After doing my profile of the business team behind the lightweight slippers known to the world as Crocs, I managed to stumble across this brilliant accessory. Jibbitz are tiny decorative snaps that fit into the holes on top of Crocs.
Just like Jonathan Hall, Sheri Schmelzer was able to leverage an already successful market, and breathe some new life into it with a complimentary accessory. Filling a need, or more likely a want is what separates a good invention (and the entrepreneur) from a bad invention, or at least one that isn’t likely to catch on. This is where so many entrepreneurs fail… they try to create a market instead of leveraging an existing one. But I’ll let Yaro tell that story. Back to Jibbitz.
Jibbitz come in all sorts of designs from flowers to smiley faces and they make sense when you figure the available real estate (the holes) that are available on Crocs. Sheri Schmelzer started this operation selling Jibbitz from her basement. It didn’t take long before she was selling out every batch of the $2.49 accessory. Orders got to the point where Sheri could no longer handle the demand. A good problem to have, but a problem all the same. Looking for an easy fix, Sheri brought her husband Rich into the mix.
Rich was an experienced businessman and he quickly set up a deal with a company that agreed to manufacture Jibbitz in bulk. Not long after, they signed their first distribution deal with the popular mall fixture “Clare’s”, the Schmelzers had sold an estimated 750 thousand Jibbitz at $2.49 a piece.
The success didn’t go unnoticed either. The actual company that she was selling Jibbitz for (Crocs) purchased the small operation for a tidy sum of 10 million dollars. The contract also states that Sheri Schmelzer is entitled to another 10 million if Jibbitz meets initial projections set forth by the number junkies at Crocs. Not bad for a business that had been around all of 4 years.