”Why are my child’s shoes on the wrong feet?” This is a common question in any daycare toddler or preschool classroom. It often comes at pick up time, when families express concern that their child’s teachers may have incorrectly put on their child’s shoes out of a lack of concern or care. But that doesn’t have to be like that any longer.
Tell us what how did you come up with
Hello there, we are Alyssa Soto and Lindsey Legg. We are sisters, best friends and mom inventors of the company, PairMe. We have five amazing kids between the two of us who are the inspiration behind everything we’ve built today.
The idea for PairMe all started one morning when Alyssa’s daughter had a meltdown because her shoes were on the wrong feet. Alyssa dropped her off at preschool and asked her if she could quickly correct them before going inside with her teacher. Her daughter refused, and it created a back and forth between them. Finally, Alyssa just let her go into school with her shoes on backwards. Alyssa turned to one of the other moms and said, “I can’t believe a shoe company has never thought to address this issue”. This was the Aha moment! Alyssa left parent drop off feeling awful that she had a rough morning with her daughter. That inspired Alyssa to call her sister, Lindsey, to tell her about her morning and the mom guilt she was feeling. Lindsey expressed how she goes through the same thing at her house. Alyssa got off the phone and didn’t think too much more about it. Lindsey called a couple days later and said, I called an invention company and we are going for it! We’re going to solve this problem with kid’s shoes!”
How did you come with the light idea?
We both knew that all kids love light up shoes and thought it would be amazing to design a shoe or a “patch” that had lights that would blink when shoes were on the correct feet.
We got to work right away and connected with our dad, Earl Wilkins, who is an electrical engineer. We sat together and drew out a design of how our idea could work. Our dad drew everything out on a little napkin and that’s what was used when we spoke to the invention company. From there we worked on getting all of our patents both domestic and foreign. We prototyped with melting plastic in chocolate candy molds in our parent’s kitchen. We also put Christmas lights in puffy stickers and attached it to shoes to get the look we were going for. Once we had a good vision, we began working with engineers and plastic mold specialists until we found a factory that was able to take everything and help us create what we have today.
How can one find it, where can we buy it?
PairMe’s are available for purchase on our website, www.pairmeproducts.com. We also have the following social media channels: Instagram: @pairmeproducts. Facebook:
Tell us what it was like to build from zero?
It is like walking blindly in the dark. We invented a product that’s never been done before. We had to completely design and engineer it from scratch. What made it so difficult is that there wasn’t a boss or manager to seek advice from. We learned quickly that we had to figure everything out on our own. Thankfully we had each other to lean on and to tackle different challenges. We refused to give up!
What are your goals and what problems are you trying to solve?
We’ve always had a genuine passion for helping children. We care about families and making life easier for parents. Our mission is to build out a company with a line of products that help inspire children’s confidence and independence.
Would you say PairMe makes children lazy learners?
PairMe’s encourage children to learn and accomplish small tasks on their own with out asking for help. Kids are excited to get their shoes on by themselves with our technology and love seeing the PairMe’s light up when they have them on the right feet.
Who or what influences you?
Our parents have always been our greatest influencers. At an early age they pushed us to work hard in school and in life. Giving up was never an option. They told us that they would do their best to support us if we had a dream and a good business model. They stood by their promise.
Tell us about a time when someone disliked your product or the idea of starting a business, how did you handle this situation?
There was one toy company that we spoke with early on that saw a very preliminary design. He loved the concept but didn’t like the design we had created. It actually helped us change the look and we appreciated the constructive criticism. It is always wise to listen and learn.
What advice would you want to give women who are starting a new business beside their own business?
We were fortunate that when we started we were stay at home moms. But with that said, our kids were very young and still required a lot of our time and attention throughout the day. We worked while they were napping, at night and on the weekends. We even toted them with us to several meetings in their strollers. We were determined to make every opportunity work. If you are not a stay at home mom and have a current career, that’s OK. We would advise you to continue working on your day job while working on building a business at night and on the weekends. Anybody can make it happen if the desire is there.
What popular entrepreneurial advice do you agree/ disagree with? Why?
We read a lot of books and listen to a lot of podcasts by different entrepreneurs. One of our favorites that has always stuck out is Lori Greiner. We read her book “Invent It, Sell It, Bank It” and actually referred back to it multiple times. There was a lot of pertinent information in there. Her story of the invention process and bringing a product to market really resonated with us. One of our favorite quotes from her is, “Don’t ever let anybody tell you it can’t be done, it just hasn’t been done yet!”
Tell us about your proudest achievement?
One of our proudest achievements was getting our patents granted. There was no greater feeling than holding our first official patent certification in our hands.
To buy yours go to PairMe