Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mom Incorporated Book

Mom, Incorporated
Great guide to starting your own business 
and finding your true passion

Mom, Incorporated is a holistic, realistic guide to starting and growing a business with a baby or small children in your midst, written by popular social media personalities, Danielle Smith and Aliza Sherman, and featuring stories and advice about home-based businesses and the work/life juggle from 88 women across the U.S. and Canada.

I had the honor of being featured in the book and was interviewed by Smith in May after responding to a HARO request.  (Yes, HARO is awesome--time consuming, but awesome!) I was so excited to speak to her and learn about Mom, Incorporated.  After a short phone interview, she told me they were in final editing of the book and she wasn't quite yet sure where my story was going to fit in.

During a trip to Disneyland in June, I got an email from Smith asking for more information about Lizzie Lou Shoes.  She said her editor loved my story and wanted to dig a bit deeper.  (:-)) So, during a break from the parks, I emailed back and forth with her, providing some more insight on how I developed my business.  Still not knowing for sure what would make the final cuts and how much would be included, I was getting pretty excited about it.  

In late July I received an email: 

"My cheerleader, Lizzie"
We wanted to send you this note to say that you are quoted in our upcoming bookMom, Incorporated (Sellers Publishing, Oct 2011). 

This was pretty HUGE for me, providing some great exposure for my growing business.  On October 20, the book arrived.  I went straight to the index and found my name, Edwards 175-177.  I began reading the section out loud to my daughter Lizzie, who listened eagerly--telling her brother several times to be quiet so she could listen.  My section of the book includes my struggles, experience, and success in starting up Lizzie Lou Shoes.

I'm featured in the last chapter of the book, Chapter 8, "Our Business, Ourselves," along with 9 other women:

Page 169: For additional inspiration, we want to highlight some women who have hung the entrepreneurial shingle outside their homes, who have changed diapers while on conference calls, who have ignored the need for sleep in favor or "just a little more productivity" [and] who have invested more time than they ever thought existed....

Page 176: And don't think starting a business is  a piece of cake.  Sheena asserts very strongly, "You have to love it. this is a labor of love. If I didn't walk into my closet and see 20 pairs of flip-flops I loved I would have quit, because at 10 at night, I'm tired, and sometimes you have to keep going. If you don't love it, you won't keep going."  Passion is more than a huge part of most women's success.

My favorite part of my story in the book is the last paragraph on page 177: And that happiness translates into a two-fold success for Sheena: "First, owning my own business, designing and wearing my own shoe line, and sharing them with family and friends."   But even more than that is the benefit to her family.  "I'm able to do all of this and still be home with my three kids, Emily, eleven, Lizzie, eight, and Vince, four."

This book is the perfect guide for any mom looking to start a business.  Included throughout are worksheets and simple charts you can follow, lots of information on structuring your business, legal assistance, financing, marketing, budgeting and creating balance and boundaries.

Also, included is advice from 88 women like me who have also started their own businesses.  I love that many of these women I have spoken to, follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Blogger. So many women to inspire anyone to follow their own dreams of being a mom and business woman!

Thanks again to Danielle Smith and Aliza Sherman who have made me a very happy customer, follower, and friend.

The book can be purchased on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Recovering From Business Mistakes

Mom Incorporated: A Guide to Business + BabyA book by Danielle Smith and Aliza Sherman, an online resource for moms!

