Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition

As loyal blog followers, we thought it would be best if we told you ourselves…. Stikii has a new blog location with a new look and feel! The same great updates and blogs, but in a format that will better serve you, our readers. We invite you to check it out, and to visit us at this new site for all future blog posts!

Just click the image below to be redirected to our new home!

Don’t forget to check back often for the latest updates and info on all things Stikii!

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Stikii Gives Thanks

Thanksgiving, a holiday centered on tradition, is just around the corner! We have decided that the best way to “stik” with tradition this season would be to devote this week’s blog to the upcoming holiday.

Thanksgiving: A History

Every year on the fourth Thursday in November, Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. The day is focused on food, family, friends and thanks, all in honor of the early settlers and their harvest feast known to all as “The First Thanksgiving”.  However, long before the Pilgrims came to the “New World”, the area was occupied by numerous Native American tribes. The natives local to the setting of the first Thanksgiving were known as the Wampanoag people and they knew the land and its offerings extremely well, as they had survived off of it for over 12,000 years!

Wampanoag Tribe

In the early fall of 1620, the Mayflower (a small ship carrying roughly 100 English Protestants) set sail from Plymouth, England in search of a new home where travellers would be free to practice their faith, own land and be prosperous. This journey across the Atlantic Ocean lasted 66 days, after which the ship finally hit shore at what is now known as Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  The passengers departed the ship and began the work of founding the village at Plymouth Rock.

Mayflower

The Pilgrims prepared for winter the best they could in the strange new land. They gathered food, made blankets of fur and even used some Wampanoag supplies. Many of the colonists remained aboard the ship at this time, having become ill, and many did not survive. Upon moving back to shore in the spring, the remaining settlers were greeted by a Native American, Samoset, who astoundingly spoke English. Several days later the man returned with another Native American named Squanto. Squanto was a member of the Pawtuxet tribe and had been previously kidnapped by an English sea-captain and sold into slavery. After escaping to London, Squanto returned to America on an exploratory excursion.

Squanto taught the newcomers how to best use the land around them. He gave lessons in how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, and how to catch fish in the rivers. After spending much time together, Squanto helped the Pilgrims to form an alliance with the Wampanoag and they joined together to protect each other from other threatening tribes.

During the fall of 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast. The settlers invited their Native American allies, who brought along with them various foods and dishes. The meal consisted of deer, corn, shellfish, and roasted meat, far from today’s traditional Thanksgiving feast. This celebration, in which people from such different cultures can together in harmony, has come to be known as Thanksgiving.

In the 19th century, Thanksgiving as we know it today began to take shape. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared two national Thanksgivings. The first was to be celebrated in August to commemorate the Battle of Gettysburg and the other in November to give thanks for “general blessings.”

Traditions:

Turkey – no one really knows if a cooked turkey was at the table during the first Thanksgiving, but it has since become ubiquitous in relation to the holiday. Nearly 90% of Americans eat this bird during their feasts, whether roasted, baked or deep-fried! Other traditional foods include mashed or sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie!

Parades – We have all heard of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade held in New York City each Thanksgiving morning. This nationally renowned show began in 1924 and is the largest and most famous attracting some 2-3 million spectators. The parade route is approximately 2.5 miles and can include marching bands, celebrity performers, decorative floats, giant balloons in shapes of our favorite characters and the most anticipated feature….Santa Claus and his reindeer! Many towns also have their own local parades.

Football – Thanksgiving has become a football spectator’s favorite day. Due to nearly all businesses being closed for the day, everyone is available to watch the game. Some of the most anticipated match-ups are played on this holiday and the sport brings a fun sense of competition into family time. Many families have even taken to holding their own flag football games, weather provided.

Volunteering – Many generous people take the holiday as an opportunity to give to those who are less fortunate. Many people volunteer at soup kitchens and homeless shelters or participate in canned food drive. Thanksgiving is all about sharing and being thankful.

Volunteers on Thanksgiving

Travel – Many people travel from out-of-town to gather in one place. The sense of family and togetherness on Thanksgiving is unavoidable. Thanksgiving is actually the busiest travel day of the year!

