The Inspiration Behind Pointelles
Do you love your pointed-toes shoes, but there's this one problem…?
One day, while sitting on the bedroom floor in front of my shoe rack, staring at yet another bent and creased pointed-toe section on a pair of pointed-toe shoes, I was frustrated that these practically new shoes that were pretty when I bought them now looked too ugly to wear. I moved them from the front of the shoe rack to the back.
Fed up that I had spent money on new shoes I had been excited to wear, I was inspired to create a shoe insert that would keep the pointed-toe section on any style of pointed-toe shoes full and pretty. Other women must also experience this same problem. I wanted to help them by solving this small, but frustrating problem for us all.
I had been stuffing the points of my shoes with cotton balls, facial tissue, ballet toe covers, and even toilet seat covers (yes, I know! I did this while at work). For various reasons, all had to be replaced often, fell out when I took off my shoes, and most important, were not successful in filling out the creased section of my shoes. I am sure some of you have tried these tactics yourselves.
While many shoe designers make their shoes with a pointed section of one inch or shorter, some pointed toe sections extend to two inches past the tip of the toes. The pointed-toe section of a shoe is “empty,” which is why it flattens and creases. Walking, specifically stepping forward, creates downward forces on this empty part of the shoe. (This is to be distinguished from any shoe style bending across the foot where the toes begin—a different issue for which there are other products on the market.)
Long story made very short, after much experimentation with more suitable materials and shapes, I came up with an ideal material in specific measurements for a pointy-toe shoe insert that remains in the shoe, can be removed and used in a different pair of shoes, and is soft enough to be trimmed (probably not necessary). These inserts can be used in new shoes to maintain the lovely shape, or they be used in worn shoes to restore the shape they had upon purchase. They will also last the life of your shoes.
During the time I was researching materials, manufacturers, product packaging, and website builders, I was also endeavoring to obtain a patent on my creation. I did this without prior patent law experience and without a patent attorney. Not for the faint of heart, but that is a story on its own. It took so much time, effort, money, and research that many times I wanted to give up. But what if I gave up? I would never know what the outcome might have been. After about three years, and even after my patent examiner once told me I didn’t have patentable claims, the USPTO eventually (finally!) awarded me a patent.
I have been using prototypes for a couple of years now. (I have a lot of prototypes.) They have saved my favorites pointed-toe shoes from creasing and flattening. As a result I have been able to wear my favorite shoes until they naturally wear out due to stretching, or the soles fall off. (The soles fell off only once—I adored those shoes.)
I did not start out thinking that I wanted to be an entrepreneur or a business owner. My inspiration was to help women solve this small but annoying problem. I have always wanted to help women out in some way. I taught aerobics/group fitness classes for 13 years—and derived great satisfaction making exercise fun and from developing relationships with my students. (Yes, a few participants were men :)) If I can help women extend the life of their pointed-toe shoes, which in the long run saves women money on shoes, and makes them feel good about their shoes, I smile.
May you want to have all of your shoes at the front of the shoe rack.
Owner, Pointelles LLC