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Susie Freedman Tapper and Mara Zipursky


Rhonda J. Prepes

Winnipeg’s Susie Freedman Tapper and Mara Zipursky Invited to Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills with Their Baby Shoes

Rhonda J. Prepes

Two Winnipeg Mom's Susie Feedman Tapper and Mara Zipursky, who produce Sweet Pedtooties baby shoes have been invited to be part of a celebrity gift lounge at the Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills this month.  The celebrity gift lounge features luxury products from  only 25-30 Canadian companies. 

In March 2008, when the two decided to give up their conventional day jobs and follow their love of shoes, they never would have never imagined that  Hollywood celebrities might end up buying their Sweet Pedtooties shoes and mukluks.

Freedman tapper and Zipursky had absolutely no previous knowledge or experience in the footwear industry other than the fact that they were both self proclaimed "shoeaholics". Both were mothers of toddlers at the time and discovered that it was frustrating to find footwear for their children that fit properly. So the soft-soled baby shoe line Sweet Pedtooties was born.

Susie admits that she and Mara faced a steep learning curve starting their own footwear brand. They knew nothing about color palettes, shoe lasts, shoe drawings, material swatches, color combinations, sizing specifications, sourcing agents, safety standards, payment methods, samples, business plans, factors, prototypes, die cutters, labels, beadwork, photo shoots, websites, marketing material, etc. They received advice and assistance from government programs, business owners, entrepreneurs, designers, manufacturers, family and friends.

From conception to final product was a long grueling process of ups and downs. But Susie says, "Taking the time to understand this industry and to create a quality product may give us a slow start, but we expect it to help us win the race."

As if starting a business wasn't enough to pursue at one time, Susie also began to write a blog about the challenges of starting an infant shoe business from the ground up while dealing with motherhood issues at the same time. Susie is a natural writer. Her blogs are relevant and witty. If the shoe business doesn't work out she could easily consider a career in blogging. See

In September of 2008, Susie was asked to write a monthly article mirroring her blog for WSA Today magazine, a footwear and accessories trade publication presented by the World Shoe Association (WSA). Her first article appeared in WSA Today in January 2009 with a subscription of 26,000 US retailers. The exposure it provided for the company was phenomenal but short-lived. After six articles, a newly appointed president of the WSA decided to pull the plug on WSA Today magazine. About that decision, Susie said, "All those months of work, writing articles... so we could get some much needed exposure. All that work which was to lead up to the one article where we would eventually reveal our product with photos (which would have been in a couple of months, by the way)... all for not. Hopefully something good can still come out of this. For now, the online version of the magazine is still around so I can continue to contribute to that for as long as it stays around."

Due to difficulty securing financing, by February 2009 their overseas factory made soft-soled baby shoe line had evolved into a locally made softish-soled infant, youth, and adult boot line of Mukluks. No minimum orders, lower up-front costs and capital required, and increased control meant lower risk and a more manageable business start for Sweet Pedtooties Inc. The intention is to produce warm and comfortable, hip and sparkly, "these aren't your mama's" line of mukluk boots.

In November 2009, Sweet Pedtooties was invited to be part of a celebrity gift lounge at the Golden Globe Awards in January 2010. The "Oh Canada Premium Gift Lounge" features luxury products from 25-30 Canadian companies. It includes an opening reception at the Canadian consulate in Beverly Hills. Susie and Mara are thrilled that their company was chosen to participate.

The 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards will be held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills California on January 17, 2010. The Golden Globe Awards are presented annually by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) to recognize outstanding achievements in the entertainment industry, both domestic and foreign, and to focus wide public attention upon the best in motion pictures and television.

The Oh Canada Premium Gift Lounge will feature booths representing the Canadian retailers. It will be held in the prestigious Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel ballroom on South Santa Monica Boulevard on January 15-16, 2010. Here, Canadian entrepreneurs will pitch local luxury products to A-list celebrities and industry insiders attending the 2010 Golden Globe Awards. Susie and Mara are hoping to boost the company's profile by having some of these celebrities be seen and photographed in their mukluks.

In November 2009, Sweet Pedtooties sold their first pair of Mukluks and have orders for many more. What they are currently concentrating on though is preparing for the Golden Globe Gift Lounge. "We have to get our samples made, have our photo shoot, get our website up and running, create our marketing materials, figure out how to decorate our booth and display our product at the lounge, and the list goes on and on and on", says Susie exhaustedly.

Sweet Pedtooties makes custom, hand-made in Canada mukluks for infants, youth and adults. Sweet Pedtooties mukluks are available in short and tall; in black, grey, brown, pink, green, and turquoise blue suede and white or black leather; with fleece lining, sheepskin lining or a combination of the two; with a variety of CRYSTALLIZED Swarovski elements designs or bead free. If anyone is interested in pricing information and in purchasing a pair (or two or three) of Sweet Pedtooties modern mukluks, email [email protected]. The fully functioning e-commerce site will be up and running in a few weeks.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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