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Inside the Story: Selling men's shoes becomes booming business for two BYU grads

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Inside the Story: Selling men's shoes becomes booming business for two BYU grads (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) A Utah County couple is hitting it big in the men's shoe business with no previous experience in the trade.

Kory and Mallory Stevens never thought they would be selling shoes one day with their business, Taft.

"I just wouldn't have believed it," Mallory Stevens said. "It was just so far from what we could imagine our life plan would be."

"Shoes came out of nowhere," said Kory Stevens.

The Stevens both graduated from Brigham Young University -- Kory Stevens in linguistics and Mallory Stevens in English.

But for most of Kory Stevens' life, he had been a "shoe guy."

"I was like 15, buying like two pairs on eBay a week," he said.

But, that's when he learned the hard lesson about overdraft fees.

"There was $1,200 in overdraft fees and that's how I realized how bank accounts work," he said.

After graduation from BYU, a trip to Europe inspired them to open up a no-show socks business in 2014.

Then a year later, they dropped the sock business and went exclusively with men's dress shoes.

They design and develop the shoes from scratch, made by shoemakers in Spain.

"Our socks were good, but our shoes were great," Kory said. "All of our products need to be top quality."

The first year, they did over half a million dollars in sales.

Now, they are doing over $10 million, selling thousands of shoes a month.

"At one point, the ultimate goal was $ 1,000 a day -- we would have been thrilled," Mallory Stevens said.

In fact, the shoes are selling so well, they have to expand.

Next month they plan to move into a new office space, which is about five times the space of their current office.

"We feel so fortunate and really lucky because this has ballooned into a real success," said Kory Stevens.

The Stevens admit the men's shoe business is competitive with a saturated market. But, they believe success comes from great customer service and quality.

"If someone is going to give us $200, I want that shoe to last them," Mallory Stevens said.

"You can't find our shoes anywhere else," Kory Stevens said. "Some of these bigger companies produce men's staple pieces. We produce the shoes that are going to get you a lot of attention."

And they also believe this is just the beginning of Taft.

"We have the potential to become a brand and a dynasty and a legacy in all sorts of product categories," Kory Stevens said.

Taft shoes range from $200 to $300 dollars. The name happens to be the middle name of one of their two children.

For more information about Taft, visit its website.


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