The Wishbone – Many families, especially the youngsters, look forward to breaking the turkey’s wishbone after their feast. After allowing the wishbone to dry and brittle, two people each take hold of one end of the bone, make a wish, and pull. The person who ends up with the larger piece of the bone is said to have their wish granted!

Wishbone

Turkey Pardon – Each Thanksgiving, the current U.S. president will receive a gift of a live turkey. At a White House ceremony, the president will follow tradition by “pardoning” the National Thanksgiving Turkey, allowing them to live out the rest of their lives safely on a local farm.

President Obama pardons Thanksgiving turkey

Giving Thanks – Many families will go around the table/room and ask each guest to share what he or she is most thankful for. This is a great way to give thanks and share.

Stikii Thanks You!

At Stikii, we are thankful for many things. We are most thankful for all of our fans who have stuck by us throughout our design and manufacturing process. Even though the tangible product is not yet available, our followers have stuck by us and offered great support and feedback. It has been a pleasure getting to know you all and to share with you all that Stikii has to offer as a brand.

Stikii is also thankful for its great employees and all of those who have helped to develop the brand and prepare it for launch. The manufacturers, distributors, marketers, designers, consultants, etc. have all made a great impact on what is sure to be a future filled with success.  We cannot wait to see the reaction we get from the public, and it would not have been possible without you.

We are also thankful that in just a few short weeks we will be able to share with the world a new take on children’s footwear. The journey has been fun and exciting.

Thank you again for all of your support. Happy Thanksgiving!

Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook and be sure to visit our e-commerce site, www.stikii.com for more information.

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Stikii: Under Construction

With the Stikii Shoe launch date just around the corner, our guess is that you are wondering where you will be able to purchase this fabulous footwear.  The locally owned, Toledo-based footwear company has a few options currently under construction to be used for shoe sales this coming holiday season.

The first option (a very convenient one) would be for interested customers to visit our e-commerce website. The site, like the shoes themselves, is set to go live on December 1, 2011.  By accessing this website, the customer will have full access to all that Stikii has to offer, including the product. 

Stikii.com Homepage

The newly constructed site will include a Home Page, a Stikii Store, more information on the “Stikii Situation”, contact information, a shopping cart, and a “Build a Shoe” tab. The “Build a Shoe” portion of the website allows the customer (adult or child) to literally build their own shoe! We believe that this is a special opportunity for the customer to get to know the product and allow them to truly enjoy their shopping experience.

Build a Shoe Option

 Through this option, the customer would first choose the shoe color and size, the quantity, and the Stik-em’s to go along with them! The shoe on the screen will change along with the choices selected.  This also includes a tool that allows the consumer to drag and place different Stik-em’s on the shoe so that they can visually see what it is they are purchasing. When finished with building, just simply add your creation to the shopping cart. A simple AND fun way to shop!

Build a Shoe - Add Stik-em's

Another option for purchasing Stikii Shoes will be via kiosks at various malls in the United States. Here we will display the shoes and various Stik-em’s. Interested customers will be able to see the product up close, and even purchase them on the spot! This will be a great way for us to market our product and spread the word. The exact dates and locations of these kiosks are to be determined, so keep checking back to find out if they will be at a shopping center near you.

The third Stikii Shoe purchasing option will be sale through our Stikii Showroom (for a limited time only, once our nation-wide kiosks have been opened, sales will be directed there).  For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a showroom is a marketing location used to help promote the sale and awareness of a product. It is usually a large space used to display products for sale such as automobiles, furniture, appliances, clothing, or in this case, shoes.  A showroom can act as a retail store where products are available for sale in a space created by the brand, or it can be used as a space for wholesale buyers and the interested public to view the merchandise and become acquainted with the product. Please view the following photos of  showroom construction:

Stikii’s showroom will be located in Toledo, Ohio, at the street address of 5842 W. Central Avenue. For those familiar with the area, this is near the Holland-Sylvania intersection near the Computer Discount store. This location, which is currently under construction, will include a warehouse with shipping facility, 4 office spaces, a conference room and a flashy showroom with a RMU/kiosk setup to demonstrate the future mall locations to be operated across the country.  We are planning to go national with the kiosk business model at Stikii. Our whole way of business will be completely driven by the e-commerce site and the kiosks at the beginning. Eventually, our goal is the place our products on the shelves of “Big Box”/chain stores in order to increase the reach of the goods.

