Startup Stories: Falling into the Rabbit Hole

Shouter Wear - Cheer Shoe Covers

Tell us about your product or service.
My primary product started with cheer shoe covers that I call Shouter Wear which provide a protective cover on the outside of the shoe. They come with a bow that matches the cheer uniforms being worn.

I also sew custom American Girl sized cheer uniforms made to look like actual cheer uniforms worn by the teams they represent.

What inspired you to launch your business?
My daughter has been cheering competitively since 2007. Many times cheer practice started right after school so it was important to have her all ready to go and changing shoes (into cheer shoes) when she got to practice often made her late! Cheer shoes can’t be worn on the street for several reasons including the fact that it transfers dirt to the cheer mat and makes the white cheer shoes dirty.

The idea for Shouter Wear was born of that inconvenience. These shoe covers go over her cheer shoes so she can get all ready at home, slip the Shouter Wear over her cheer shoes and then head to practice without an extra shoe change.

Once the other moms saw that I could sew, I was asked to make the American Girl sized cheer uniforms for our team… and then it wasn’t much of a jump to make American Girl sized clothes. Next thing I knew, I was down the rabbit hole.

What problem does your business or organization solve?
The cheer shoe covers solve several problems:
1) the time crunch problem
2) there is a safety issue when the cheer mats or cheer shoes have dirt, the base person (cheer leader holding up other cheer leaders) can get dirt falling from dirty shoes in their eyes.
3) the shoes stay nice and white for competitions – judges like this

What has been your biggest challenge and how are you working to overcome it?
The challenge is getting the word out – it’s a relatively new concept. I think there may be one other company in the world that makes something similar. Then it’s showing cheer moms the need and how this fills the need. Once a cheer mom has a pair of Shouter Wear, they tell their friends and they are customers for life.

I’ve overcome this by getting my cheer shoe covers out on Etsy and on Facebook. Since I make them myself they qualify for Etsy. I also have them on my own website and I work hard to get Google to list my site at or near the top of search.

Give us one word that people might use to describe you.

How has Project Eve helped you and/or your business?
Project Eve is new to me but I believe in the idea of women supporting women. I’ve often had other women business owners tell me that they prefer to do business with other women.

Give us an insider tip that relates to your industry.
Cheer moms are fanatical! If you do it right they love you for life – if you get it wrong they tell everyone! I should know, I am one :)

Company: Annique’s Nook


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