World Reimagined

How Rachele Cazarez Is Solving the Slippery Shoe Dilemma

Rachele Cazarez

Rachele Cazarez, Founder of Accents Inserts, embarked on her entrepreneurial journey driven by a comical vacation mishap, ultimately creating absorbent shoe inserts to solve the problem of slippery, sweaty, and uncomfortable footwear. 

Rachele's upbringing as a Mexican-American woman and her experience overcoming dyslexia shaped her resilience and unique perspective as an entrepreneur. Her unwavering determination and ability to find joy in the process enabled her to persist even in the face of setbacks. Looking ahead, Rachele envisions expanding Accents Inserts internationally, licensing her product, and reaching broader audiences. Rachele's commitment to growth, her ability to adapt, and her vision for the future drive her company's trajectory and impact.

We asked Rachele about the founding story of Accents Inserts, how her upbringing contributes to how she operates as an entrepreneur, and what’s next for her and her company.

Q: Tell us the story behind your company’s founding. How and why did you start working on Accents Inserts? 

A: I was enjoying a sunny vacation in Miami, strolling around in my stylish sandals. But there was a hilarious problem—I couldn't keep my sandals on. The perspiration that quickly built up in them turned my leisurely walk into a desperate attempt to catch my runaway footwear.

Then, like a bolt of lightning, it happened. The next morning, I shot up in bed with a burst of excitement. Driven by my belief that this was a genuine need, I embarked on extensive research, and lo and behold, I discovered I was onto something big. I knew there had to be a solution, so I started creating a game-changing, absorbent shoe insert that could stay securely in place with adhesive. 

Rachele Cazarez

Q: In what ways has your upbringing or past experiences contributed to how you operate as an entrepreneur? 

A: My upbringing and past experiences have profoundly shaped my approach as an entrepreneur, enabling me to navigate challenges with resilience and a unique perspective. Growing up with a single mother, I have immense admiration for her. She has offered me unwavering support and not only taught me the power of laughter, but also instilled in me kindness, which have become integral aspects of my leadership style.

Being dyslexic has been a defining factor in my journey. As a child, it rendered me shy and reading comprehension was an arduous task, leading to being held back in second grade. However, I refused to let this define me. Over time, I discovered coping mechanisms and strategies to overcome these challenges, as well as embraced the benefits propelling me toward numerous personal achievements. 

As a Mexican-American woman, I combat perceived norms within society and even some in my own family from past generations. I am hopeful I am showing my family's next generation what is possible. 

By embracing my dyslexia and leveraging my passion for learning, I have honed the ability to find creative solutions and navigate unconventional paths to success.

In my entrepreneurial journey, I've learned to view adversity as an opportunity rather than a roadblock. It has taught me that there are numerous paths to accomplish a goal, often requiring a touch of creativity and resilience. 

Q: Did you always know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

A: The path to becoming an entrepreneur was unexpected and humorous for me. In my younger years, I often proclaimed that I had no desire to run my own business. I couldn't fathom why anyone would choose that path when it seemed so much easier to work for an established company. It's amusing to look back on my passionate aversion to entrepreneurship, especially considering that I didn't personally know anyone who owned their own business at the time. My perspective was confined by the limited surroundings of my youth.

However, as I matured, I had the opportunity to meet individuals who had taken the plunge into entrepreneurship, and I found myself deeply admiring their endeavors. Still, I never truly entertained the idea of becoming an entrepreneur myself until a pivotal moment. It was when I conceived my product and successfully created a prototype that the spark ignited within me, compelling me to embark on the exhilarating journey of entrepreneurship.

Q: What were the most difficult and most impactful lessons you’ve learned starting and running a company? 

A: What works for someone else does not guarantee success for you. It was a difficult lesson to grasp as I witnessed others achieve great results and wondered why their strategies didn't yield the same outcome for my own venture. I realized that each entrepreneurial journey is unique, and while advice from others can be valuable, it must be adapted and tailored to fit your specific company and product.

Another crucial lesson I've learned is the importance of embracing creativity and continuously exploring new approaches. In a constantly evolving business landscape, it's essential to think outside the box and discover innovative ways of doing things. Throughout the creation of my product, I encountered numerous challenges that required me to experiment with different methods and adapt until I finally achieved a working prototype.

I also discovered the significance of taking breaks and temporarily setting aside my company when faced with overwhelming obstacles. There were moments when I hit multiple roadblocks, and it became disheartening, making it difficult to see any positive aspects. However, by allowing myself time off, I was able to recharge, gain fresh perspectives, tap into my creativity, and emerge stronger to lead my company forward.

Rachele Cazarez

Q: What’s one thing you wish you had known before starting Accents Inserts?

