What if there were boots that kids could run in — downhill — backwards — in the rain — without tripping? What if they felt more like a shoe, and actually stayed on kids’ feet, and were comfortable? What if they came up to the knee and cinched tight so water wouldn’t get in? (And what if they dried quickly if they did happen to get wet inside?)
Suzanne Solsona, CEO and Founder of MyMayu, knows the answer to all of those questions.
Through MyMayu, Suzanne is helping families explore the wonders of the natural world — without worries about whether the kids’ gear will hold up the adventure. MyMayu’s mission is “to create innovative outdoor gear made from durable materials that results in happy families.” The result? Brilliantly designed gear, a commitment to ethical and sustainable manufacturing, and some absolutely adorable boots (the Muddy Munchkins, anyone?).
Next week, as a Pitchfest finalist, Suzanne will have the opportunity to shine a spotlight on MyMayu in front of a crowd of outdoor industry leaders — but before then, she spoke with Misadventures about the inspiration behind MyMayu, and what she loves about the great outdoors.
What inspired you to found MyMayu?
MyMayu was born out of true necessity. My youngest son was a very early walker and I couldn’t find any boots for him that fit properly and allowed him to move naturally. All the other boots were so heavy and bulky that he couldn’t walk, let alone run, in them. I started designing my version of the ideal boot with my husband and decided to take the plunge into the business world.
What has your experience been like, so far, as a female entrepreneur in the outdoor industry?
The outdoor industry is filled with passionate, energetic business people who are often concerned with more than just the bottom line. I am grateful that I have encountered a lot of people along the way who were willing to help me by providing introductions and advice about manufacturing and marketing our outdoor products. Prior to having children, I was a lawyer. The legal community is still very much male-dominated and less amenable to flexible working hours. Being an female entrepreneur in the outdoor industry allows me to follow my passions while raising my boys on my own terms.
Why did you decide now was the moment to apply for Pitchfest? What are you hoping you and MyMayu will gain from the Pitchfest experience?
We launched our product in the Fall of 2014. In our second year of sales we did better than break even- we made a profit. We are thrilled with the consumer response of our products and know that with some networking and retailer connections we can take MyMayu to the next level. We are also anticipate initiating a funding round in 2017. When I learned about the OIWC’s Pitchfest I knew that if I were accepted, it would be an amazing opportunity to connect with senior level executives, other female entrepreneurs, and gain some exposure in the outdoor community.
What are your goals for MyMayu in the next year or two?
Our main goals are threefold: 1) solidify and increase brand awareness of MyMayu and its innovative gear; 2) increase our points of distribution; and 3) increase sales.
And what has the mentorship side of Pitchfest been like, for you?
My mentor, Susan Pieper, has been inspiring and insightful. She has significantly more business experience than me and she is currently in the thick of getting her own start-up funded. Her advice and encouragement has been amazing.
What’s the best adventure you’ve been on recently?
Our most recent adventure abroad was to Costa Rica. We hiked in the Monte Verde Cloud Forest Reserve, visited volcanoes and a butterfly sanctuary and went on a 2 hour zip-lining tour (along with a lot of beach time surfing and boogie boarding).
What is your spirit biome?
It might sound cliche, but truly, my spirit biome is a tropical beach. The warm, humid temperatures and more relaxed vibe gets everyone outdoors all day long. I love to surf (badly) and I kiteboard (fairly well). A tropical beach with constant, sufficient wind for 4 hours in the afternoon to kiteboard and some waves for boogie boarding or surfing is paradise for me. Our family of four takes only one large backpack and a camera bag for tropical trips — less for me to keep track of!
In a sentence, what’s your perfect day outdoors?
Do I have to pick one? I can’t!!! It would be one of these: downhill skiing with my boys and husband, playing in my spirit biome (kiteboarding or surfing then a long walk down the beach to collect rocks and shells with my boys), or a day hike up a mountain with my boys and then a fire and toasted marshmallows back at the campsite before bed.