Finding shoes that fit perfectly can be hard.
After a particularly frustrating day of shoe shopping at a mall, Lucy Beard had a big aha moment while drinking her Starbucks latte. Beard happened to pick up an article about 3D printing technology and she thought, if these machines can create one-of-a-kind objects, couldn’t they be used to make customized shoes?
“I could have any kind of coffee I want from two little machines, and yet I couldn’t get a pair of shoes that fit,” she said. “And that was where that light bulb moment came off.”
Beard decided right then and there to get into the shoe business.
In the latest episode of I Made it in San Diego, a podcast illuminating the stories behind the region’s businesses and entrepreneurs, I sat down with Beard to talk about Feetz, the company she launched last year that uses a smartphone app and a warehouse filled with 3D printers to create one-of-a-kind shoes for its customers.
Beard knew nothing about 3D printers when she decided to build a business around them, but she found local resources like Fab Lab, a nonprofit that teaches people how to build things using new technology, and quickly got herself up to speed.
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You about lost me at "while drinking her Starbucks latte". That company fired Carolyn LaFond, its director of human resources, simply because its newly hired VP for operations wanted a man in her position. That was about twenty years ago, back when the company was still young and socially conscious.