Fayvel makes personalized kids' shoes into a trading game

Growing up, Erin Slater was a sticker fanatic. “I have fond memories of trading stickers with my neighbor and friend,” she recalls. Little did she know that her childhood passion would turn into a business model as an adult.

Earlier this month Slater launched Fayvel, a line of colorful children’s shoes made with blank canvas. The kids can then attach Frieze Tags -- embroidered patches with industrial Velcro backings in a variety of themes. The Frieze Tags can easily be attached to and removed from the shoes and traded with friends. The tags are available in themes, from fairies and superheroes to sports and outer space.

“Kids personalize the shoes and it encourages creativity,” says Slater, who has a background in product management and two daughters, aged five and seven. “It’s injecting personality into their shoes.”

Slater came up with the idea eight years ago. She spent countless hours researching her idea through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office at the Cleveland Public Library. “I spent a lot of time on the seventh floor of the library downtown,” she says. “The librarians are trained and used the same databases as the USPTO to research my idea.”

Slater then leased co-working space at LaunchHouse before recently moving to an office in Beachwood. “I wanted to work in shared space,” she says. “They have great internet and white board space, and Dar Caldwell had great advice.”

Slater chose the name “Fayvel,” which means "bright one" in Yiddish because the term resonated with the brand's concept of empowering kids to personalize their shoes and harness their imaginations for creativity.

While the shoes are currently available through the Fayvel site, Slater has talked to major retailers about carrying the brand. The shoes are available in sizes 10 through two and will be available in kids’ sizes three and four in May. The Frieze Tags come in sets of four around 10 different themes, with more on the way.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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