A: One of the most challenging and profound lessons I've learned throughout my journey of starting and running a company is that its success or failure does not define my worth as an individual. When you pour your heart, time, and financial resources into a venture, it's easy to become completely absorbed by it and attach your self-worth to the outcome. However, I've come to realize that true pride and fulfillment come from embracing the entire process, regardless of the ultimate outcome or the time it takes to achieve success.

Q: What are the biggest mistakes you’ve made?

A: My most significant mistake on this entrepreneurial journey was a result of my failure to thoroughly review and test the fabric before production. I had invested considerable time and money in perfecting its color and strength. Unfortunately, I discovered after the production run that the fabric did not meet my expectations. Rather than succumbing to defeat, I adapted by rebranding the product for this run as a one-day use item instead of a week-long one. This mistake taught me the importance of meticulousness and diligence in all aspects of my business. It also instilled resilience and the ability to find creative solutions in the face of adversity. I now approach every aspect of my business with increased attention to detail and a commitment to adaptability. This experience has shaped me as an entrepreneur and fuels my determination to succeed.

Q: Have you felt like giving up? What made you persist?

A: Yes, there have been moments on this entrepreneurial journey where I felt like giving up. One time in particular, it seemed like everything was going against me, from manufacturing issues and then on top of that, the pandemic. The challenges seemed insurmountable, and despite trying various creative strategies, sales wouldn't increase and my business didn't regain its initial momentum. It was an incredibly difficult period. In times of overwhelming stress, I recognized the importance of giving myself a cooldown period. Instead of desperately attempting new approaches and feeling hopeless, I decided to step back from that aspect of the business. I focused solely on selling through existing platforms and took a creative break to reassess my goals and the role I wanted my company to play in my life. During this time, I realized the need to expand my network and give it one more dedicated push, simplifying my approach and carefully managing where I directed my attention. Sales began to increase, I regained a clear sense of direction for the company, and, most importantly, I rediscovered the joy in what I was doing.

Q: We dare you to brag: What achievements are you most proud of? 

A: I take great pride in the hard work and dedication I invested in acquiring my patent. It was an intense and challenging process that required me to overcome numerous obstacles. The achievement of securing the patent stands as one of the most rewarding moments of my life, validating my perseverance and determination.

Starting and growing my own company, solely relying on my idea and personal finances, has been a remarkable journey. Each step of the way presented its own set of challenges and steep learning curves, but I navigated through them with unwavering dedication and desire to find solutions. Balancing this endeavor alongside a full-time job added an extra layer of complexity, making it all the more satisfying to witness the progress I've made.

To celebrate my successes along the way, I make it a point to share the news with my genuine supporters and the incredible community I've built. Their encouragement and belief in my vision fuel my motivation. Moreover, I take moments to reflect on the entire journey, appreciating how far I have come from the humble beginnings. It's during these reflective times that I often find myself overwhelmed with pride and emotions, realizing that I have accomplished something I never thought possible.

Q: What would you tell your younger self if you were to start your entrepreneurial journey all over again?

A: Embrace the journey, as it will be a long and fulfilling one. Every step along the way is an opportunity for growth and learning. Remember to savor the process and find joy in the challenges you face, for they will shape you into a stronger and more resilient individual.

Seek out like-minded individuals who are also on their own entrepreneurial paths. Surround yourself with a supportive tribe who understands the unique challenges you encounter and can offer encouragement and celebration of your achievements. Their presence will make the journey less lonely and provide valuable camaraderie.

Recognize that sacrifices will be necessary, but know that they are worthwhile investments in your dreams. Stay committed and persevere through the inevitable obstacles that arise. By following your passion and pursuing your dreams, you will not only achieve success but also develop a profound sense of confidence in your abilities and your self.

Rachele Cazarez

Q: What’s next for you and Accents Inserts? 

A: The future holds exciting possibilities for me and my company. I envision licensing my product to reach even broader audiences, opening doors to international expansion in regions such as the European Union and Asia. This global reach will allow me to make a significant impact and connect with diverse markets around the world. Furthermore, I have set my sights on expanding my product line to cater to the needs of men, bringing the same level of innovation and quality to their footwear experience.

With these ambitious plans in motion, I am dedicated to continuing the trajectory of growth and success for my company. By pursuing these avenues, I am confident that I can make a lasting impact and establish a strong presence both domestically and internationally.

Rachele is a member of Dreamers & Doers, an award-winning community that amplifies extraordinary women entrepreneurs and leaders by securing PR, forging authentic connections, and curating high-impact resources. Learn more about Dreamers & Doers and get involved here.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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Gesche Haas

Gesche Haas is the Founder/CEO of Dreamers & Doers, a private collective that amplifies the entrepreneurial pursuits of extraordinary women through visibility opportunities, resource exchange, and collective support.

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