31 Jul Pashion Footwear
Haley Pavone knew she had a seminal idea on her hands when she was badly injured by a friend’s stiletto during an event, and wondered why heels couldn’t be converted to flats in a pinch. “I looked at one of my high heels, and put it next to a sandal, and thought, ‘There’s nothing different between these shoes other than a heel and some kind of sole support.’ I couldn’t understand why that solution didn’t exist, and thought, heck, if anyone were to create it, it may as well be me.” That was in 2016. Two years later, with several rounds of seed funding totaling $400,000 and a Cal Poly Business Entrepreneurship diploma under her belt, Pavone has now gone through enough testing, product development, and company branding to launch her own line of shoes, Pashion Footwear, housed in the SLO HotHouse. With 20 employees at her helm, this is no mere start-up: this is a total disruptive technology.
The mechanism to convert from heel to flat is indeed surprisingly simple, though of course a consumer would not know the various 3-D printed iterations, A/B tests, and input from a product innovation team from Portland that were driven into such a seamless, elegant solution: you simply grab your heel, quarter turn, and slide out the bottom mechanism. Use your body weight to flatten the shoe and voila, you have a sandal, and can now dance the night away- or take a walk for lunch in between power meetings. The women’s footwear industry is a $44 billion a year market in the United States– that includes women buying painful, uncomfortable, and potentially dangerous stilettos and high heels. Clearly, there’s a market for improvement. As such, Pavone’s invention also features insole cushioning (How simple! How brilliant!), the same polyurethane foam found in athletic shoes. It took a women’s experience and touch to upend the status quo in shoe production. Pavone said it best: “The people making high heels right now don’t experience high heels.” We’re looking at you, Manolo.
Haley is aware that added functionality and comfort can’t disrupt the look of the shoe– indeed, that’s why women spring for them. Her line features three different styles in three colors apiece to satisfy your inner Girl Boss, Pashionista, and Goddess. Says Pavone, “This allows women to have that psychological confidence of wearing heels without being trapped in their footwear all day.” In the future, Pashion may expand to include other product extensions, like heel conversion kits of varying heights, wedges, boots, and more. Shoes are priced at $150 – but remember, you’re getting two pairs.
Reserve your pair now for a 20% discount via their Kickstarter, which is live until July 31. Questions on how it works? You’ll be sold after watching their compelling videos on the website, PashionFootwear.com.
Haley Pavone, Founder, President, & CEO
872 Higuera Street (HotHouse)