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Mother of all Inventions - Beauty Guru Marcia Kilgore Can't Stop Creating

Monday, September 8, 2008
Very often, I like to highlight mom entrepreneurs. There are so many women doing amazing things who deserve to have their story told over and over. Marcia Kilgore is no exception.

A few months ago, I watched an episode of 20/20 where they talked about a new shoe called the FitFlop. I was intrigued. The shoes deliver a workout while you walk by slowing the slow twitch muscles in your legs. Hmmm...

Shortly after that episode, I was contacted by the company's rep to test out their product. I enthusiastically agreed. I was very interested in the product but even more interested in the company's founder Marcia Kilgore. Marcia is the mother of two who is no stranger to juggling life, work and family. Creator of renowned beauty mecca Bliss spa, mass cosmetic sensation Soap & Glory and now the "it sandal" of the season FitFlop, Marcia seems to have a knack at envisioning and developing the next big thing.
Marcia entered the retail spotlight in 1996 after opening Bliss spa in the trendy New York City neighborhood of SoHo. With celebrities including Madonna and Demi Moore raving about the treatments, Bliss quickly became the most buzzed about spa in the country and an aggressive expansion plan followed. By the age of 30, Marcia sold a majority stake in Bliss - which alongside the name-sake spa business expanded to include a $20 million dollar mail-order business and a $20 million dollar wholesale cosmetic business - to Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, and then in 2004 sold the final equity stub to Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

Never one to stay still for long, Marcia expanded her cosmetic know-how to the mass market with her cheeky line of bath and beauty products Soap & Glory. Sold through Boots, Harvey Nichols and Harrods in the UK and Target in the US, first quarter sales topped the $30 million mark.

FitFlop - Marcia's first foray out of the cosmetics arena - was inspired by both her love of flip-flops and desire to find time to squeeze a bit of exercise into her increasingly hectic schedule. In the midst of an international panel debate on what causes cellulite, Marcia listened as a personal trainer at the other end of the conference table touted the positive effects of diet combined with exercise, and thought “Diet and exercise? That’s so obvious. What we girls really need is something like a flip flop that tones and trims our legs while we run errands. We have no free time and need a workout while we walk.” Thus, the FitFlop was born…

The shoes were considered so revolutionary that the launch was greeted with a wait list of over 10,000 and have been sold out repeatedly at Macy's, Bath and Bodyworks and Victoria's Secret. The brand is also introducing the fashion forward itFlop collection this month which features sequin and fringe styles and has partnered style giant Kirna Zabete to deliver a limited edition gladiator pair.

In 2007, (less than a year after they launched) FitFlops were the only shoes to be included on Oprah Winfrey’s famous ‘Favorite Things for Summer‘ list.

Marcia currently resides in London with her husband and two young sons, Louis and Raphael and is sure to turn out many more "must-haves" in the future.

As for this mom entrepreneur's review of the product...two thumbs up. The FitFlop is extremely comfortable, a shoe you could wear all the time (except maybe in the winter). As a mom entrepreneur, I am always on the go. Having a comfortable, stylish shoe that I can quickly flip on and off is fantastic. I was never much of a flip-flop wearer in the past because they hurt my feet, but the FitFlop has made me a raving fan. And if I am getting a workout at the same time then it makes them that much better!

Now if I could convince them to send me one of their new fashionable itFlops to review that would be great. Hmmm....:)