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Fancy Feet

These custom-made shoes have personality-in billions of ways.

This story appears in the July 2001 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine.

Dave Ward is an extremist. But in his line of work, the moreextreme, the better. As CEO of, an online shoemanufacturer that allows footwear fans to design their ownsneakers, Ward and co-founders Irmi Kreuzer, Mikal Peveto and DavidSolk are using their Nike and Adidas backgrounds to bringcustomization to the masses.

Based in Santa Cruz, California, Customatix allows customers tolog on and choose from billions of colors, materials, graphics andlogos to create their own online portfolios of designs. Theblueprints are then transmitted to the company's factory inChina, where the shoes are manufactured and shipped to thedesigner's doorsteps within two weeks. The shoes retail for $70to $100 per pair, which includes import duty and delivery charges.Says Ward, "The biggest problem we have is, people don'tbelieve we can do what we do."

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