This guest post is written by Sheena G. Edwards, founder of Lizzie Lou Shoes and one of the women featured in Mom Incorporated: A Guide to Business + Baby.
Through hard work and perseverance, Sheena has made Lizzie Lou Shoes a successful company. But it hasn’t been easy. As she says in the book, “This is a labor of love. If I didn’t walk into my closet and see 20 pairs of flip-flops I loved, I would have quit. Because at 10 at night, I’m tired and sometimes you have to keep going. If you don’t love it, you won’t keep going.
Here’s what Sheena has to say about mistakes she made early-on, and how she managed to overcome them.
By Sheena G. Edwards
I started my imported flip-flop business, Lizzie Lou Shoes, in the summer of 2008 with not much more than a dream and a great contact.
Six months of designing, sampling, re-designing, working to find the right manufacturer, identifying potential retail dealers, and learning the ins and outs of customs law led to the arrival of the first prototypes.  They looked great — everything about them was beautiful.   I couldn’t believe my idea was now real.  I told my agent and co-designer in India to go forward and start manufacturing a huge first order of shoes.
The shipment arrived on April 20, 2009, each pair in its own shoe box ready to sell.  There was so much excitement as my family and I looked at the huge pallet of boxes stacked in the garage. But it gave way to disappointment as we opened the boxes one by one.  We found many problems and realized the shoes hadn’t been 100 percent quality checked in India prior to shipping.
There were shoes with crystals not attached properly, sometimes two left feet to a box, mixed sizes and many other problems that were going to be time-consuming to work out.  Worse, I didn’t have the capital to simply order an entirely new shipment.
After some serious crying, I figured out a new plan.  I just accepted that we wouldn’t be able to make initial sales projections, and decided to invest the time to make sellable as many pairs as possible to keep my losses down.  I told my agent in India that initial sales numbers would be small and that the business would be stalled until we could re-evaluate the product.
But I wasn’t ready to abandon my line of flip-flops and give up on my vision.  After regaining focus and setting new priorities, we started to move forward again.  We designed a second line of shoes, aiming for release in the spring of 2010.
Not wanting a repeat of the first go-round, we were overly cautious; we decided to insist on several smaller batches of samples before actual production began.  We also decided to produce a smaller number of shoes from a new manufacturer. That allowed for 100 percent quality control prior to shipping.  That way I regained control of production, spent less on shipping and importing, and avoided the time and hassle of fixing factory mistakes.
That first shipment was a great learning experience for me, albeit a very costly one that came with lots of stress, frustration and financial setback.  Why did I start big and then have to scale down?  Why didn’t I start small and make sure everything was perfect, and then leap forward?   This is a common error among young or new entrepreneurs:  We get excited and then jump straight into it.
After that first error, we changed the production and quality-control processes. Along the way, we found a new shipping method that further ensured the shoes would be sellable on arrival.
In the spring of 2011, we imported 400 new shoes, including a new line of flat flip-flops and several beautiful new styles of our heeled shoes.  We have learned how to ensure quality, maintain focus on production and create fabulous new styles.  Our new production process creates the perfect flip-flop.
If business mistakes are unavoidable, overcoming them can make you a better designer, producer, sales person and entrepreneur.  My advice is to start small:  Ensure your product is ready to hit the market by doing extensive research and testing.  It’s too easy to go forward and not be fully prepared.
So move slowly and cautiously when designing and manufacturing a product.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Post Release: Mom Entrepreneurs Enjoy Evening of Fundraising for Stop Child Trafficking Now

Desi's Random Thoughts

New York, NY (June 30, 2011)—Six mom entrepreneurs journeyed to New York City Tuesday, June 28 for the “1st Annual MOMpreneurs Against Human Trafficking” Benefit for Stop Child Trafficking Now held at Pranna NY 79 Madison Avenue from 6:00PM-9:00PM.  The event held importance to mom entrepreneurs to take control of their lives, inspire each other, provide emotional support and to bring attention to child trafficking.
100% of the proceeds from the benefit went to Stop Child Trafficking Now, a non-profit organization that exists to stop child trafficking by targeting the source of child trafficking: predators that drive the sex industry everywhere in the world, including in local communities.
The evening kicked off with product viewing from featured mom entrepreneurs Sheena Edwards, Founder/Designer of Lizzie Lou Shoes;Leslie Haywood, Founder/Inventor of Grill Charms by Charmed Life Products; Ros Guerrero, Founder/Inventor of Ficklets; Marianne Impal, Founder/Inventor of RaeCole Products; Amy Sapirstien, Founder/Designer of MommyMitten; and Roberta Wagner, Founder/Designer/Inventor of Carry Her Doll Packs.
A short presentation was conducted by SCT NOW’s premiere volunteer and well-known political blogger, Elisha Krauss who spoke about the statistics of child trafficking. A global epidemic classified as the second largest criminal industry affecting the lives of 1.2 million children. Mom entrepreneurs spoke about their involvement with child trafficking and their efforts to raise awareness in their communities upon returning to their hometowns.
Other surprises included a speech by Lucinda Cross, author and founder of Corporate Mom Dropouts; brief introduction of Patricia Cobe and Ellen H. Parlapiano, founders of MomPreneursOnline.comand creators of the term “Mompreneur”; and live music provided byTamika “DJ FlyyMommy” Haywood, a DJ, dancer and fashion designer from Brooklyn, New York.
The event was sponsored by Mad Chic Boutique,  The Work at Home WomanHybrid Mom Bazaar, Lusso BagsMarket Mommy,Entreprenette and OS Fashion. In-kind sponsors include Honest Tea,Weinman Products LLcHer Journey MagazineExcel Rainman, Pingoand Free Pharmacy Discount.
To interview featured mom entrepreneurs, SCT NOW, DJ FlyyMommy or Lucinda Cross, contact Desiree
The “2nd Annual Mom Entrepreneurs Against Human Trafficking” Benefit for SCT Now will be held in Los Angeles in the summer of 2012. View the video for MomPreneurs Against Human Trafficking Fundraiser created by Carmelo B.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Soles4Souls helping change lives a pair of shoes at a time

