On the 'Net
Anyone interested in Pseudosocs can call Arlene Austin at 879-7345. Pseudosocs are $3 a pair for now but will cost $6 online and in stores.
Steamboat Springs Arlene Austin couldn't find a solution to her problem, so she invented one.
The bone-dry air of Steamboat Springs was sucking the moisture from her heels, leaving them cracked and dry. The creams, pedicures and other treatments she tried weren't helping.
About a year ago, a fed-up Austin cut the toe off of an old golf sock and put it on over moisturizer on her foot. The Pseudosoc concept was born.
"I tried all these crazy products in catalogs, and they looked like they'd been designed by committee, with all these straps and Velcro," Austin said. "They didn't work."
Austin, who lives in Steamboat in summer and Arizona in winter, pursued the idea. She figured out who made her golf sock - an Italian company - so she could use similar materials. She got help from SCORE, which helps small businesses, in Arizona. Austin had a tough time finding a manufacturer but finally got a deal with one in Shanghai, China.
After some communication and shipping issues, the Pseudosoc is in stock.
Austin is selling the product with her daughter, Christina Stinchcomb, who lives in Boulder. The nylon and spandex half-sock starts at the ankle with an elastic band and ends with another elastic band at mid-foot, leaving the toes free.
People can wear it with sandals, shoes or flip-flops, Austin said. She said she has gotten a positive response from a podiatrist, and the product is selling in some pedicure salons in California. Chris' Hair Styling on Yampa Street carries them, and Austin hopes to sell Pseudosocs in drugstores, other salons and possibly sporting goods stores.
"In dry climates, if you go barefoot, this is going to happen," Austin said of the foot affliction. "They get dry. The cracks get really deep; they bleed."
Even with a Pseudosoc, people with dry heels need to clip off the dead skin first and then moisturize regularly, Austin said.
"The sock is not a miracle," she said. "You still have to use cream. You still have to take care of your feet. : I haven't had a problem since."
Christine Pearson, who runs Chris's Hair Styling, said the Pseudosoc was a good idea.
"When I did a pedicure, I'd cut the toes out and put cream on my feet and put the socks on so I didn't ruin my pedicure," Pearson said. "This works great."
Austin has socks in two sizes - men's and women's. She hopes to offer four sizes, including one for children. They come in five color combinations and will cost $6 a pair, though Austin is selling them at half price for now. The Web store at pseudosoc.com isn't running yet, so Austin said anyone who wanted Pseudosocs can call her.
The business is based with Stinchcomb in Boulder. Austin said she wanted to build something her daughter could step into.
"So far, we're just selling to individuals - a dozen here, a half-dozen there," Austin said.
This is Austin's first business venture, though Stinchcomb has run a cookie delivery business and a CD store with her husband. Organizing overseas manufacturing was the toughest part, Austin said, though she expects advertising to be a challenge.
"If we wanted to push it, we'd have to spend a considerable amount of money," she said. "We're going to see how it goes with the online shop when it gets set up. : We're just plugging away."
Austin is confident that she's got something here.
"I really think that one of these days, people are going to be wearing these things," she said. "It's going to happen."