Stikii Showroom: 5842 W Central Ave

The color scheme of the showroom will be the “Stikii Green” with a likely glossy black floor. A glass-walled conference room will sit directly behind the showroom. The space will have Stikii shoes and Stik-ems displayed which will be available for sale for a limited time. The estimate completion date of this product is November 15th. But, remember, the showroom will not be open to the public until our launch date on December 1st. Be sure to stop by then and see all of our awesome inventory and to learn more about how Stikii shoes can become a part of your child’s life!

Don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook www.facebook.com/stikiishoes and follow us on Twitter @Stikii_Inc!

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Halloween Top Favorites!

To round out our Halloween blogging session, we thought that some lists discussing some Halloween favorites would be perfect. It is obvious, that we love to dress up in costume on this holiday. Our first list compiles what we believe will be some of the most popular Halloween costumes this year, for both adults and children! After much research, we have compiled these lists:

Top 10 Adult Costumes

1. The Royal Couple (Prince William and Kate Middleton)

2. Green Lantern

3. Angry Birds (this game is a global epidemic!)

4. iPhones/Steve Jobs/Anything Apple

5. Lady Gaga

6. Jersey Shore Characters

7. Captain America

8. Foot Loose Characters (the remake of this classic is in theaters now!)

9. Flight Attendant (thank you, Pan Am)

10. Charlie Sheen

Top 10 Children’s Costumes

1. Captain America

2. Twister

3. Monster High Characters

4. Transformer’s “Bumblebee” Costume

5. Wolverine

6. Smurfs

7. Disney Princess Characters

8. Harry Potter Characters

9. iPod

10. Any other Superhero

**There were many more that are not listed, but it’s our guess that these will be some of the most popular!**

Stikii shoes and accessories will go GREAT with costumes next year. It will be so easy to match shoe color to the color of the child’s costume. Also, Stik’em accessories can be purchased to go along with the theme of the costumer. Crown Stik-ems would go great with a princess costume, and a guitar Light-up Stik-em would be the perfect match for an iPod costume. Be sure to keep this in mind next year when preparing costumes for your little ones!

We cannot wait to pass out candy to all of these decked out trick-or-treaters this year! Speaking of trick-or-treat, what candies are the most popular to toss into goodie bags each year? We are pretty sure they do not change much over the years. Check out this list of the most classic and popular Halloween candies (in no particular order):

Popular Halloween Candy for Trick-or-Treaters

  1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  2. Snicker’s
  3. M&Ms
  4. Pop Rocks (flashback to the 70s?)
  5. Kit Kat Bars (so much candy is given out on Halloween that children don’t even have to worry about breaking of a piece to share!)
  6. Sour Patch Kids
  7. Laffy Taffy (be sure to check out the jokes on the wrappers!)
  8. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate
  9. Nerds
  10. Halloween Themed Candy (gum eyeballs, chocolate skeletons, orange and black taffy)
  11. Tootsie Rolls
  12. Candy Corn
  13. Twix
  14. Starbursts
  15. Butterfinger
  16. Candy Corn
  17. Nestlé’s Crunch
  18. Bubble Gum
  19. Blow Pops & Caramel Apple Suckers
  20. Baby Ruth’s

Did you see some of your favorites on this list? We are hoping that by 2012-13 we can get Stik-em’s on that list. These accessories would be a great for treat bags, especially for smaller Halloween parties. They are a practical and healthy alternative to the usual candy passed out!

Feel free to comment and let us know if we are missing anything on these lists and we will be happy to add your suggestions. Don’t forget to visit our Facebook Page and “Like” us www.facebook.com/stikiishoes. We hope that you enjoyed our Halloween themed blog series! Stikii wishes everyone a safe and Happy Halloween!