Living June 16th
SAN ANTONIO - Soles4Souls, a charity that began not long after the Asian Tsunami, has provided over 14 million shoes to people in need. It is estimated that 1 out of every 4 people in the world are not able to afford shoes.

Soles4Souls has a simple mission: to take some of the wealth piled up in American closets, and give them to people in desperate situations.

A local business here in San Antonio, Lizzie Lou Shoes, has teamed up with Soles4Souls to help encourage us to get rid of gently used shoes. Beginning June 16, they will have a shoe drive that will last until the end of July. This is the perfect opportunity to give up those shoes in the back of your closet for a good cause. Click here to watch.

After cleaning out my closet this week, I donated a bag of my unwanted shoes and traded them into Lizzie Lou Shoes for a great deal. 2 pairs of shoes got me a 20% discount off any pair at Janie Christine's! I got to browse through beautiful hand stitched flip-flops, that are made with top quality crystals and real leather. The shoes are so affordable, it's impossible to leave without more than one pair.

For every pair of Lizzie Lou Shoes sold, Soles4Souls will donate a pair to someone in need. Customers who donate 2 pairs of gently used shoes or donate $2 will recieve a coupon for 20% off any pair at Janie Christine's, good through 7/31!

Watch Clip From Show

Janie Christine's Gift Boutique
19141 Stone Oak Pkwy #109
San Antonio, TX 78258

Monday, June 20, 2011

Soles4Souls Press Release

The fashion flip flop company to provide a pair of shoes for every pair sold
Nashville, TN and San Antonio, TX– June 1, 2010 – Soles4Souls, the international shoe charity,  announced Wednesday that for every pair of fashion flip flops sold by Lizzie Lou the charity will be able to distribute a pair of shoes to someone in need.  Lizzie Lou launched the program in coordination with Soles4Souls’ 11 in 11 campaign, with a goal of distributing 11 million pairs of shoes in 2011.  Soles4Souls has donated more than 14 million pairs of shoes worldwide, and most recently provided shoes to the victims of the tornadoes in Missouri and the Southeast.

Lizzie Lou Shoes is committed to helping the global community with the overwhelming need for footwear.  Currently, more than 300 million children worldwide do not own a single pair of shoes.  Considering most foreign countries require a pair of shoes for a child to attend school, their donation can mean the difference between a proper education and none at all. 

“We are excited about our partnership with Lizzie Lou and their help with our 11 in 11 program,” said Wayne Elsey, Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls. “The simple gift of shoes can truly change someone’s life, and brands like Lizzie Lou are making a huge impact on the international community with their long-term commitments to make a difference.”

“I love designing flip flops and making a high quality product, and it’s rewarding to give to such a worthy cause,” says Sheena Edwards, Lizzie Lou Shoes.  The partnership will be kicked off with a shoe drive also sponsored by a local boutique in San Antonio, Janie Christine’s.   “I am so excited and proud to be working with Soles4Souls and be able to give one for one.  It just doesn’t get more rewarding than that.”

For more information about Soles4Souls and the partnership, visit 

For more information about Lizzie Lou Shoes visit 

About Soles4Souls®, Clothes4Souls®, and Hope4Souls™
Soles4Souls collects new shoes to give relief to the victims of abject suffering and collects used shoes to support micro-enterprise efforts to eradicate poverty.  Soles4Souls’ other two divisions, Clothes4Souls and Hope4Souls, provide the same relief and support through clothing and other necessities. Donating parties are eligible for tax advantages.  Visit <>, <>, or <> for more information.  

