Shopping is usually considered quite a girly activity, but a new children’s shoe company called Savvy Society is aiming to break down gender barriers by mixing the experience with 3D technology they hope gets more girls interested in subjects like science, technology, engineering and math (otherwise known as STEM).
Launched last year by co-founders Lauren Wallace and Alexa Fleischman (pictured left), Savvy Society offers flats for girls aged 6 to 12 that can be custom designed by the intended wearer with a simple computer-aided design program. The result, Wallace and Fleischman hope, is that the shoe shopping and design process will not only make young girls feel like a million bucks, but will also pique their interest in million-dollar tech subjects mostly flooded by males.
“We wanted to make sure the next generation of girls didn’t require luck to have a future in STEM, that they would understand how interesting and engaging it was from a much earlier age,” Fleischman told Forbes, adding that both she and Wallace (who previously worked in tech-related positions) noticed “the lack of female peers in our industries.”
As for how the idea of a shoe company came about, Fleischman says extended research led Savvy Society to realize the potential of the children’s footwear market. “At first we were thinking of headbands and jewelry… but we did our own focus groups,” she explains. “We went to a Girl Scout event where 6,000 girls walked over the Golden Gate Bridge, where we spent six hours talking to girls. Shoes had the biggest buy-in. The moms were also very clear that they’d rather spend money on shoes than another trinket the girls would lose in a week.”
And speaking of money, the $35 price point ($20 for the shoes, $15 for the custom-designed 3D-printed adornments) was also set via extended market research. “We collected data on prices from brands such as Crocs, Target and Macy’s. The average price was just above $30,” the entrepreneur points out, adding that though Savvy Society shoes are set at an average price, it was still a tough decision because oftentimes kids with less financial resources are the ones who need exposure to STEM subjects the most. “I’m concerned about missing girls who might not be able to afford our product. That’s what keeps me up at night. Am I not reaching the girl in southern Florida who wears flip flops? But we had to be strategic about how we could reach the highest volume of girls from day one.”
For more information on Savvy Society and to get your kids started on custom designing their own pair of shoes with 3D-printed adornments, check out www.savvysociety.co. And for more from Fleischman about the development of the fashion/education company, check out her full Forbes interview here.