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Halloween Safety Tips

At Stikii, the safety of our customers and children alike is extremely important, which is why we chose to dedicate this blog to Halloween Safety Tips. Everyone knows that Halloween is meant to be a time for treats and spooky fun. No child should have to experience an actual “scary” Halloween in which they are found to be in danger or injured. Parents should ensure that all proper precautions are taken during this ghostly holiday in order to provide the child with a memorable and fun experience!

Parents can help keep children safe and prevent them from harm by following the following safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Safety Council and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Rules and Tips for Children:

  • Approach only well-lit houses and remain on the front porch. NEVER enter a house, especially without adult supervision.
  • Travel in small groups while accompanied by a responsible adult.
  • When using costume weapons, ensure that they are not dangerous. Swords and knifes should be flexible, not rigid or sharp. Toy guns should be colorful so that they are not presumed to be real, and if “loaded” should contain soft ammunition such as a Nerf ball or dart.
  • Use flashlights, stay on sidewalks, avoid crossing yards, cross streets at the corner, use crosswalks and do not cross between parked cars. Be sure the child understands the importance of “stop, look and listen”.
  • Allow children to carry a cellphone. Ensure that they are aware of how to reach parents as well as to call 911 in an emergency situation.
  • Pin a tag to the child’s costume that states their full name and phone number if the child is too young to remember them.
  • Do not allow children to eat the treats they collect until they have been inspected by an adult. Ensure that candy has not been tampered with, unwrapped or spoiled prior to eating. Local fire stations and police stations often offer free candy inspections during the Halloween holiday.
  • Consider using face paint instead of masks so as to not obstruct the child’s vision.
  • Avoid wearing long, baggy or loose costumes and oversized shoes to help prevent tripping.

                                              Tips for Parents and Adults:

  • Supervise trick-or-treating and other Halloween activities for children under the age of 12.
  • Establish a curfew for older children.
  • Be sure to leave the porch light on and clear the way for incoming trick-or-treaters.
  • Avoid handing out choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys as treats to young children.
  • Have the child eat dinner prior to trick-or-treating to help ensure that they do not over-indulge in candy after.
  • Ration treats.
  • Inspect all candy for safety.
  • Drive slowly, exit driveways and alleyways carefully.
  • Have children exit vehicles on the curb side rather than traffic side.
  • If putting on your own Haunted House production, be sure to only allow entrance to older children and to avoid using dangerous props.

                                                  Jack O’lantern Tips

  • Adult supervision at all times for children and teens.
  • Carve pumpkins on stable, flat surfaces with good lighting.
  • Have the child draw the face on the pumpkin with a permanent marker and let the parent/adult do the carving to avoid injury.
  • Place lighted pumpkins away from curtains and other flammable objects and do not leave lighted for an extended period of time
  • Paint pumpkins rather than carve them!
  • We suggest that rather than using tea candles, to use battery-operated candles that can be found in the Halloween section of local drug stores. 
  • Do not allow children to handle sharp objects and tools.
  • Keep very small children away from the carving, especially the pumpkin seeds which can be a choking hazard.

Although Halloween is a fun time of year for kids, it is no fun to get hurt, so take some time to make sure your kids have a safe, healthy, and fun Halloween.  For Halloween 2012, we suggest you invest in a pair of Stikii shoes for your child. They are extremely comfortable and will help to avoid painful blisters after many blocks of trick-or-treating. We also suggest purchasing various light-up Stik-em’s for the child to attach to their shoes prior to treat collecting.

 The lights on the Stik-em’s will keep the child visible and help to avoid injury by increasing the light near their feet. For more information on Stikii shoes and our fabulous Stik-em accessories, become a fan on Facebook, www.facebook.com/stikiishoes.  Have a happy and safe Halloween!

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Making History: Halloween

Halloween may go down in the books as one of your child’s favorite holidays of the year. Surveys show that children love the spooky holiday nearly as much as they love Christmas! At Stikii, what is important to children is important to us as well. Thus, we begin our Halloween Blog session. Over the next few weeks we will share with you some thoughts and information on this very special fall holiday.

