Geoffrey Alan Gray was a physical therapist who worked with professional athletes when he started getting interested in engineering. After working on classic car rebuilds and woodworking, he designed his first pair of high-heeled shoes in his garage.
Later, he decided to use the knowledge he’d gained as a physical therapist to help people’s feet feel better. He started by creating insoles and other products that make shoes more comfortable. But when footwear companies started asking him to test their products, he realized that he could use his strengths to improve shoes.
He started Heeluxe in late 2010 with three footwear brands as clients. “Now,” he says, “Heeluxe offers test results faster than brands ever expected, with easy to understand reports and recommendations on how they can optimize their product.”
Gray has grown his business from a one-person operation to a staff of seven employees whom he calls “wonderful individuals that make a good living from their work.” He’s also increased the number of brands Heeluxe works with to more than 50. The business grows by more than 20 percent per year.
Gray sought mentoring after a falling out with a business partner made him realize that he needed to be able to run his business by himself. He worked with SCORE mentors Vic Cole, Dick Lamb and Gary Kravitz.
Cole and Lamb, who Gray has met with once a month for the past three years, gave him direction and helped him make a long-term plan for success. Kravitz joined the mentoring team when Heeluxe was working on patenting a new testing machine. Gray continues to meet with all three mentors every one or two months.
Gray says, “I am certain that I would not have a successful business if it was not for SCORE mentoring.”