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    "Invention" Magazine - September 2000

 

    An An inventor has named a slipper designed to relieve foot problems after her grandmother. Victoria Laurence reports ....

Gran was inspiring

 

    When Rachel Groom was young she had no idea that the wacky slippers she designed for her sister would eventually be a boon for people with foot complaints. But one day she found her grandmother trying a pair on.

    "It was so funny to see my gran wearing this pair of big, pink, fluffy slippers," Rachel said, still obviously amused by the sight. "It looked like she was wearing candyfloss on her feet."

   

    Rachel remembers that when she was studying for her O-levels her beloved gran, Mary Parker. was suffering with her feet and could never find a pair of slippers that were comfortable. But when she tried on the ones Rachel had made she said they were the comfiest pair of slippers she had ever worn. So Rachel set about improving her invention and creating the Molly Polly Bootee.

Molly Polly - Molly Polly Boot, Original Boot

 

    The unusual design provides relief from complaints such as arterial disease, ulcerated toes, arthritis, diabetes, bunions and swelling. Rachel believes that what sets her Molly Pollys apart from rival designs is the reinforced dome toe: not only does it protect the front and top of the foot, but it gives sensitive toes the freedom to move without rubbing.

 

    Rachel knows that when she describes Molly Pollys people may think she is mad, but this 28-year-old is no nutty professor. A deep love for her gran was all that was needed to inspire her to invent the slipper. Molly Polly was Rachel's childhood name for Mary Parker.

 

    "Like most children, when I was little I made up different names for my grandparents and I just happened to call this particular gran Molly Polly," she said.

 

    Rachel talks with enthusiasm about her design and is obviously proud of her invention,

which she claims has features that make them more comfortable and more hygienic than

conventional slippers.

 

    "The back of the slipper opens to allow access without pressure on any part of the foot," Rachel explained. "A Velcro strap on the instep allows infinite adjustment for comfort and snugness. The slipper is lined throughout with fleece and all seams are exterior, to prevent

chaffing. The slipper is washable and the insole is removeable. If the foot condition dictates more frequent washing, the insole can be washed in the evening and after a night on a radiator will be ready for use the next morning."

 

    Rachel was just 20 when she started to manufacture her slippers and managed to get a well-known high-street footwear specialist to sell them. But she quickly realised that she  just as well sell the slipper herself and so set out on her own. She makes all the orders from an office in ! Kings Langley , Hertfordshire, where she lives, and says she owes a lot to the Prince's Trust, which has given her a great deal of funding.

 

    "I was studying to be a doctor but I decided, much to my parents' disagreement, that it wasn't a direction I wanted to continue pursuing," she said. "1 wanted to concentrate on my Molly Pollys."

 

    Rachel's research into diet and chiropody has enabled her to develop the slipper over the years and because of the valuable feedback she has received from customers and specialists

she is about to launch a redesigned , Molly Polly Bootee that has an even ~ wider fitting. Ultimately, Rachel would like her slippers to be made available on the NHS.

 

    "The specialists were very complimentary, there were a few teething problems but I am in the process of compensating for those now," she said. "It was scary putting hard work in the firing line. I made myself vulnerable to criticism, but with a product such as this I had to know that it did what I set out for it to do."

 

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Molly Pollys can be made to measure, even in odd-sized pairs.

 

 

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Last modified: Wednesday, 10 October 2007