Mandi Dana-Panzer is the owner of the celebrity-favorite infant shoe company Sweet Shoes.
Dana-Panzer is a 1992 Tracy High alumna and now lives in Santa Cruz. She also has three children, who happen to be the source of inspiration for her sweet-soled company. Alexandra is her daughter, who is 6 years old, and her two sons are Ayden, 4, and Lucas, 2.
When the stay-at-home mom realized that it wasn’t as easy to shop for her two boys as it was to shop for her daughter, she decided to take matters into her own hands. As a result, she designed her own shoes, incorporating a dash of local surf-skate fashion.
The store sells three different handmade styles: “Sweet Janes” (Mandi’s version of Mary Janes), skate styles, and slip-on styles.
The company first launched in August 2007. Ever since her pair of skull slip-ons were seen on the feet of Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, the daughter of movie star couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, her business has skyrocketed and turned into a Hollywood trend.
“I have also been fortunate with some of the exposure that I have received,” she said. “That I did not expect.”
Dana-Panzer’s creations have attracted other celebrities, too, including Brooke Burke and Jennifer Lopez.
The 33-year-old’s company has appeared in Family Fun magazine, Baby Couture, The Mommy Insider and many others. It has also been featured in countless baby blogs.
The company sells “soft-soled baby shoes with a stylish edge” and has caught the eye of several retailers throughout the country, as well as quite a few e-tailers. Sweet Shoes has recently gone international with its first non-domestic retailer in Bremen, Germany.
“I did not really know what to expect with this business,” Dana-Panzer said. “I wanted it to be a success and have worked hard to get it here, but have still been pleasantly surprised when I see that my hard work is paying off.”