Austin-based startup is recognized as the Texas Unchained Business of the Month for June 2016.
It all started with a pair of high heels. And a woman who wanted to wear them without the pain in the ball of her foot that she was feeling with increasing frequency.
Tina Goodman, a businesswoman in Austin, Texas, was fed up with foot distress, and she applied a technique she’d known from her days as a nursing home administrator. As this publication describes in our feature article on Heelho, fixing the problem was a matter of “offloading” the pressure.
“We used to have a method of treating pressure wounds,” Goodman said. “That method was to put a pad over the sore, but the pad would have a hole in it, so that the sore would not come in direct contact with the bed and would have a chance to heal. Applying that same thought process, I took an insole, cut a hole in the insole in a place that corresponded to the part of my foot where my pain was, and I put the insole in my shoe and it gave me relief. I knew immediately I wanted to market this as a product. So I put a patent together.”
That breakthrough led to the formation of a startup business, Heelho Insoles, and the formation of a management team that numbers seven owner-employees.
As for the award itself, Goodman said that everyone on the team is honored and deeply appreciative.
“It’s feels like a well-timed reward for the dedication, enthusiasm, and drive that our team has showed that has taken us this far this quickly,” Goodman said. “It reinforces the worth of what we’ve put our faith in. We live in times when opportunity abounds for anyone who wants to create a business and make a go of it.”
Dianne D. Green, the Abilene, Texas, businesswoman who nominated Heelho for the recognition, said that the company has flourished because they are risk-takers and problem-solvers.
“They are highly collaborative and they are worker- and partner-empowering,” Green said. “They got their product to market at lightning speed. And it’s a product that gets rave reviews. In many ways, they are emblematic of a new breed that is making gains in business circles, not just in Austin and not just in Texas but across the nation and around the world. They are experimental, web-savvy, and incentive-driven. They’re not about brick-and-mortar. Heelho is more fluid and, where management is concerned, less hierarchical. Heelho knows its customer and its product and is streamlined about getting the two together, and the process has less to do with getting retail partners than it has to do with going direct to the buyer and building that relationship.
“Austin is itself an incubator community for businesses,” Green continued. “Mostly we think of these as tech startups. But the potentialities of the web, social media, and today’s take-any-comers marketplace offer room for non-technology products like this one as well. It’s largely about understanding how to thrive in an inbound, online environment. You don’t have to have a technical product to take advantage of sophisticated online marketing practices.”
For more on Heelho’s development, success, and philosophy, see the related article, “To Stand on Their Own Two Feet.”