Monday, March 12, 2012

Spotlight on Mommy -- Nicole Williams-Carson, Creator of Snap-n-Step Shoelace Locks

Our second Spotlight Mom this week is Nicole Williams-Carson, creator of the Snap-n-Step Shoelace Lock.  This is another invention that makes me think, why didn't I think of this?  Now, that Savannah is walking and wearing show, we have had to switch to laces, as she can't keep velcro shoes on.  Instead, we have to lace up her shoes and tie them in a double knot, making sure she can't undo them. But, if you have toddlers, you know that they can undo anything, just like a magician.  Nicole kindly sent me a sample of her Snap-n-Step shoelace locks to try out with Savannah, and they have made my life so much easier.  Now, I don't have to continually re-tie Savannah's shoes.  Savannah has tried her hardest to undo the snaps on they shoelace locks, but has been unsuccessful  I love how they add style to her shoes.  And, since using them, I can't tell you how many times moms have stopped and asked what is on her shoes.  When I show them the Snap-n-Step shoelace locks and how they work, they say it is such a novel idea, and wished they had them for their children. 

I love how you can buy these shoelace locks now for toddlers, and that they will be used for years to come, as your child learns to tie their shoes and keep them tied.  I let a girlfriend try these out with her daughter who is in kindergarten, and they love them, as well as the teacher.  Now, my friend can tie her daughter's shoes in the AM, and she doesn't have to worry about them coming undone and her daughter tripping on her laces.  And, her teacher loves the fact that there is one less child her in class that she has to stop on the playground and re-tie their laces.

Please head back here on Friday, when I will share more information on the Snap-n-Step Shoelace Lock and offer a giveaway and coupon code.  This is a must-have item for any parent who has a young child who wears laced shoes.  In the meantime, please enjoy my Spotlight on Mommy interview with Nicole Williams-Carson, creator of the Snap-n-Step Shoelace Lock.

Name:  Nicole Williams-Carson
Company Name/Product/Service: Snap-n-Step/ Shoelace Lock
Company Location: Fullerton, CA.
Company Website:
Facebook URL:
Twitter Handle: @ snapnstep
Age of Company:   2 years old
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: Leap and the net will appear~ zen saying and “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty” Maya Angelou
Favorite Book: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.

I’m a single mom of three amazing children~ Dakota (18), Seth (10) and Jade (8). I am the Chief Snapologist of Snap-n-Step, a clever, new product that will forever do away with double knots and global childhood trippy-ness.  I left my position as CFO of the family business to solely dedicate my energy to my fourth child, Snap-n-Step. I am a woman of many interests and pursuits. In between sports, carpooling, volunteering in my children’s multiage classroom, substitute teaching and endless loads of laundry, I enjoy writing, reading, practicing natural health, running, yoga, camping, hiking, gardening and spending time with friends.   
Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?  

Like most ideas, Snap-n-Step was born out of necessity.  I found myself either retying or telling my kids to re-tie their laces all of the time.  If I actually had a penny for every shoelace I’ve retied for my three children, I’d be rich.  Over the years I tried everything to keep those damn laces tied, yet nothing worked.  One thing was certain, I would meet those untied laces again and often just minutes later.  Like so many parents, I became frustrated constantly bending down in the most unfortunate of places.  Then in a snap, well actually a dream, the idea came to me.  

What is a typical work day like? 

Once my kids are off to school, I put my Snap-n-Step hat on and focus on what needs to be done for the day.  My days range from making manufacturing decisions to marketing and everything in between.  I usually have 6 hour work stretches and some days I make a lot of progress, other days I’m wondering if anything was accomplished.  But there’s always tomorrow! 

What has been a struggle while starting up your company?  

Finding an affordable snap that was made in the U.S., as well as finding an affordable U.S. manufacturer.  

What did you do in your past work life?  

I dedicated the last 7 years to a start-up Air Conditioning and Refrigeration company with my ex-husband and began to focus on Snap-n-Step over the last couple of years…starting in spring of 2010.   

What have been some of your major successes?  

When a parent, coach or child shares how snap-n-step has made their lives easier and safer, that’s when I feel most successful.  When I’m complemented on actually following through with my idea, and all of the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into it.  

What have been some of your major challenges?  

Reducing materials costs, while still manufacturing in the US and trying to make a profit. Trying to get retailers to try our new product in a down economy has been a challenge, but we are offering drop shipping as well as consignment  to try and get retailers to take a chance with us.    

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going? 

Knowing that I have created a product that could help so many kids both on and off the athletic field keeps me going even when I want to throw the towel in. Also trusting in the process!

What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?  

Some days are far better than others~ my kids come to work with me sometimes and my daughter loves to sell the product at sports and school events. Lots of time spent working once they’re in bed and just knowing when enough is enough for that particular day.  I think this comes with the territory for women, especially mompreneurs~ we wear so many hats and are expected to look like we’re balancing them, graciously, all of the time, so NOT a reality.  Most of us moms take care of everyone before ourselves, it just seems to be our nature.    

What is next for your business?  

We are introducing armbands to our line this spring and the girl athletes just can’t get enough of them.  Our dream is to get our product into shoe stores across the country! 

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business? 

My advice would be to be realistic about the enormous amount of energy it takes to maintain a business and to market a product.  We all want to think we have the next big million dollar idea, and WE MAY! BUT it takes time to get your product out to the market and patience (not one of my best character traits) Enjoy the journey!  There is so much to learn along the way and know that for MANY mompreneurs, even the ones that have shelf space at Target and other big box stores, it can take years before they are actually making a  profit from their product.  

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