Cause HAUN, See Kai Run

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Cause HAUN, See Kai RunFounder and CEO
See Kai Run

Unable to find modern, hip, flexible shoes for her son Kai that promoted the healthy development of his feet, Cause Haun developed her own line. Initially starting See Kai Run in 2004 as a sideline business while she worked at an elementary school, the company experienced 400% growth in its first year. In 2008, Cause sold 250,000 pairs in 20 countries at $30 – $50 per pair and earned $4.5 million in revenue. See Kai Run was named #196 on the 2009 Inc. Magazine Top 500 Entrepreneurial Superstars list and the company’s shoes are worn by celebrity babies like Zahara Jolie-Pitt.

When Cause Haun’s son Kai was one year old, she couldn’t find shoes that were flexible enough for wet weather. Cause noticed that kids’ footwear went directly from a soft-soled bootie to inflexible, thick and stiff shoes with nothing in between. There was definitely a need for functional, stylish children’s shoes.

During a trip to China with her husband Gang Chen, Cause took her first entrepreneurial steps. She saw shoes that were urban, flexible and stylish, so she brought samples back to the United States to sell at consignment stores. The shops quickly sold out, and the owners wanted more. Cause headed back to China and “the stars aligned” when she, by chance, found a manufacturer willing to produce a low minimum order of 2,000 pairs of shoes. With a $10,000 investment, See Kai Run launched in November, 2004.

Cause HAUN, See Kai Run, shoesAs the business grew from a side hobby to the family’s primary income after just four months, Cause quit her part-time job as the director of a before and after school care program. She admits, “It was clear I could not do both well. I was taking calls about orders when I should have been preparing activities for the children.”

Cause knew she was off and running when eight out of ten boutiques she approached agreed to sell her shoes. Another indicator was being approached by an established sales representative from Zutano at her first trade show three months after launching who said, “I’d love to rep your shoes.” And then there was the call from Nordstrom to set up a meeting to check out See Kai Run’s line of footwear.

See Kai Run shoes are made of colorful, butter-soft leather and have unbelievably flexible soles which still manage to be supportive and protective at the same time. The shoes are also modern and hip, with new styles coming out twice a year. Additionally, See Kai Run shoes are easy to get on and off with Velcro closures that ensure a great fit. They are offered in sizes 0 – 6 months up to children’s size 9.

According to Cause, “Modern day parents have echoed what I had suspected. We crave something unique and special to reflect our children’s personality as well as our own.”

In addition to being comfortable and stylish, See Kai Run’s footwear meets the American Podiatric Medical Association’s rigorous standards for foot health and functionality and has been awarded the APMA’s prestigious Seal of Acceptance.

Since the inception of the business in late 2004, See Kai Run has donated thousands of pairs of shoes to international, national and local charities. According to Cause, over 300 million children don’t own a pair of shoes. See Kai Run’s partnership with Soles4Souls has enabled the company to help supply thousands of children around the world with desperately needed footwear.

Cause describes her company’s culture as flexible, progressive and efficient. Her vision for See Kai Run is to continue to offer shoes that are comfortable for children and please parents in a stylistic way. See Kai Run has appeared in European publications and multiple times in Fit Pregnancy, Seattle Business, Parents, Child, American Baby, People, FN, Seattle Magazine and Parenting.

What we learned from Cause: “Learn to be comfortable being the boss and be comfortable with conflict. There’s nothing negative about having a vision and making decisions. At the end of the day, you need to make the final call and be accountable.”

Worth the Money

“Hire six months ahead of when you actually need someone because you’ll always need them sooner than anticipated. Spend the money earlier rather than later and give the person time to learn to do a great job.”

So Much More

“Being an entrepreneur is far better than I ever imagined. I got to tap into a talent I never thought I had, spend time with my two young children, work with my husband every day and provide financial security for my family.”

Trust and Learn

“Never think that you don’t know enough to run a business. Trust yourself enough to put your product on the market. I knew nothing about shoes, fashion or running my own business. It means more when you learn it yourself.”

This Featured Lady was profiled by Megan L. Reese, WORDrobe™ Stylist for Her Write Image in West Grove, PA.

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