Who doesn’t love swag? While corporate branding often centers on clothing and accessories, the realm of custom footwear remains largely unexplored.
Isaiah Kelly noticed this gap and was inspired to make a change. The challenge was clear: how to provide organizations with a unique and seamless way to brand themselves through custom footwear. With a passion for sneakers and a vision for footwear that tells a story, he co-founded the Keyhorse-backed company Smoove Creations.
In this Q&A, Isaiah shares his insights into the world of custom footwear and his mission to revolutionize corporate expression.
How did you become interested in footwear?
IK: During my senior year of high school I worked at Shoe Carnival. Being around sneakers 24/7 made me fall in love with the culture and everything to do with shoes! I became extremely passionate about self-expression through footwear, and the story behind every sneaker.
In today’s world of technology, it’s so easy to get mainstream branded items like shirts, hats, socks, and every other apparel item, but there’s little innovation that’s been done in regard to footwear. We’ve identified this gap in the market, and we’re working to make branded footwear seamless.
What inspired you to co-found a company?
IK: My passion for custom footwear and creating a unique way for organizations to brand themselves is what inspired me. In today’s world of technology, it’s so easy to get mainstream branded items like shirts, hats, socks, and every other apparel item, but there’s little innovation that’s been done in regard to footwear. We’ve identified this gap in the market, and we’re working to make branded footwear seamless.
Tell us about your team: Who’s on it, and how did you meet?
IK: I co-founded the company along with Vivi McCloy. Our Creative Director is Kaine Williamson, and our Software Developer is Blaise Ghering. We all met at the College of Business at Northern Kentucky University in 2019. Each of us shared similar interests and wanted to make customized footwear more accessible within the promotional products industry.
What does success look like to Smoove Creations in the short term and long term?
IK: Our overall mission is to make custom footwear the number one outlet for corporate expression and employee rewards. In the short term, we’ve been diving into the promotional products industry to better understand our target market and to interact with customers. We currently only offer custom footwear on canvas high top and low top sneakers. But our goal is to offer other forms of custom footwear in the near future. In the long term, we just filed a patent for our proprietary hardware. We plan to refine this process and outsource the production to our print shop partners so that we can produce custom sneakers at scale.