- Tell us something about yourself, your background:
My name is Shelby McKee and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a single mom of two teenagers; 16 and 17. I lived in Arizona and Colorado prior to moving back to the Midwest!
- Tell us about the product you invented with a brief explanation:
You know, that phenomenon when your shoes “eat” your socks? Keysocks are the answer! At last, the solution for all women; better than simple footies and socks & for more reasons than you’d think! Keysocks are the very first & only knee high no-show socks on the market. Knee high length keeps socks from slipping, prevents blisters unlike traditional “footies” that slip. Comfort at last without sacrificing style!
- How/Why did you start inventing. What set you off?
I was getting ready to go to a Cincinnati Bengals football game on a brisk fall Sunday. Wanting to wear ballet flats and with the temperature falling, I realized I needed the comfort of a sock but with the look of a no-show. Traditional footies always fell off my feet, scrunched up in my shoes and never provided warmth; so armed with scissors, I cut a hole in a pair of knee-high dress socks. I slipped my flats on and was so comfortable! I got to the game and realized…WOW, I think I have something here! My last name is McKee and my friend looked at me and said, “That is not a MacGyver sock, that is a McKeever sock!” We took McKeever and opted for Keysocks…every Key has a hole! After researching knee high no-show socks and seeing that the idea had never been created, I was committed to seeing my dream become a reality for other women who have suffered long enough for fashion footwear and the Keysock was born! I created the only knee high no-show socks that stay in place and out of sight. I recruited my two sisters, Christy and Stefanie, and the journey of a family business began…
- How did you get from idea to finished product?
I returned home from the Bengals game and the Google search began! Well, come to find out no one ever created a no show knee high sock! When I knew Keysocks had leg, no pun intended and did all my research, I said, “Dad, what do you think?” Well, the interrogation began and if there was anyone on this planet that would know, in my mind it is my dad. After meeting a patent attorney, finding a manufacturer and a trillion and one prototypes made, all hand cut no machine ever made a Keysock, this is crazy right? I knew I was onto something BIG and the KEY was convincing my dad this was the best thing since sliced bread. Fast forward many meetings, talking, brainstorming, the perfect prototype arrived and it was time to get the logo embroidered on it. My dad at this point was 97% in and sold on it. My sisters and my mom, who is the backbone of this venture, truly is sold! The day he was convinced was the AHA moment when we walked into a local embroidery shop. I pulled out the VERY first ever known to man knee high sock that had a HOLE in it and it was called Keysocks, the very first no show knee high sock. I won’t ever forget the two ladies standing at the counter, looked at it like, WHAT THE HECK is this? It was quite scary to think I had been creating this solution to a problem for all women around the world a secret for over a year and only we knew. They both said, “AND what is this?” My face lit up and my heart pounding. I finally explained what Keysocks are and where we wanted the KEY logo placed on the sock. They both looked at each other, my dad looked at me and they both blurted out, “THIS IS GENIUS!” They agreed that their daughters, mothers and every woman needs a pair of these! It was the first time I felt this excitement and energy that now would continue through the years; finally a solution to a problem women have had for years with no show socks slipping!
My advice to young people who would like to start their own business is make sure there is a need in the marketplace first and foremost. If you find a solution to a problem and believe that it can be taken to market then GO FOR IT! Do your research and utilize your strengths in the right places. That means, putting a team of people together that you trust and work well together.
- Let us know of useful resources that helped you i.e. Books, websites, software etc
My dad, Jim Busemeyer has been my biggest role model! He was just retiring when I cut the first sock in 2009. He started his own sales rep company in 1969 and sold non food items to grocery stores. He started his career with passion, perseverance and an entrepreneurial spirit just, like his father.
Secondly, my sister Christy Busemeyer Parry, my business partner. Christy and I work side by side, day in and day out! Without Christy’s expertise and entrepreneurial spirit, Keysocks would not be where it is today. Christy and I are not stopping until we get Keysocks in every woman’s sock drawer!
As for resources, Google was my #1 go to when I first cut the hole out of my knee high socks. Social Media has been such an effective way to connect as well. We are partnered with Daymond John’s, The Shark Group, and Daymond’s books are a must read. The Power of Broke, Rise and Grind and PowerShift.
- Where are you with your product? Where can we buy your product?
We currently sell direct to consumer.
- Social media, Website and Video links
Facebook: Click HERE
Twitter: Click HERE
Instagram: Click HERE
LinkedIn: Click HERE
Website: Click HERE
Video links: Click HERE
End of Interview
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