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lizzie Lou Shoes on People Stylewatch

What a fun day to wake up to a Google Alert that says:

DEAL OF THE DAY 20% Off of Lizzie Lou Shoes – Style News ...
Boring flip-flops, begone! Texas designer Sheena Edwards was ready for comfortable shoes that were as cute as the rest of her wardrobe -- and so Lizzie Lou ...

I'm a big fan of People and People StyleWatch so it's really an honor to be featured on their website.  I hope this appearance brings in new customers and stores around the US who hadn't heard of Lizzie Lou Shoes until now.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Reposting: Casual Wine, Serious Goal

Posted by Michael Franz on May 23, 2011 at 9:05 AM

Casual Wine, Serious Goal

I’ll admit that shoes and wine don’t generally come to mind as typical made-for-each-other partners.  The best-known historical example of the two things working together has to do with drinking Champagne from a lady’s slipper.  Sweet, but does anyone do that kind of stuff these days? I recently learned about a more contemporary merger between shoes and wine, which struck me as a story worth passing along.
Soles4Souls is an international charity dedicated to providing free footwear to people in need.  It was founded in 2004 by a man named Wayne Elsey, who was at that time an executive in the footwear industry.
“I was home in Nashville Tennessee one day, lying on my couch watching the TV coverage of the tsunami disaster in Indonesia,” Elsey told me over lunch in Manhattan last week.  “Suddenly there was a picture of a single child’s shoe washed up on the beach.  When I saw that something just snapped in me.  I knew I had to do something.”
What Elsey did was to start calling friends and colleagues in the footwear industry asking them to help him raise donations of shoes to send to the devastated country.  Then, when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans Elsey went into action again, but he knew this time that it wouldn’t be a one-shot effort: From now on he was going to devote his life to getting shoes to the millions of people across the globe who cannot afford them. 
There are more than 300 million children in the world who are shoeless, Elsey explained, adding that the risk of going barefoot includes the obvious problem of infections brought on by external injury, but also the risk of infection by hookworm and other parasites.
He told me that Soles4Souls distributes one pair of shoes somewhere in the world every 7 seconds. He also mentioned that flip-flops are the most purchased style of shoe globally--and this is where the wine connection comes in.
Flipflop is the latest label launched by Underdog Wine Merchants, whose portfolio also includes Cupcake Vineyards and Big House. In early 2011 flipflop entered into a partnership with Soles4Souls, with the goal of donating one pair of flip-flop sandals for every bottle of wine purchased.
Flipflop winemaker David Georges (whose resume includes a stint at Davis Bynum winery) told me that his goal at flipflop is to make wines that “maintain good varietal character, are expressive and well balanced, and are affordable to people at all economic levels.  I want these to be wines that reflect today’s casual lifestyle.”  
After tasting each of the wines I would say that Georges had pretty much achieved his goal. I particularly like the appely/lemony Chardonnay, with its discreet wisp of creamy oak, and the Pinot Grigio, which is relatively fruity and fleshy (and, incidentally, is delicious with grilled seafood).
The Merlot is plummy and soft, with enough character to remain interesting through an entire meal, the Cabernet has varietally authentic hints of dark fruit and spice, and the Pinot Noir has more genuine personality than most run-of-the-mill inexpensive California Pinots. Approximately $7 a bottle, with screwcap closures and bright-colored labels, these are casual wines to have fun with at casual events, and you might like them even more knowing that each bottle you purchase helps put shoes on needy feet.
And if you really want to put your own best (flip-flop clad) foot forward, Elsey suggests you take a look at all the shoes cluttering up your closet.  Ship the ones you don’t wear (no matter how beat-up they might be) to Soles4Souls, which also runs a global micro-enterprise program designed to provide people in developing nations with the resources to start and maintain their own business reconditioning and selling old shoes.
“All those old shoes in your closet could help a mother of five in Haiti support her family,” says Elsey.  I’ll raise a glass of flipflop Chardonnay to that!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Our New Partnership with Soles4Souls

I am thrilled to announce that Lizzie Lou Shoes and Soles4souls will be working together to help distribute shoes to people in need.

From day one of owning my own business, I have wanted to do something to help others.  After reading about Flipflop wines and Soles4Souls I was inspired to learn more about what I could do as a small business owner.  Thankfully my love of red wine and flip flops led me to my new partnership.

Starting May 16, for every pair of Lizzie Lou Shoes purchased, Soles4Souls will distribute a pair of shoes to someone in need.  

