What started as an observation turned into a revolution. While working towards his degree in Industrial Design at NJIT, Muvez CDO Ryan Cruz was tasked with re-inventing a consumer product. Having grown up creating alongside his brother, naturally, Muvez CEO Eric Cruz soon joined Ryan to tackle the assignment.
The idea came to the duo when they noticed the wear and tear on their fathers slippers, a mechanic who was redefining how many hours could be worked in a day. Thus, they picked up supplies from their local craft store and began molding and shaping the first adaptation of their dual-sole footwear. Upon presenting their innovative concept to NJIT students and faculty, they were told
“ there isn’t a market for this product. ”
After receiving a devastating review, years passed until they eventually rejoined forces, igniting an inextinguishable flame that would send them out to shake up the footwear industry.
Sustaining their vision, they sought a mentor – a broker – by the name Lou Carrega, who would quickly adopt the title “Uncle Lou.” He became a pivotal character in their success, introducing them to manufacturers in China,
“ His involvement made all the difference ”
Now for the real trouble: bringing this new, innovative shoe to market; it was time for the team to tap into their immediate network.
Eric linked with a fraternity brother, when he showcased the shoe and pitched the brand. By the end of the show, Eric had in his hands the check that would grant him and Ryan their first batch of Muvez, which came with the opportunity to prove that there is a market for their product.
The team strategically began hosting pop-up shops at heavily trafficked locations, partnering with influencers, and buying out space in shoe stores. All of this just to break even. With product sitting in their inventory, the heat was on and the two had to get scrappy.
Eric reflects on this moment, saying, “You’re working and surviving, relying really on instinct and impulse. You try to mitigate risk, but you don’t know for certain whether it’s going to work or not.”
After much deliberation and doubt, Eric and Ryan woke up to an email in their inbox, inviting them to participate on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank, confirming in them that they’re onto something revolutionary.
The team had the opportunity to pitch their idea not only to the Sharks, but the entire nation! Millions of viewers raced to the website and the rest has been history in the making. Striving to make every year better than the last one and every connection as strong as the others.
The brothers have been working towards a more sustainable future for the company while participating in donations throughout the tri-state area. The recent Pandemic has presented more obstacles but it challenges us to solve problems in more efficient ways, says Ryan.
In spite of everything, the team remains optimistic. Signing off with advice to fellow entrepreneurs on a similar path,