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.
"Youâ€™re paying $100 for a sweatshirt with your logo on it and youâ€™re kind of looking at yourself when you get it. Youâ€™re saying, â€˜Why did I do that?â€™ "
So when he got home one day and his boat shoes were worn out, Shuman thought, "Why donâ€™t I get a pair of boat shoes with my letters on it?"
Nice idea, except the product didnâ€™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.