Stephanie Shaffer, has always loved skiing and snowboarding. Growing up, her family would go up to Tahoe and enjoy the slopes. A love she now shares with her fiance.
As she got older, she realized there wasn’t any easy way for herself and other winter sports lovers to carry their equipment. She would watch parents children struggle to carry their own equipment as well as trying to hold their child’s hand.
She saw that her uncle had something she could use, but he told her that he bought it back in the 70s Since the product was no longer in existence, she went to the internet to conduct research. She only found cheap products that would dig into the skin and be uncomfortable
So what did this finance professional and MBA student decide to do? Well, make the product herself, of course. After her day job as a financial planner, and going to Mills College for her MBA, she would spend her nights and weekends designing Ski Slinger. She started by getting some business advice from her uncle who established his own business. “He let me use office space and use it as a mailing address.,” stated Shaffer.
She knew she needed a good sewer and that she wanted the product to be made in the United States. She first went to a local shoe cobbler to help put the product together. “It took him five hours to do three product pieces. I knew I needed commercial sewers,” explained Shaffer.
She found a commercial sewer company in Washington and has been working with them to make the product. The strap goes over one’s shoulder and the velcro straps hold the equipment. The adjustable straps make it easy for any person to use. Finally, the material is durable enough to carry your boots and other items.
Shaffer was happy to know people were excited about the product. She recently took it up to Tahoe and asked people on the slopes to try it. Their positive responses were overwhelming.
Throughout the way, she has learned a few lessons as an entrepreneur. One is time management. Between work, school and her personal life, she had to learn how to balance everything. “I can’t procrastinate. I signed up for all these things, so I am going to enjoy them while I am doing them,” stated Shaffer.
She also utilizes her strengths, such as being organized. “I’ve always been a planner, it’s fun to organize,” stated Shaffer.
Shaffer has used her planning skills to acquire her business license in Danville, Calif., produce a video, work with school ski teams to develop custom straps and recently executed a crowd fundraiser.
The next step is for the product to launch on Amazon.com and partner with more local teams. The next time you are struggling to carry all your items up against the slopes, think of Ski Slinger.