I'm really looking forward to this partnership with Soles4Souls that will allow Lizzie Lou Shoes help others around the world.

Oh and by the way, the Flipflop Cabernet is pretty darn good, and only $7.  I am going to be trying the rest of the reds soon, Merlot and Pinot noir, so I will post the results of those tastings, too.

About Soles4Soles

Soles4Souls collects, recycles and reuses shoes from warehouses of footwear companies and closets from individuals. It distributes usable shoes to people in need around the world (recycling comprises less than 2% of donated footwear). Since 2005, Soles4Souls has given away over 13 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes (currently distributing one pair every seven seconds). The shoes have been distributed in 125 countries, including India, Haiti, Kenya, Nepal and the United States.

By partnering with footwear companies, Soles4Souls is uniquely positioned to collect and distribute customer returns, excess inventory, and cash to support its mission.  And by partnering with caring individuals, companies, and charities around the country, Soles4Souls has the ability to hold popular footwear drives to reach needy people in the United States and around the world.

It has been that simple: changing the world one pair at a time.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Featured on Hybrid Moms Bazaar

I love this story written by Amy Impellizzeri of Hybrid Mom and wanted to share it on my blog.  She has such a wonderful way of telling my story!

If you haven't checked out Hybrid Mom Bazaar then you need to.  So many wonderful products by Moms like me.

Lizzie Lou Shoes:  A Tale of Two Continents
Like many of us, Sheena Garg Edwards loves shoes.  But it was actually her 5 year old daughter’s (Lizzie Lou’s) love of shoes and a shopping trip in 2008 that inspired Sheena to jump into the shoe business.  Sheena and Lizzie were admiring a pair of $200 crystal flip flops together, when Sheena got a great idea – why not make gorgeous shoes for much, much less?

One year of hard work and product development later, Sheena launched Lizzie Lou Shoes, a line of handmade jewelled shoes billed as “more than a flip flop” – and they certainly are!

Lizzie Lou Shoes are gorgeous black sandals with stylish platform soles and comfortable EVA insoles (an eco-friendly and durable cushiony foam material).  With real leather straps and beautifully hand-sewn embroidery and crystal embellishments, Lizzie Lou Shoes look far more expensive than their actual price tags ranging from $79 to $119.

Lizzie Lou Shoes is actually anchored by moms in TWO continents.  Founder and creator, Sheena, is based out of Texas, but production of the shoes occurs in India and is managed by Sheena’s cousin – another work-from-home mom -- Shilpi Goel, in New Delhi.  Sheena says during a family visit to India in 2008, “I talked with my cousin who had design and manufacturing experience.  She wanted to start exporting goods to the US and I wanted to start my own business. It was a perfect arrangement for two stay-at-home moms.”

And the international arrangement adds to the uniqueness of the shoes themselves.  As Sheena explains, “Shilpi and I collaborate on the designs, so this brings a good mixture of western and Indian styles.  Our hand beading and sequins are typical of what you would see on traditional Indian clothes, bags or even home goods, but never before on flip flops.”

Recently asked to participate in a reality show that is being pitched to the TV networks about women inventors (and will soon be available on YouTube), Sheena is proud of the road she has traveled to develop Lizzie Lou Shoes.  Lizzie Lou Shoes was successfully launched after Sheena had been a stay-at-home mom for NINE years, proof that motherhood really can provide a great business and entrepreneurial background!

Now, Sheena works on growing her business, filling orders, marketing and developing -- all the while running after her three young children, ages 3, 7, and 10.   Luckily, she has some beautiful and comfortable shoes to wear! 

For more about Sheena and Lizzie Lou Shoes (and to keep track of upcoming 2011 styles and products!) check out her store.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Exciting News about the new reality show

Jim DeBetta, CEO, DeBetta Enterprises

New reality show being pitched to TV networks!


Today, there are so many reality shows that are based on someone winning something and/or a show that is not really “real.” This show I was asked to participate in is something I can be proud of because it is true reality…women who go through each day of their busy lives trying to become successful inventors! Please check out the video and learn all about it…and hope we can make this a reality on TV!
Who are the Real Women Inventors of America? This video contains just a brief look at the journeys these women have endured while making their dreams of taking a product to market come true. We hope this story will be seen by a producer, network, or someone who can allow these ladies to have their stories heard by all of America!