Halloween is celebrated on the last day of October (October 31) and traditional activities include trick-or-treating, costume parties, ghost stories, haunted houses and carving jack-o-lanterns.  The holiday is celebrated in countries such as the US, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Puerto Rico, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Though the United States is known for its Halloween celebrations, the holiday actually originates from the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain. This festival celebrates the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. On this day, the ancient pagans would take stock of supplies and prepare for the treacherous winter months. The Gaels also believed that on October 31st, the window between the worlds of the living and the dead would open and the deceased could come back to life and reap havoc on the locals by creating mass illness or damaging crops.

Samhain was considered to be a magical holiday on which strange and enchanting things would occur. It has been said that offerings of food and drink were left to aid unleashed spirits, or to ward them away. Others tell tales of the Celts dressing up in peculiar costumes and roaming the neighborhoods in order to scare the spirits away.  On this day many thought they could predict the future or even communicate with the dead, and often enough, unusual behavior was observed by a normally structured and quiet civilization.

Sacred bonfires were lit in the center of town in honor of the Pagan gods and the Celts would gather (some in costumer as well) to celebrate the harvest and discuss the upcoming months. Faeries (known to us as fairies) were believed to roam the land during Samhain, dressed as beggars asking for food door to door. Those that gave food to the faeries were rewarded, while those that did not were punished by the faeries. It is from this ritual that modern day “trick or treating” originated.

In the First century A.D., as Christianity spread across the globe, the Pagan festival (Christians did not like a festival with Pagan roots) was replaced with “All Saints Day” to honor dead church saints and martyrs. However, Samhain continued to be celebrated and eventually, All Saints day was moved to November 1, and was also known as All Hallows. Since Samhain remained on October 31st it became to be known as All Hallows Eve, and now, as Halloween.  November 2nd was designated as All Souls day to hour the dead who were not saints, but now the two are celebrated as one.

Over the next several centuries, superstitions about witches and black cats were added to the folklore and legends of Halloween. Cats were thought of as evil, especially black cats, and were killed by the thousands in Medieval times, possibly contributing to the Black Plague, due to the shortage of the rat’s natural enemy, the cat. During this time, the church created the belief that evil witches existed. Jack-o-lanterns can be traced back to early Pagan Celtic peoples who would hollow out turnips, gourds, or rutabagas to hold an ember from the sacred bonfire, so they could light their home fires from the sacred bonfire. We now carve faces and other shapes into pumpkins.

Halloween was not a popular observance in early United States history, as most of the early settlers were Protestant. At the time, Halloween was considered mostly a Catholic, Episcopalian, and Pagan holiday. Colonies such as Virginia and Maryland, observed some Halloween customs. The first common events included “play parties” where neighborhoods would gather together to celebrate the harvest, dance, sing, tell stories of the dead, tell fortunes, and have pageants for children in costume.

By the mid twentieth century, Halloween turned into a secular holiday, community centered with parties city-wide, parades, and great costumes. Halloween is mostly aimed to children, but young and old enjoy this holiday, with events and parties for both children and adults.

Some modern day Halloween traditions include:

  • Trick or Treat
  • Costumes
  • Bonfires
  • Bobbing for apples
  • Jack o’lanterns
  • Ghost stories
  • Haunted houses
  • Scary movies
  • Hay rides
  • Corn mazes

Stikii recognizes Halloween as a fun time for children to dress up and be carefree. The holiday is memorable and enjoyable, just like our shoes. In the future, Stikii may even release some Halloween themed Stik-ems that would be perfect on costumed feet!  Stik-em accessories would also make for a great alternative to Hallowwen candy. When trick or treaters come knocking on your door, hand them a Stik-em and we asure you that the costumed cuties will leave with a smile on their face! For more information on Stikii shoes and Stik-em accessories, become a fan on Facebook. Visit us at www.facebook.com/stikiishoes. Our products are set to release on December 1, 2011.

