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Abi Smithson

9-year-old footwear entrepreneur

August 6, 2014
Abi Smithson has found herself operating in the adult worlds of fashion design, product manufacturing, and corporate administration. But this nine-year-old is more than up to the challenge!
Abi's company, The Love Sandal, has created a line of fun and fashionable sandals designed to leave attractive tan lines. Brilliant!
To promote her footwear line, Abi will be launching a crowdfunding campaign for The Love Sandal in the near future.
Continue reading to find out how Abi's entrepreneurial spirit and determination are leading the way for girl business leaders.
Continue reading to find out what girls' entrepreneurial spirit and determination can accomplish when they're not undermined by gender bias.
Q. There's no such thing as 'too young' when it comes to being a successful entrepreneur, but are people surprised that you own a shoe design company at 9-years-old??
A. Sometimes people can't believe that I have a company and I make shoes. People don't stop me from doing what I am doing, even though some people think I'm being pushed too hard into something that's too grown up for me. But I'm having fun and learning a lot.
Q. What are the biggest challenges you've faced getting The Love Sandal up and running?
A. It was hard to know how to create a company, especially creating prototypes, figuring out how to build the shoes, and choosing which country t make the shoes in. These things are a little hard to understand but my parents explain everything to me and help me understand it.
Q. Have you run into any gender or age bias in your efforts to form and run a company?
A. No, I feel that a lot of people support me and my idea, and I have some amazing people helping me, so being a girl hasn't made any difference.
Q. You've made a commitment that The Love Sandal will give back to society. Tell us more about that?
A. I want to make sure that something is given back to kids, especially those who don't have the same opportunities as me, so we are giving 10% of each sale back to the Sick Kids Hospital that is located in the area where each sale is made. That way I can be sure that kids around the world are taken care of.
Q. What advice can you give girls who want to start or run a company, or who have big dreams?
A. My advice to other girls is if you have an idea, do whatever it takes to make it happen. Find people around you to help you. It's a lot of work, but to have something you created on your own and make it come to life or bring it to market is a big accomplishment.
I'm also involved in coding and working with other computer programs, and I think that the tech industry needs more girls and their creativity to support a growing need. I think that girls can do anything and business is changing so more opportunities are available for us.