By Alexander Soule The Hour, Norwalk, Conn.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) It was her own feet, aching after a night of dancing at a bachelorette party in Chicago, that gave entrepreneur Ingrid Sarver the inspiration for her footwear company "Talaria".
From age 4 to 6, a child can grow into a new shoe size about every six months -- as it so happens, about the amount of time it takes Ingrid Sarver to order inventory for her Talaria Flats line of footwear.
With the debut of her offspring line of Talaria Littles for tykes, suffice it to say Sarver is expecting a growth spurt for the business she runs from her Darien home and the Serendipity Labs offices in Stamford.
Sarver founded Talaria Flats four years ago with a design for comfortable footwear that could be folded into a handbag or clutch, and slipped on as needed in place of high heels at weddings and other events. She chose the name for the winged sandals worn by the Greek god Hermes.
As opposed to the durable, rubber-soled adult flats she has been selling for a few years, the children's line of Talaria Flats features soft soles to conform to guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics for how best to encourage growth and development in children's feet.
It was her own feet, aching after a night of dancing at a bachelorette party in Chicago, that gave Sarver the inspiration for Talaria. She developed the idea in her second year of MBA studies at New York University's Stern School of Business where she focused on entrepreneurship and marketing.
"I thought, 'we shouldn't be barefoot in a bar -- there's got to be something that we can all slip into,'" Sarver recalled. "Literally the day after I started Googling."
The existing options she found at the time ranged from throwaway, $10 flats to luxury Italian versions priced at $200 or more, but says there appeared to be a void in the market for a mid-range option that could withstand repeated use and fold into a pocketbook without blowing a hole in the purse at the point of purchase.
Starting with that target price point -- Talaria Flats sell for $38 and Talaria Littles $34 -- Sarver reverse engineered the initial design, using Photoshop to stitch together a rough outline of what she was seeking then reaching out to several overseas factories to get estimates for costs and production windows.
Talaria Flats was off and running, with Sarver initially selling Talaria Flats online and then seeking out boutiques; and this year amping up a presence on Amazon for the children's line.
She said the company is already profitable, thanks in part to visibility from Kleinfeld Bridal, the famed New York City wedding salon featured regularly on the TLC show "Say Yes to the Dress." After a fellow NYU alum helped Sarver get a meeting with Kleinfeld, a series of meetings led to the salon stocking Talaria Flats.
Sarver says Talaria Flats should last two years with regular use -- she wears hers daily -- with four colors available and more in the pipeline for later this year and next. Information and pricing is online at www.talariaflats.com or by calling 917-979-2331.
"The fact that I could have a family and have a business was really important to me," Sarver said. "I want to do this for as long as I can and add more styles, add more colors. We get a lot of requests."