This start-up wants to shrink your shoe collection.
"Who needs a dozen pairs of shoes under your desk?" says Kara Mac, co-founder and CEO of ShoeCandy. "Just have a little bag of candy and you can have something for your entire day."
By "candy," Mac is referring to interchangeable accessories that can be clicked and snapped into place on a shoe instantly.
"This is like 'Legos for ladies'," says Mac. "It's fun. You want to be able to play with it."
The start-up's novel idea is a modular footwear line for women that offers more than 10 types of suede and leather shoes, ranging from sandals and slippers, to booties and pumps. Each can be accessorized with dozens of styles of "candy"; anything from pearl-studded heel covers to python-printed bows can be applied and removed in seconds.
The shoes price between $139 and $299, and accessories range from $30 to $75. All products are available for sale on the company's website, as well as at its boutique in Yorktown Heights, New York.
Mac says the company's target customer is a 35- to 55-year-old businesswoman.
"She's traveling. She's working," says Mac."She doesn't have time to check her bags and pay for her bags when she's going on a business trip. So she wants to be able to take one shoe, bring the candy to match all her outfits, and get it over the seat."
The start-up is betting that consumers will be drawn to the convenience of owning a single pair of shoes that can be transformed instantly to deliver dozens of different looks.
"It's making your life a little bit easier," says Mac. "What other shoe company can say: 'You can fit five pairs of shoes in your purse?'"
ShoeCandy holds a patent on the design of its swappable heels, which Mac says is the broadest of all her patents because it covers every shoe that she makes. The start-up currently has three other patents pending.
Mac plans to one day expand her collection to children's shoes, for which she hopes to explore licensing opportunities.
"Why can't I do jelly sandals for little girls and they can swap all the candies with their friends?" says Mac.
A fashion industry veteran, Mac has spent more than 25 years designing, merchandising and sourcing for brands including Ralph Lauren and Talbots. Mac founded ShoeCandy in March 2015, and has had more than $200,000 in sales to date. The company is headquartered in New York City, and all products are made in Brazil or the U.S.
"We are on a mission to disrupt the traditional shoe market," says Mac. "The time is so right, right now."
It's a mission that so far seems to be working. Mac says that for every dollar spent on the start-up's shoes, customers spend an additional 40 cents on "candy."
"I almost can't redesign fast enough," says Mac.