Madison teen entrepreneur creates custom kicks

New Haven

MADISON, Conn. (WTNH) — Kiran Pathy is taking his cues from Madison Avenue.

The 15-year-old started a company that tries to make footwear even more fashionable.

The Daniel Hand High School student uses a process called hydro-dipping to customize kicks. It was first for friends and family, like his mom, and now for profit.

“Got to put on the gloves first,” said Pathy, who demonstrated the process he uses to customize sneakers. He is the founder and CEO of Klean Kicks.

“What I got to do is create a film of paint on the top layer,” explained Pathy, who sprayed red and blue paint into a tub of water. He then dipped a pair of sneakers upside down into the water at the center of the paint swirl.

“And then the design gets imprinted on the shoe,” said Pathy, as he pulled the shoe from the water.

“What I really like about hydro-dipping, in general, is that it’s basically abstract; no two are the same,” said Pathy.

There’s a lot of prep work before the hydro-dipping, like taping up the soles of the shoes and then he has to seal in the color afterward.

“It is really labor-intensive but it’s really fun to do at the same time too,” said Pathy.

He has a couple of ways to customize kicks. He can start from scratch with sneakers he provides or he can use sneakers customers send to him and he’ll add designs they want.

“The designs all come out really cool,” said Pathy. “But I really love customizing the Air Force One because it… I just think the Nike swoosh painted looks really clean and neat.”

Pathy is hoping a certain professional athlete will dig his customized kicks and send Pathy pictures of him wearing them which could boost sales. However, he’s not ready to reveal who that athlete is.

“Not quite yet but yeah soon,” said Pathy.

He and his cousin Nik Fazio started the company together.

“I do the physical work but my dad and cousin really help on the business side,” said Pathy.

After just four months in business, he’s already turning a profit and able to use this work for an independent study at school.

“Eventually, what I would like to do is be in sports management, like be a general manager of a sports team,” said Pathy.

He’s hoping this could help kick start that career.

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