The Future of Women’s Shoes — Why we Funded Pashion Footwear

Meet the team that’s built the world’s first fully convertible high heel.

Dorm Room Fund
4 min readJul 6, 2018

DRF is excited to announce our latest investment in Pashion Footwear, who has created the world’s fully convertible high heel.

Women constantly sacrifice comfort for style and are told that beauty is pain.

With a long winding history dating back to the French Revolution, stiletto heels have stayed steady as a part of women’s fashion since the 1950’s. They are universally acknowledged as extremely uncomfortable to wear — coming with survival guides, tutorials, and comfort hacks as a common beauty blogger topic. Yet somehow, heels have become part of the professional woman’s uniform, the going out dress, and a symbol of sophistication.

So how have women generally adapted to these massively uncomfortable shoes permeating every part of their life? Hacks include: bandaids where the blisters form, flip-flops in the purse, and when really desperate, walking home barefoot, heels in hand. In Silicon Valley terms, this is called a terrible user experience.

Pashion Footwear created the world’s first fully convertible heel, allowing wearers to seamlessly pop the heel off the shoe, turning into a completely functional flat. This style and design took almost two years to research, design, and launch with the right set of design partners and manufacturers.

They’re launching with 3 different styles of heels with one for the work place, one for going out, and an all purpose single-sole heel. You can purchase now on their Kickstarter campaign as a special pre-order before their full direct-to-consumer launch.

Why DRF Invested

Haley Pavone (CEO) and her team

At Dorm Room Fund, we see a lot of direct to consumer companies, and we realize that consumer goods companies need more than Material Design compliance. 3 major companies take up more than 50% of the US market share for footwear. These are similar market dynamics to a Warby Parker or Casper, who competed against a few vertically integrated companies that had massive market shares. So the ideal consumer goods company needs to solve a real pain point in the purchase or usage experience, and they need creative marketing techniques to out-compete giant incumbents. Most key to this is being led by a fantastic founder.

So, we invested in Pashion Footwear for exactly those reasons:

  1. Desperate Market Need: Women have been hacking their way to wearing heels for decades. Every female partner and friend to our team said they were in desperate need for a product like this — and so did the 800+ women Pashion Footwear interviewed to get to the current iteration of their product.
  2. Innovative Marketing: From guerilla marketing techniques of popping off heels in the subway, to creating Facebook pre-order groups that grew to 500+ women, to more traditional Instagram campaigns, the team spent their marketing dollars in creative ways to intrigue and excite future customers. Not just sticking to good design and Facebook ad spend, they’ve been scrappy about customer acquisition, which is important for a direct to consumer company which needs to generate a deep customer love and recurring purchases.
  3. Team: Haley Pavone (CEO) has been working on solving this problem for the last two years, since she saw women in her sorority walking home from parties, shoes in hand. She has managed two teams, the first in San Luis Obispo, comprised of cross discipline students (mainly women!) who’ve worked hard since the beginning of the product and are extremely customer focused, really reflecting the spirit of DRF. The second is their advisor team in Portland, comprised of professional shoe designers and engineers. Finally, she has lined up a manufacturer who produces shoes for companies like Steve Madden and American Eagle… all before her graduation from California Polytechnic Institute a few weeks ago.

Pashion Footwear aims to become the aspirational yet affordable lifestyle brand for busy practical women everywhere. With heels that can pop off, a woman doesn’t need to choose between comfort and fashion — she can have it all. And we’re excited to back an amazing founder like Haley.

Make sure to check out their Kickstarter, where you can get a pair of their first line as an exclusive pre-sale before their official launch.

Dorm Room Fund is dedicated to supporting student founders across the country and helping them reach new heights. Working on a startup? Get in touch on twitter or here. If you’re interested in keeping up to date with DRF, signup for our newsletter here.



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