Jason Shuman was sitting in a chapter meeting of Sigma Phi Epsilon at the University of Miami when he had an epiphany, a revelation that encouraged the then-sophomore to start his own business.
The Sudbury resident noticed a lot of companies offer products with Greek letters to fraternities and sororities that tend to be overpriced and low quality.
“You’re paying $100 for a sweatshirt with your logo on it and you’re kind of looking at yourself when you get it. You’re saying, ‘Why did I do that?’ ”
So when he got home one day and his boat shoes were worn out, Shuman thought, “Why don’t I get a pair of boat shoes with my letters on it?”
Nice idea, except the product didn’t exist. Even the top retailer of boat shoes did not make what Shuman sought.
Luckily, the entrepreneurship major had connections. He was able to get a custom-made pair from a manufacturer in China. The shoes passed the “cool factor,” grabbing the attention of practically everyone at “The U” who saw Shuman sporting them.
Two years later, after testing nearly a dozen prototypes and spending hundreds of hours planning, Shuman and four friends have launched Category 5 Boat Shoes.