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Holiday Gift Guide: Meet Lisa Will of Stonz Wear

Lisa Will transformed her love for the great outdoors into an outdoor gear brand designed specifically for kids, inspiring them to get outside. In 2004, this mother of two started out making booties in her basement and is now running this global brand, selling in over 16 countries. With unique designs and functionality, Stonz Wear is a must have brand for anyone who loves adventure.

45760385-F0A7-45DA-99E7-D29E1A81F164What inspired you to start Stonz Wear?
I had always wanted to start and run a business, although I didn’t know that early on in my career. I had jobs in various industries such as banking and mining and finally got close to my sweet spot – trading and marketing in the Electricity and Gas industry sector.

I had my first child Lachlan at 34 years old. Entering this world of parenthood was so different than anything I had ever done. It was amazing, loving and scary all at the same time. As a parent you’re driven by protecting, teaching and not wanting to make any mistakes or miss anything for this child. For me this meant getting out in the world every day and exploring, experiencing and enjoying what the world had to offer.

I love exploring and being outside, especially at our nearby mountain Whistler but I needed the right gear to get out of the house each day with ease. In 2004, this didn’t exist in a way I thought it should…my adage has always been “It’s not about the bad weather, it’s about having the appropriate gear!”

During an outing at Whistler, with my 5-month old son Lachlan on my back, I set out on my hike but heard crying and fussing 10 minutes into the hike; his feet were freezing cold, again! Without me knowing, he had worked off his little leather shoes, leaving his feet exposed to the cold.

What I learned was better gear was needed in the market and accessible to people like me with kids under two if we wanted to get outdoors easily. Timing is everything with young kids and when an opportunity to get outdoors presents itself a parent needs to be prepared to jump on it quickly.

Recognizing the gap in the market, Stonz was born with the introduction of the Stonz Bootie in September 2004. We continued adding products I believed made spending time with kids easier and better for parents. Time is the one thing we cannot recover!

What makes Stonz Wear so unique?
What makes Stonz unique is its kid-centric designing and it’s our mandate to always be solving a problem. I don’t believe the world needs more “stuff.” Whatever Stonz decides to create it will be as a result of a need of the child and parent.

The other criteria a new Stonz product must meet is that Stonz’s solve must be better than others in the market. This can be in fit, performance, safety, design or materials. We need to be extraordinary – never average if we want to stand out and be known as the reliable, go-to baby and kids brand that delivers on its promise.

I believe every individual and every business has a zone of genius within which they could operate. The challenge is to find that strength and work within it, without getting distracted. I challenge Stonz every day to find its zone of genius and stay within it. Enough to challenge us but not so outside of our strengths that the brand becomes too diluted. It’s tempting to be all things to all people.

I’m consistently challenged to stay focused when I seem to have ideas hourly to distract me! I’ve been known to drive the rest of the team crazy. Thank goodness for their idea of setting up a shared drive where I can note and park my ideas all hours of the day for later review.

Why do kids love Stonz?
Kids love Stonz because whatever we create, it is designed specifically for kids. Often what happens is footwear and apparel begins as an adult brand and eventually is also produced in smaller sizes for baby and kids. Our products are 100% kid-centric designed, from features to fit and materials used. And most importantly Stonz is solving a child’s issue – whether it’s cold hands and feet, learning to walk in a first set of winter boots, or wanting more time in the sun without getting burnt or having to apply sunscreen. We put ourselves in the position of both the child and parent and come up with a solution. In that order. Hence our motto; Get outside – we’ve got you covered!

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