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Name: Eileen Sloan

Business: EZLeaps, LLC, a company that teaches kids to tie their shoes

Type of Business: Children’s Goods & Services

Location: Denver, Colorado, U.S.

Reason for starting: Shoe tying is dreaded by millions of parents, teachers and kids. I know this all too well. I was a first grade teacher and my students constantly asked, “Mrs. Sloan, Mrs. Sloan could you please tie my shoes?” I would smile and tie while saying to myself all the while, “If I had a dime for every shoe I’ve tied…I’d be a millionaire.” There was no solution to help me, so I invented my own by punching holes and cutting slits out of plastic coffee can lids. It was an instant success; best of all, my kiddos were learning to tie their shoes so quickly while having fun. I’ve taken my love for kids and teaching and turned it into a passion to help millions of parents, teachers and kids. I’m really glad I did.

Related: Another entrepreneur inspired by her love for kids to start her own business.

How do you define success? Seeing the ease of learning and excitement in a child’s eyes when they tied their shoe for the first time. When they pull off the EZLeaps Shoe Tying Tool, they react as if they have seen a magic trick. Success is also witnessing the child who has special needs tie their shoe, meeting this important milestone with pride. It’s priceless.

Biggest Success: Nordstrom was my first client. I emailed a video to them when my product was only a prototype (I spray painted it to make it look professional). I received a call from Steve Wilkos, National Director of Kids’ Shoes, and he asked how we could work together. EZLeaps is now the shoe tying tool used in 116 of their stores for the Nordstrom Complimentary Shoe Tying Class held the third Saturday of each month. We’re also available retail and online. It’s a great relationship, as they are a wonderful company who gave me a chance. Nordstrom stores are taking EZLeaps out into their community to teach kids how to tie their shoes. October 2013, Oak Brook Nordstrom partnered with United Way Metropolitan Chicago for a Day of Caring. They taught kids at the Center for Independence through Conductive Education how to tie shoes. The associates and the kids are the success. It’s all about helping one another.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Marketing. We are working on SEO and connecting with bloggers.

Related: Entrepreneur helps small businesses with their marketing.

Who is your most important role model? My parents. My dad is a retired entrepreneur and my mom is a retired school teacher. I learn a lot from both of them.

Twitter   @EZLeaps
Facebook   www.facebook/ezleaps

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Edited by The Story Exchange