A Flat Out Style Solution to Your Stiletto Woes
After nearly 14 years of a lucrative career in marketing and special events for athletes, celebrities, and the like, Dawn Dickson was completely “over it”—she was burned out and ready for a change. Convinced that the life she lived wasn’t conducive for raising a young daughter, she made a major career move that proved to yield a business and product that alleviates the supposed pain required for beauty. Flat Out of Heels was born and is making major waves in the fashion industry.
“My daughter at the time was in kindergarten,” Dickson said. “It was difficult for me to do travel and work events late at night, then get up in the morning and prepare my child for school. I just didn’t think I was being an effective parent the way I wanted to be, so I had to make a decision: my career or my daughter. It was an obvious and easy choice.”
The interesting caveat about Dickson’s story is that she was an immensely successful and highly sought after consultant. It’s one thing to try something different when things aren’t working out or the skill level isn’t up to par to perform the job, but neither was the case for Dickson. It seemed like total nonsense for many of her industry peers, not to mention the numerous clients who knew her abilities and continued to entice and lure her with dream contracts and fringe benefits.
Undeterred to stick with her decision, but unsure of her next step, Dickson turned to the one thing she was certain of—prayer. After asking God for divine direction, she knew an answer would come. “I was out one night working an event, and of course I was in heels, and my feet were killing me,” she said. “I thought, ‘There has to be something else for women to do other than wearing flip flops.’ I had a small clutch purse. I was in a nice restaurant. I couldn’t walk barefoot. It just came to me. [My] thought was to be able to get shoes out of a vending machine.”
In that instant, Flat Out of Heels was born. Now everyone from the everyday woman to professionals and celebrities is touting Dickson’s product for its ingenuity and fashion-forward design.
Flat Outs, as the signature shoe is known, are foldable, roll-able, machine-washable, and the closest thing to the comfort of bare feet. Although the original idea was for emergency footwear, Flat Outs have evolved and grown into a comfy shoe that women desire to wear every day. The massive and quick growth the company and product has experienced (the company has only existed for four years) undoubtedly shocked the fashion world—but none more so than Dickson herself.
“I didn’t know how big it would be at first,” she said. “I just decided I was going to have some vending machines with shoes that I bought from somebody and put them in there. I didn’t initially think I would be manufacturing my own things, like machines and shoes.”
But that’s exactly what she’s doing. Vending machines are now located in five strategic areas across the country, including one in Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport, as well as several pop-up and boutique stores. Dickson was thrust headlong into an industry she had virtually no knowledge of. The learning curve was steep, but strength and determination have always been the backbone for anything she does. She simply goes for what she wants and expects to succeed. Even though failure has been part of the process, she has never succumbed to it or the fear of not achieving her goals.
Her fearlessness and a small LinkedIn message were all it took to garner her latest and biggest partnership with popular and highly successful Internet and fashion entrepreneur, Loren Ridinger. Following a year’s worth of correspondence and planning, Flat Out of Heels introduced the Loren Ridinger exclusive collection in early February 2015.
Flat Outs range in affordability from $19.99 to $39.99 for exclusive collections. Dickson says they will always be an affordable accessory and complement for the lady in heels. However, it won’t be long before Flat Out of Heels expands its reach and product line. She says she envisions a line for kids and various climates, so there’s no telling what amount of ingenuity and invention the world is in store for. If it’s anything remotely as wonderful as the original Flat Out, the fashion industry will again be turned on its heels moving forward—most likely to keep up with Dickson and Flat Out of Heels.