40 Under 40: Kory Stevens

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Company: Taft Clothing
Title: CEO + Founder
Age: 30
City: Provo

CAREER ANTHEM “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities

LINER NOTES Kory Stevens’ boots were made for succeeding — and that’s just what they’ll do. This shoe-preneur designs, produces and sells stylish, unique and high-quality men’s footwear at a more affordable price. (For example, a $500 pair of shoes at a big box store will cost you $250 with Taft — but it won’t cost you on quality.) Since launching in 2014, his Provo business has sold thousands upon thousands of shoes. It ranked No. 56 on the 2018 Inc. 500 and No. 4 on the 2018 Fastest-Growing Companies list of BusinessQ’s UV50. As for Stevens himself? He landed on Forbes list of 30 Under 30 and (at press time) is a finalist for this year’s Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. The shoe most definitely fits.

FAVORITE MUSIC GENRE Hip Hop

FAVORITE LYRIC “Reach for the stars, so if you fall, you land on a cloud.” — “Homecoming” by Kanye West

CAREER HIGH NOTE “Inc 500; Forbes 30 Under 30.”

CAREER LOW NOTE “Last summer. Revenue plummeted and it took a while to figure out.”

MUSIC TO YOUR EARS “Hire people who already love your brand.”

PITCHY ADVICE “Worst advice I ever got: Don’t be too polarizing.”

BEATING TO MY OWN DRUM “I design crazy shoes. I don’t make plain brown and black shoes — I do things others wouldn’t dare to do.”

MY FORTE “Being in touch with and listening to our customers.”

DREAM RECORD “Be able to teach and spend more time with my family.”

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