WICHITA — The shoe business might not seem likely for someone with an IT or health sciences background, but it’s a natural for Katie Clark and her fiance, Maurice Moore.
The birth of their children – Shania is 2 and Victor is six months – inspired them to start Ten Tiny Toes to sell shoes for children.
“We had babies, and we noticed that there’s a lot of issues with shoes,” Clark says.
Shania suffered blisters from her shoes.
“They didn’t fit properly,” Clark says. “She’d always take them off.”
Clark and Moore started designing what they hoped would be better shoes.
“The big thing that was our overall concern was how they fit her.”
Clark, who recently graduated from Wichita State University with a health sciences degree, began contacting pediatric podiatrists and doing research about shoes.
“Well, my background, you do a lot of research,” she says. “That’s what my degree mainly focuses on.”
Ten Tiny Toes is now Clark’s full-time job. The company’s office and warehouse are on the northeast side.
Moore is a Kansas State University graduate and is getting his MBA while working in contracting.
Clark says they’ve been working on children’s shoes for two years.
“They’re better than we imagined you could come up with really,” she says. “Now we’re happy with them so we thought we should start sharing.”
They’re selling the shoes online and working with sales reps to place the shoes in retail outlets. There are nine styles so far, each of which come in two or three colors. A factory in China is producing the shoes, and Shania and Victor are wearing them.
“They’re our little models,” Clark says. “They seem to really love them.”
She says she and Moore hope to have a retail site eventually and possibly expand into clothing or hair accessories.
“I have always been really interested in fashion.”
Clark admits WSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship might have made more sense for her than being a health sciences major.
“I know, and I thought about it.”
She’s now getting on-the-job entrepreneurship training, though.
“It’s definitely a lot of work, and we’re learning a lot … along the way.”