Profile: Robeez

The Robeez Story

The First Step

It
was 1994. Sandra Wilson, a young wife and mother, was downsized out of
her airline job. Wishing to spend more time with her 18-month old son
Robert, Sandra saw this as an opportunity to start her own home-based
business. For inspiration, she looked to her son’s tiny feet.

Sandra
set out to handcraft a pair of brightly colored, soft-soled leather
shoes for young Robert. She was pleased to discover that the shoes
seemed to improve his balance, because the soft soles allowed him to
“feel” the floor while he toddled about. Sandra decided to name the
shoes after her son. “Robeez” shoes were born.

Going to Market

Sandra at Gift Show
 
Sandra began to wonder: if these high quality
soft-soled shoes worked so well for Robert, perhaps other mothers
around North America would find them a good product for their
children’s developing feet.

So Sandra decided to hand-stitch
20 pairs of her footwear and attend the 1994 Vancouver Gift Show trade
exhibition. The response? Overwhelming. The orders flooded in and she
signed up 15 retailers ready to sell her product.

Sandra threw
herself into production. Her home’s basement became Robeez Footwear’s
early headquarters and she quickly immersed herself into learning all
there was to know about leather, cutting, sewing, design, sales and
distribution. It was the beginning of an incredible growth story.

Growing Strong

To
keep up with the booming sales, Sandra hired her first sales
representative in March 1995 and by May 1997, Robeez was online. The
company moved out of Sandra’s basement in May 1999 and into their first
commercial space. Since then, the company has relocated and expanded
into larger premises to accommodate the rapidly expanding operations.

In
August 2001, sales topped $1.2 million Canadian and doubled by the
following year. Today, sales surpass the $15 million mark and continue
to grow at an outstanding pace.

In 2003, Sandra established
the Robeez Heart & Sole program, which donates much-needed
children’s footwear to non-profit societies and charities throughout
the world.

Robeez Footwear Today

Sandra
could not have predicted the phenomenal success the company has
enjoyed. Today, Robeez is recognized as the world’s leading
manufacturer of soft-soled leather footwear for newborns to
four-year-olds. Robeez Footwear now has close to 400 employees and
sells shoes in over 4,500 stores in countries throughout North America,
Europe, Australia and parts of Asia.

The company carries over
70 designs of shoes and, in 2004, introduced their newest line of
footwear for all-season warmth – fleece-lined Booties.

From
the very first pair of shoes Sandra lovingly crafted, she did so with a
caring ethic, developing a quality product that put her child first.
Today, that same ethic is upheld in every pair of Robeez footwear and
in all aspects of the company.

As for Robert… the now-thirteen-year old is extremely proud of his mom.

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