If Chelsea Kaplan has it her way, as the motto of her up-and-coming South Florida business suggests, she’ll “take over the world…one shoe at a time.” For now, the graduate of Florida Atlantic University is busy reviving a lost art that has customers taking a shine to her entrepreneurial efforts.
The founder of Buffettes is putting a modern spin on an old-school concept with her mobile shoe-shining service that caters to women as much as it does to men. The inspiration came several years ago at an event she was working that involved Remy Martin cognac; male models were serving the spirit while female models, including Kaplan, were shining shoes as part of the festivities. The shoe-shine concept was so well-received—as evidenced by the tips Kaplan pocketed—that the cultural communications major saw a potential money-making opportunity.
One day after graduating FAU in August 2011, Kaplan launched the Buffettes and its all-female staff.
“We offer a classy service that people aren’t used to getting,” says Kaplan, 26. “The sky is really the limit for where we can go.”
That’s because Buffettes brings its service to you. Kaplan and her team have put a shine on shoes at area trade shows, conventions, upscale restaurants, networking events, galas, private parties, cigar lounges and hotels. Boca residents have hired Buffettes—its employees dressed in their trademark all-black attire—for everything from bar mitzvahs and weddings to golf tournaments.
The service is intended not only to restore luster to leather shoes but also to increase their lifespan by protecting them against weather and everyday wear and tear.
For Kaplan, owning a business is a dream that has been in the cards—literally—since she was a child. “I started babysitting at [age] 10,” she says. “I had babysitting [business] cards made; I always wanted to make money.”
If all goes according to plan, Buffettes will be the vehicle the drives that dream. Kaplan has immediate plans to expand throughout the state, but her goal is to open Buffettes in at least 10 different states over the next five years. She currently has 10 employees, but that number is growing in Orlando.
For more information, or to hire Buffettes for an event, check out buffettesshoeshine.com or call 954/288-0554.