Admittedly, one of the gripes we hear about our shoes are, “they are too high, I could never wear those”! Sometimes beauty is pain. How many of us have worn a fierce pump despite how it felt because its fierceness outweighed our need to be comfortable?
Well, indie shoe designer Jazmine Davis decided that style should not be sacrificed for comfort.
However, Jazmine did not arrive at this goal for her shoe line by way of an easy road. See, Jazmine grew up loving high heels and had been wearing them since high school. However, with the passing of her father, she began to slowly lose care for her appearance. She completely lost her passion for fashion and her love for shoes. Upon slowly climbing out of her depression, she thought she would just go back to wearing high heels again.
But, no so fast! She quickly realized that this was not going to be an easy walk in the park. How was she going to get back to her old self by wearing her high heels again? By creating comfortable and edgy shoes herself! Because sometimes when you want things done right, you have to do it yourself.
Jazmine took charge of her idea and begin, similarly to ShuEsq, working with the local Small Business Administration to solidify her business idea. To understand the components of shoemaking, she took a shoemaking class in NYC to make her first pump. She knew that she wanted to investigate why an external insole, such as a shoe insert you would purchase at a store, would add more discomfort. Upon learning about this technique in the making of shoes, she knew that she wanted to have the insole built within the shoe instead of it being built as an external sole, like most of what we see today. Along with working with a shoe designer to help finalize designs that she made at home, she used researched and discussion panels to find common heel concerns and made an insole off of her findings.
Next steps? She found about 20 insole companies to send her samples, took a survey of the materials, and decided upon a patented memory foam with shock absorbent reinforcement gel that takes the impact of each walk. Sounding like a scientist, right? In a world where we think everything has to be produced out of the country, next, Jazmine found someone in LA to make her insole board and then she begin to make insoles at home. She then partnered with The Shoe College and finalized her first prototype.
And even while collaborating with more homegrown companies, Jazmine admits that her biggest obstacles have been finding a manufacturer that worked with her budget. She describes spending many days and months finding the manufacturer she eventually decided to work with. It was important to Jazmine that this manufacturer understood her current business needs as a startup company that did not have the large capital and traction that larger and more established companies have. Her manufacturer believes in her company vision and in her.
But before even starting this journey, Jazmine understood that going into a new business would require a strong network of mentors, advisors, and supporters. So, she built her support group before she even had her first shoe! She credits this tribe with pushing and motivating her through the many nights she wanted to give up or felt as if she could not handle it all.
And all while building this dream, Jazmine still works and was blessed enough to stay with a college friend’s family to allow her to have affordable rent so that she could provide 2/3 of her monthly income to her business. You gotta do what you gotta do! And, Jazmine is doing it! We see you, Dreamer!
But, don’t be mistaken, we know what you’re thinking? You’re skeptical that the comfort shoe of your choice can still be fashionable. Jazmine feels you! And, that’s why she makes sure to incorporate edginess into her collection, ensuring that no style is one solid color or print. Instead, you will find styles that utilize color blocking, pattern blocking, and texture mixing.
Part of Jazmine’s inspiration comes from taking photos in a city, going to a fabric store, and finding colors, materials, and designs that have been inspired by what is captured in the photos. Sounds like indie designer Alona Zamsh who we have also featured.
And speaking of other shoe designers, Jazmine discusses her admiration for Tory Burch whose foundation she says is beyond something she respects. While Tory Burch helps women entrepreneurs gain capital, Jazmine is focused on building her brand to help women who have lost parents at a young age such as herself. Major kudos to Jazmine for letting her loss encourage her to help others.
To learn more about Jazmine and her line visit her site here.