Hailey Tucker vies for grand prize in Shark Tank-style competition


by: Brenda Duong

Lambert & Co.

Local student Hailey Tucker of Flagler Palm Coast High School recently participated in the annual nonprofit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship Southeast Youth Entrepreneurship Finals. During the competition, she pitched her business idea, Custom F.C., a shoe business guaranteeing the perfect fit, function and performance through custom designed cleats.

Tucker competed against seven other students from the Southeast and placed as runner-up in the regional competition. She will be representing Flagler Palm Coast High School in the NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in October.

“I was inspired to start my business Custom F.C. after having difficulties finding a pair of soccer cleats that fit right, had the colors I wanted, and the style that I wanted,” said Tucker, a 16-year-old high school sophomore. “I can’t fit into many women’s soccer cleats, and I am always in between sizes for men’s cleats, which makes the whole process of finding soccer cleats too long. After my favorite pair of soccer cleats became discontinued because it was an older style, and my new pair of cleats only lasted me four months—I knew that there had to be a solution. That’s when Custom F.C. was born.”

Tucker competed in front of a panel of VIP judges including:

  • Desmond Blackburn, CEO, New Teacher Center
  • Raj Mirchandani, Partner, EY Advisory Services
  • Natalia Ortega, Founder & Managing Partner, One Legacy Capital
  • Alex Rappaport, Entrepreneur, Advisor, Investor
  • Rocki Rockingham, Global Human Resources Leader

“I wanted to create a way for soccer players to be able to easily and quickly find their next pair of soccer cleats that would fit them perfectly, have the colors they wanted, and the style that they wanted,” Tucker continued. “I decided to use this business idea as a possible pitch for my entrepreneurship class.”

NFTE is a global nonprofit that activates the entrepreneurial mindset and builds startup skills in young people from under-resourced communities.