Thursday, April 29, 2010

Flip-Flops, Sandals, Heels: Oh, My!

3 women who love shoes make a living designing and selling their own creations. 

Decide What Kind of Shoes You Want to MakeMany home-based shoe companies offer niche footwear. That includes Lizzie Lou Shoes of San Antonio, launched in 2009 by founder and president Sheena Edwards.
"I was a stay-at-home mom, but I was always looking for something 'extra' to do. When my cousin in India told me that she could help me produce a new product, I started thinking about different items needed on the market. Being from Texas, I wear flip-flops almost year-round. As a mother of three, I am constantly chasing a kid or running out the door, and sometimes fashion is not my priority. So the idea of creating beautiful, fun flip-flops that would be comfortable but still look great seemed the perfect fit for me."
Edwards' crystal-embellished women's flip-flops retail for $99 and up. They're known for their comfort, as well as beautiful designs. "I'm not a designer by trade, but I am continually inspired by design. Some of our shoe designs came about from admiring details on a great T-shirt or a special kind of beading," Edwards says.
Some home-based shoe companies are lucky enough to have contacts in manufacturing. Says Lizzie Lou's Edwards, "I was fortunate that my cousin, Shilpi, in India, had connections in the clothing manufacturing industry there, which helped us get a quality supplier who is willing to make small amounts of our footwear. This really keeps costs down."
Getting publicity is another way to promote your footwear, and it can be done inexpensively. "I've gotten publicity for Lizzie Lou Shoes on my own. As I grow, I will consider hiring someone to help me with this area," Edwards says. The publicity has led to local retailers carrying Lizzie Lou shoes. Edwards also sells her shoes on her website.

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