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Starting a Collection for Kids

To end our blogging session on collections, we thought we should discuss the ways to go about helping a child to start his/her own collection. Children should have hobbies that occupy time that would otherwise be spent in front of the television, computer, or playing video games. Hobbies help to stimulate the brain and exercise creativity, which is very important at the young age when the brains capacity for learning is at its highest. The following outlines some tips and ideas to help your child become a Collection Connoisseur.

As children grow from infant to teenager, they can acquire a lot of “stuff” to play with that will eventually be lost or discarded, or they can choose to collect. Children who collect begin to develop life skills early on such as money management, proper care of fragile or important items, the cultivation of ideas, effective decision making, bargaining skills, and of course, they will most likely learn something educational! The parent will come to find out that this “collection phenomenon” is really well worth the time, energy, and dollars spent.

 The first step to building your child’s collection is to help them identify the type of objects that they would most enjoy collecting.  Kids can be drawn to an array of items, not just the average toy, game, comic or television show character. Think about the child’s interests, what they enjoy doing on a daily basis, the things they get excited about, and somehow turn that interest into a collection. For example, if your child really loves science, help them to start an insect collection. Or, if your child loves arts and crafts, start a sticker collection together. There is a countless amount of items to collect in the world, so just let your imagination run wild!

Once you have decided on the genre of the collection, you should engage the child and ask their opinion on where they could find the first item for their collection. Work together to acquire that very first piece, which often becomes the most important and prized possession of the entire collection. Help them to make a list of all possible items that could be a part of the collection and, slowly but surely, guide them and teach them how to find each one. 

Some individual tips to help the process include:

1. Refrain from keeping items in the box – mint condition should not be a factor

Keeping the collector’s items in the box can take away the most appealing part of the collection process for the child – playing with and handling the object. It is pretty hard for a child to get excited about a cardboard box.

2. Don’t make it a competition

Children will deal with multiple different kinds and levels of competition as they grow up, collecting should not be one of them. This process should be easy-going and enjoyable. The longer it takes to finish the collection, the more time the child will have to learn and grow. Drawing out the process can actually make the result more desirable!

3. Go “Picking”

Start taking the little ones to flea markets and antique shows when they are old enough to refrain from touching the valuables. Teach them the importance of being careful, and encourage them to look/feel items by asking for permission from the adult. Give them a budget and communicate the importance of sticking to it.

Garage sales are also a great place to look for treasures, and kids are great at them! They will be able to identify the hot items with their keen eyesight and height (they are eye level to most tables). Again, give them a budget and let them spend it on their own.

4. Lead by Example

Ask other collectors to “share” their collections and processes with the kids. Give them a tour, so to speak, mapping out the process and let them ask questions. This will impress the child and motivate them to work hard toward their own collections now that they will know what the end result could possibly look like.

5. Proper Care

It is extremely important that your young collector be aware of the proper care procedures needed to preserve their items and keep them in excellent condition. Show them what to use, how to use it, and how often the cleaning should be done. This will teach them the importance of care and perhaps even rub off on their entire bedroom! Also emphasize the importance of putting the items away and the best ways to store them.

6. Display

Ensure that the child has a place to display their collection. A bookcase, a shelf, a box, etc., are great ideas. Showcasing the items will allow the child to show them off to friends and to be proud of what they have accomplished.

7. Activities and Clubs

Try to find out if the child’s interests and collection items fall into the values of a specific club or association. Many of these organizations can be found online. Find out if they accept younger members, or join yourself and keep the child up to date. Interacting in a group setting of people with similar interests is a great way for a child to develop people skills and to share their passion. If a local organization isn’t available, create one yourself!

8. Pass it on

If you have your own collection, try to see if you can entice your child to become interested in it as well. This would be a great way to share something with the child and combine your common interests. In the future, you could pass on your own treasures to the child or build onto it together. Perhaps, someday, the child would even pass the collection on to their own children and the items would last for generations!

Starting a collection for your child is a great way to learn, share and grow. These tips can be applied to the collection of “Stik-em” accessories as well. Kids will love collecting the fun and colorful shoe details, and will learn a lot while doing so. We hope that these tips and ideas will help you and your child make the most of their Stikii experience. For more information, please visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/stikiishoes. Don’t forget to become a fan by “liking” us!

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