of every parent’s problem of his or her soccer player tracking mud, dirt, grass and turf debris into the car and home. Having an overshoe also dealt with the need to bring a second pair of shoes to the field to change into after the game. Finally, the shoe guard protects expensive cleats from premature wear.
She started with the book, “Patent it Yourself,” by David Pressman. From researching and writing the design and utility patents, and learning the history of overshoes, Suzanne found most of the information was available online. With that out of the way she moved on to creating the prototype which was a lengthy, detailed and iterative process. She learned new skills and business practices.
The Splosheez is made of an elastomeric (rubberlike) material, can fit any brand of cleats and work with either left or right shoe. A tiny internal brush dislodges caked mud from between the bottom treads. They come in grouped sizes that fit a range of shoe sizes allowing for wearing the same overshoe for a couple of seasons.
Suzanne took on the project because she wanted to take an idea to a reality. She also wanted to show her children that you can do anything you want to by working hard, being resourceful, and taking some calculated risks. “I wanted most of all to learn the basics of how to bring a product to market, gain skills, and inspire my children,” says Suzanne.
A caveat. She adds, “When you’re doing something brand new, everyone will tell you it’s a crazy idea, and it is until you make it a reality. Then, it’s not so crazy.
“It sounds a no-brainer, but you have to believe in yourself.”
With the Splosheez in six retailers in the San Francisco Bay Area, Suzanne is looking to expand the presence of the overshoe to other retailers and online through social media marketing. In addition, she’s planning to create variations of the overshoe platform that will work for dance, running, and biking or any sport where players (and parents) want to protect their investments.
Based in Silicon Valley, Joy Ma is a long time tech journalist and startup veteran. She currently serves as aNewDomain.net’s Executive Editor. Email her [email protected].Tags: Business,Entrepreneurs,Gadgets & Devices,Home,Lifestyle