How did a frustration transition into a business?
Trust me, I've lived through it. I turned my biggest inconvenience into a solution. Here's how:
The idea for Vaila Shoes came from the exhaustion of never being able to find my shoe size in quality high heels. I am someone who has always had a larger foot than the average woman and for years it has left me feeling left out, frustrated, and baffled. I felt left out because the most fashionable shoes rarely came in my size. Frustrated because why shouldn’t my size be catered to just as much as smaller sizes? Baffled in the way that fashion has begun to evolve into being inclusive, but has yet to address the issue it is to find fashionable and great quality heels in extended shoe sizes.
The need for quality heels for women with extended shoe sizes are at an all time high. However, the demand is not being met, because the majority of businesses are not accommodating to the need. Every woman looking for quality, luxurious heels that fit properly should be able to do so with ease.
Photo of Ahriana Edwards, Founder & CEO of Vaila wearing "Jane" Heels
The deciding factor to pursue this passion of mine came at a time where the world’s chaos was at an all time high, but my vision became clear as day. Why should myself and women alike have to struggle to find quality heels that fit comfortably? Let alone - attractive? The short answer is that we shouldn’t. After I realized that I possessed everything needed to produce a brand that catered to women with extended shoe sizes and then some, I got to work.
It was clear, I needed to create Vaila to give us aVAILAbility. I had the vision, the concept, and the reasoning behind the brand I wanted to build for us. I had the foundation and the support from hundreds of women to prove that this concept needed to exist. All I had to do then was find the funding to begin transforming from a vision to a business.
Do it scared.
After finally realizing that I never needed to change myself, I just needed to become the solution that filled in the gap - it was a game-changer for me. I’d always known I wanted to be an entrepreneur, it just took my pain to push me toward my passion to put plans in motion.
I took my passion, business knowledge, and desire to provide a solution to the problem and began pitching. Not only to receive funding to build Vaila, but to be a voice for this global problem. The very first pitch competition I participated in was the Black Ambition Prize, founded by Pharrell Williams and I won a finalist grant. Winning that pitch competition and many more where many brilliant entrepreneurs alike presented their ideas showed me that I was ready. The time for Vaila was now. That win along with many others was my first step toward building Vaila Shoes into the business and community that it is today.
Photo of Ahriana Edwards winning a Grand Prize at a Pitch Competition
Who Vaila Shoes is designed for.
Vaila Shoes is for business women and others alike who want to enjoy beautiful shoes without having to worry about the fit. Whether you are working for a Fortune 500 company or running your own business, you should be able to buy and wear fashionable heels. And not just any heels, but fashionable heels that make just as much of a statement as you do when you walk in any room.
My goal with Vaila Shoes is to build the brand into the go-to place for women with extended shoe sizes to depend on for quality heels. To cater to women who want to show up and own every room she walks in. To provide inclusivity and space for women who deserve just as much catering as anyone else. We're bringing your feminine power back through the power of shoes.
We know you’ll love Vaila Shoes!
It has been a long and rewarding road to get to this point! But, what’s most important now is that everything has come together and we’re here to cater to your every shoe needs. Get ready to show up and show out!
Founder & CEO, Vaila Shoes