Haley Pavone, founder and CEO of Pashion Footwear, has invented a woman’s shoe that converts from heels to flats, or flats to heels, in one easy step. This is the type of invention that makes people say, “Why didn’t someone think of this before?” Or if they are a budding entrepreneur, “Why didn’t I think of it?”
Why is this a brilliant idea? Many women have to walk a fair distance while commuting, from home to the subway and then the subway to work; or even from a parking garage to the office. Many women wear walking shoes, carrying their office heels in a shoe bag. Or perhaps a woman is at a classy outdoor wedding, it’s getting late in the evening, and her feet hurt from standing around all day in heels. Even though the grass is lush and soft, she can’t quite bring herself to walk around barefoot because, after all, this is a classy wedding. But flats would be acceptable.
A similar scenario was the original spark that led Haley to invent her unique shoe. She was at a date event during her junior year at Cal Poly. Her high heel shoes were beginning to hurt badly, so she removed them to dance barefoot. Suddenly her foot was stabbed by another woman’s stiletto! Haley became a woman on a mission!
The foundation of her mission is the belief that women should not have to sacrifice comfort for fashion, or fashion for comfort. Pashion Footware was officially founded on October 4, 2016, and over the next two years Haley consulted with footwear experts, sought input and assistance from advisors at Cal Poly, applied for patents in 30 countries, arranged for manufacturing and produced the first sample shoes.
Funding was sought through the platform Crunchbase, and the original round raised $420,000. Additional rounds were conducted in February of 2019 and February of 2020, which raised $2,750,000 from Entrada Ventures.
The shoes are made in numerous styles and colors, and in both leather and patent leather. Heels are interchangeable among shoes of the same size, and are left and right independent, so it is not necessary to remember which foot the heel originally came from. The shoes have been professionally tested and should last for up to two years of regular wear under normal conditions.
In 2020, with the rise of the Covid pandemic, Haley had to struggle through a three-month delay of her summer order due to supply chain shutdowns. The major switch to online shopping, however, ultimately increased their monthly revenue by over 300%.
Even with all the difficulty of the past year, and the difficulties in any entrepreneurial journey, Haley is positive that Pashion can continue to grow as the markets restabilize. Her experience has taught her that resilience is the key to success. Every business and every person will face challenges, expected and unexpected. Success comes from being resilient and never giving up.