When the “athleisure” shoe firm Muvez Footwear is featured on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank this Friday, April 3, McMichael Torres and Chanel DeJesus won’t be on screen, but they’ll be part of the pitch.
Behind the scenes, these two recent Montclair State graduates have played pivotal roles in getting Muvez (pronounced “moves”) Footwear, which specializes in a shoe that transforms from a slipper to an outdoor shoe with the help of a removable outer sole, into the spotlight.
When Muvez was just six months old, Shark Tank – where fledgling business tycoons vie for investment from a panel of business expert “sharks” – discovered the startup on social media and reached out. Still it took multiple auditions for Muvez to make it to prime time.
Although the COVID-19 outbreak wasn’t on the radar of Muvez Footwear or Shark Tank when the show was taped, the Muvez shoe has quickly become the perfect footwear for challenging times.
“At first, we thought that being able to change shoes without touching them would be a nice side benefit. Now it’s a crucial benefit of our entire product line. We’re even happier to contribute a bit of extra comfort and safety at a time when millions of us are making huge changes to our daily routines,” says founder Eric Cruz.
Muvez Footwear began when Cruz, his brother, Ryan, and their friend Kevin Zamora had the idea to create a comfortable, athletic-style shoe to wear to sports practices before putting on cleats or other active footwear. The “Muvez 3:AM” shoe consists of a knit upper with a lightweight rubber sole – like a sturdy slipper – and a durable, removable “outer sole” that snaps into place on the bottom to create a slip-on sneaker. Both parts can be worn outdoors, then the outer shell snaps off at home, for a slipper that lets you keep the dirt outside.
Chanel DeJesus agrees that the Muvez team will adapt with the times. “As soon as I met the Muvez team I knew they had the drive and determination to make it big, which is ultimately why I accepted the summer internship with them.” DeJesus, who graduated in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, interned for Muvez in 2018. Working social media, she engaged with influencers to secure brand promotion and also promoted the 2018 Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride, which Muvez sponsored.
Meanwhile McMichael Torres, who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Montclair State in 2017, joined Muvez Footwear as a freelancer just weeks after graduation but quickly took on a much larger role: “Within a few months, I was offered an opportunity to become a partner.”
As one of Muvez’s founders – along with the Cruz brothers and Zamora – Torres now works as video production manager for the fast-growing company.
Torres and DeJesus aren’t surprised by the product’s flexible appeal or success.
Says DeJesus, “I am excited to see what the Muvez team has in store for the future.”
Torres is looking forward to more success while looking back at how he got to this point: “My education at Montclair State provided me with both an ability to creatively problem-solve and apply my knowledge in graphic design that ultimately helped us earn the recognition from Shark Tank producers.”
Editor’s note: Shark Daymond John invested $200,000 in the slipper-to-sneaker company.
Story by Staff Writer Mary Barr Mann.
Photos courtesy of Walt Disney Television.