Shoezooz Helps Kids Put On Their Own Shoes

Kids like to do things themselves, and this includes putting on shoes. Unfortunately, they often do not have the right and left shoe concept down. One mom has created a new product that will help kids put their shoe on the right foot, time after time.

Just four years ago the inspiration hit Ellen Lichtman. Her daughter had put her shoes on the wrong feet once again. Instead of trying to figure out whether she should help her or wait while her daughter figured it out on her own, Ellen was inspired. The idea that she came up with that day is now known as Shoezooz.

I recently had the opportunity to ask Ellen a few questions about her business and her goals.

Tell us a little about Shoezooz.

Shoezooz are fun, educational, durable, vinyl, moisture-proof stickers that adhere to the inside heel of the left and right shoes. Printed on the pairs of stickers is an adorable, colorful image of a friendly animal split in half (the head and front of the body on the left sticker and the tail and back of the body on the right sticker). By simply matching up the animal halves, shoes are matched for the correct feet. Through self-correction and repetition, the user learns to distinguish their left shoe from their right. Best of all, no reading is required which makes Shoezooz perfect for their target audience — that do-it-yourself set also known as toddlers!

What inspired it?

I am a professional graphic and website designer and a mom. Although I enjoy working with clients, as a designer I have always wanted to come up with a product that incorporates the gamut of my graphic design skills. I wanted to conceive of a thoughtful, well-designed, functional product which solves a simple problem and helps people live easier lives.

The opportunity came one day about four years ago when my then 3-year old daughter had her shoes on the wrong feet…yet again. On this day, instead of trying to put her shoes on for her, or telling her what to do, or sighing and trying to muster up the patience to sit and wait while she tried to figure it out on her own, an idea came to me. I visualized a sticker which would adhere to the inside heels of kids shoes, with an image split in half that could only be put together correctly when the shoes were placed correctly. No reading was required, so it was perfect for toddlers.

As I developed Shoezooz, I saw how my idea accomplished even more than originally intended. They help kids feel self-confident and self-sufficient, save time for parents and other caregivers, are great tools for occupational therapists and early education specialists, and are ideal for kids with visual learning styles including those on the autism spectrum. My mom thinks they would also be perfect for the silver set!

What styles are available?

At present, we have the graphic farm animals, but other designs are in the works. We have the ability to customize designs as well.

How many stickers come in a pack, and how much do they cost?

There are 3 sets of Shoezooz in each pack. The suggested retail price is $5.99.

Do you have any other products?

Shoezooz are our first product. But we are currently working on other applications for the concept.

What are some goals that you hope to accomplish in the next year or so?

Well, having just launched Shoezooz, which are currently available online at and at several stores here in Baltimore as well as in Boston, my main goal now is to expand into additional retail outlets — both locally and nationally.

What are some lessons your business has taught you?

So many people have said to me, ‘what a great idea, I wish I had come up with that’. What I learned so far is that the idea was just the beginning… bringing the idea to life is the challenge.

Being a graphic designer enabled me to develop Shoezooz from soup to nuts–researching, naming, branding, designing, marketing, etc. It’s a simple idea and a simple product, but it still took several years of research and development to make it a reality.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I received the following message from a parent of a toddler who loves Shoezooz and learned immediately to put his shoes on correctly, “Ellen thank you again also for inventing Shoezooz and adding many minutes back to my everyday life (many times a day!) :)” I hope that my product can provide these same positive results to every Shoezooz user, both parent and child. As a mom, I know how important it is for kids to develop independence so they feel more self-sufficient and confident — and I know how valuable time is for a busy parent.

Do you have any advice that you’d like to offer fellow entrepreneurs that are just getting started?

I would tell anyone with a great idea not to stop there — make it a reality!

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