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Inspiring Conversations with Jacki Stanley of Bobbi-Toads

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jacki Stanley.

Hi Jacki, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
It all started when I was a kid while on vacation in San Francisco with my family. One morning at breakfast, my dad was telling us about the crazy dream he’d had the night before: God told him to invent a new kind of sneakers for kids, ones that you can paint with nail polish. He was told to name them Bobbi-Toads and to give back to a specific charity with the profits. This was already wild, especially since he’s a printer by trade, having absolutely no knowledge or interest in kids’ shoes, fashion, or nail polish. Then things got even crazier – when he returned to work at the print shop, there was an order for a new customer on his desk; it was for a place called Our Lady of the Angels, the charity from in his dream that he was told to help, one that he’d never heard of before then.

At that moment, there was no doubt that this was something he was meant to do. He obtained the patent right away, and years later in 2012, when I graduated from college & he retired from his printing business, it was finally time to turn this dream into reality. With a lot of work, we figured out how to get the shoes made, and we came out with our original Bobbi-Toads Paintables. They’ve got “toes” embossed into the rubber cap and can be painted with nail polish, over & over again, just like your real nails. After the paintable shoes, we created a kind where the “toes” light up in rainbow colors and can be decorated with nail stickers. We’ve expanded now into gender-neutral styles as well as ones with lights on the side, which can still be customized with Bobbi-Stickers. Our most recent endeavor, Bobbi-Dobbiez, are small attachable plushies. These little stuffed animals have an elastic loop sewn on the back of them and come with a Velcro strap – the patented process allows them to clip onto anything: shoes, backpacks, keychains, scrunchies, etc. In addition to our classic characters, we also make custom Dobbiez for sports teams, companies, and brands.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Oh gosh no, it’s not been a smooth road. I think that’s a good thing, though – that’s how you really learn and understand how things work. There’s nothing cooler than knowing you’ve overcome something to get where you are. Something important that I’ve learned along the way is getting used to hearing “no” all the time, with perseverance being the only option ahead. The number of times I’ve heard “no” is almost laughable at this point, but it sure makes getting that “yes” even more rewarding. As with everything worthwhile, you’ve just gotta keep going until you get there, regardless of how long it takes.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I’d say our products and company are already unique in their own right, just with the story behind Bobbi-Toads, while also having the patents and intellectual property. Fortunately, there are many other things that set us apart from others as well – all of our products are eco-friendly and environmentally-conscious, without sacrificing quality. The shoes are made with vegan leather, and the boxes are encouraged for reuse and/or recycling. Our Bobbi-Polish nail polish is all-natural, hypoallergenic, and non-toxic, making it extremely safe. One of the things I love the most about our products is the way they encourage kids to be creative and express themselves! Knowing that the shoes can be decorated over & over again, they’re not afraid of messing up or trying something new. It’s also a safe and fun outlet for kids to spend their time while giving parents an actual option between playing with the kids or needing some alone time. I think what I’m most proud of, though, is knowing the importance of helping others and treating that as a responsibility. Because of Bobbi-Toads, we are able to give back in a bunch of different ways, creating events for kids in children’s hospitals, those in underserved areas, and other donations to people affected by natural disasters. It’s a blessing to provide happiness in times of despair.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
We really are all in this together. While it was sad to see so many struggling, at the same time, it’s been uplifting to see the amount of people willing to help, bringing the community together. I think this provided everyone with some much-needed reassurance for better days ahead. A lot of us discovered what’s actually important in both our personal and professional lives. As business owners, we had to find ways in which we could cut costs & save while figuring out which areas are absolutely necessary. From this experience, I believe everyone also had to learn new skills, inevitably leaving us better-prepared for whatever the uncertain future may hold.

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