Mother’s Day came early for Chooze’s Sharon Blumberg. Earlier this morning, the Dallas-based entrepreneur was featured in a segment on NBC’s “Today” show, highlighting moms who have started successful businesses inspired by their kids.
Blumberg shared the story of Chooze’s beginnings back in 2011, when her free-spirited daughter, Ayla, took to wearing two different shoes on her feet, giving her mom the idea for a line of stylishly mismatched shoes for kids.
“I saw there was a void in the marketplace, and it was like a lightbulb went on in my head one day,” Blumberg explained in the segment. “I said, ‘I want to do this. I want to start a company that allows kids to express themselves creatively.’”
Four years later, Chooze is one of the fastest growing brands in the kids’ market, with an expanding lifestyle offering that also now includes accessories such as two-sided backpacks and lunch boxes. And Ayla, now 8, continues to inspire her mom, assisting her in the family business with creative input and fit testing.
“I’m the chief tester of shoes,” Ayla said. “I try them on and tell [my mom] whether they’re comfortable, and I look at the designs and tell [her] if I like them.”
For Blumberg, the best part of Chooze’s success is that she can now be role model for Ayla, empowering her to be bold and follow her dreams. “The coolest thing is that my daughter inspired me, and now I’m inspiring her,” she said. “She already has a very interesting business idea that she wants to work with me on, and we’re talking with manufacturers now. I love that I’ve shown her that if you work hard and really put your mind to something, amazing things can happen.”
We caught up with Blumberg after the segment aired, and she said the company already has seen a big bump in traffic on its e-commerce site. “We’ve worked so hard over the past few years to build our brand, and to get this national exposure just takes us to the next level,” she noted. “We’re very excited about this opportunity to have more moms and kids hear our story and discover our product.”
Blumberg’s “Today” appearance follows on the heels of other big news for her company. Last week, Chooze announced it was stepping into the apparel market with the launch of a line of colorful leggings called Splits. Just like Chooze’s shoes, the $34 leggings, which are being manufactured in Los Angeles, feature creatively coordinated prints that are different on each leg. Set to debut at retail this fall, including Nordstrom.com, they are available in five different designs and are made of a soft, stretchy Spandex blend for all-day comfort.
“We are thrilled that Splits are being produced domestically and so far, the feedback [on the collection] from both buyers and customers has been overwhelmingly positive,” Blumberg said.