Meet GES Delegate: Dawn Dickson

Organization: Flat Out of Heels; Solutions Vending

Twitter handle: @TheDawnDickson / @FlatOutofHeels

Country of Origin: United States

Brief Description of Organization:

Flat Out of Heels rollable flats are the solution to stiletto sore feet and the answer for all shoe emergencies. Our flats are compact enough to roll/fold and carry in a purse to use as needed, and our hard soles make Flat Outs durable enough for daily wear. Each pair comes with a nylon bag to tote your heels or shoes once removed. Flat Outs are sold online, in retail stores, and in vending machines in venues like airports and nightclubs to rescue the feet of women when they need it most.

What inspired you to start this organization?

I am a serial entrepreneur who has launched four cash flow positive companies since 2001. I love to identify a problem and solve it. A woman can last an average of 3 hours in heels before the pain becomes unbearable. Over 78% of women have walked barefoot due to the pain of high heels; walking, driving and commuting in heels has been proven to be dangerous. In 2011, Flat Out of Heels were created as a solution to that problem and has become a necessity for myself and all women who frequently wear high heels.

What is the next big step you hope to help your organization reach?

We are preparing to launch a Title IV crowdfunding campaign and I plan to help my organization exceed our fundraising goal. My team has a clear vision and strategy for growth, scale and exit and I am excited to lead us in this journey. We are razor focused on building a lifestyle brand to be a disruptive leader in women’s footwear and e-commerce. We believe the brand will be an attractive acquisition for an international lifestyle brand in the next 2–4 years.

What has been your biggest obstacle as an entrepreneur?

Access to capital continues to be an obstacle. As the founder of a consumer product and hardware start up it has been very challenging to convince investors of the scalability of my industries compared to apps and SAS. Although my companies are fully tech reliant investors do not feel that consumer can deliver the high returns they are seeking.

As a female entrepreneur the obstacle to raise capital escalates. Women are helping to fuel the economy by starting over 1,100 businesses a day. Despite the increase of women in entrepreneurship, women continue to be smaller and underrepresented in capital access and contracts. Women receive less than 6% of all venture capital funding and African American women, including myself, have received .02% of all funding since 2014. This has to change.

What advice would you give other emerging entrepreneurs?

Always trust yourself. Do you research and know your company and your numbers inside and out. Build a team of people who believe in and understand your vision. Bringing aboard capital from investors who can truly help you scale and meet your goals. Have fun! Never give up! Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint…the successful founders are the ones with the most endurance.

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