Kory and Mallory Stevens never thought they would be designing and selling stylish shoes that athletes seem to love. Yet after a dual boost from crowdfunding and social media, here they are.
In 2013, the husband and wife team launched Taft (their son's middle name) as a sock company. After multiple customers saw their products and suggested they sell shoes, the Stevens' abandoned socks and did exactly that — and the rest is history.
"Since we launched shoes, the trajectory has really sped up. It has been a really crazy ride. Ever since we launched shoes it has been on the way up," Kory Stevens told CNBC in a recent interview.
The 29-year-old Burbank, California native attended Brigham Young University, where he started out as a linguistics major with a desire to work in soccer. He gave up on that dream after a corruption scandals engulfed FIFA, the sport's regulator.
After creating a successful Kickstarter campaign to start a sock business, Taft slowly garnered a huge social media following, primarily on Instagram. By the time the brand switched to shoes, Taft had over 200,000 followers on the popular social media site, which eventually more than doubled to its current following.
In the years since its launch, Provo, Utah-based Taft is now expecting to ring up $20 million in sales this year, translating its massive following on social media into a stepping stone to becoming a luxury brand. Most notably, Taft has become popular with urban professionals, celebrities and professional basketball players — all with a staff of only seven people.