GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - After years of feeling depressed by swollen legs and enlarged feet caused by lymphedema, LaShonn Edmunds decided to do something about it. Edmunds let her irrepressible sense of fashion shape the way she handles her incurable condition.
“The good Lord gave me a vision,” Edmunds said. “I invented a comfortable and fashionable shoe that stretches out and stretches up.”
Edmunds started designing the shoe in 2018 and came up with the brand name CAIRS, an acronym for “choosing an irreplaceable shoe” and also for her family members - including daughters Charmaine and Alexia, son Isaiah, husband Randy and “Shonn,” a shortened version of her own name.
She was ready to launch the shoes iIn 2020, but supply chain issues left her without some of the necessary material to construct the shoe.
In the meantime. Edmunds has earned recognition for her prototypes from entrepreneurial groups and won a $10,000 grant from the Village Launch earlier this month. She also participated in Greer Economic Development Corporation’s bootcamp for entrepreneurs called The Platform.
“The beautiful thing about The Platform is their whole goal is to help business people who have challenges and problems,” Edmunds said.
The Platform connected Edmunds to Philippe Barreaud of Michelin’s Innovation Lab, a division of the tire company that helps people with entrepreneurial endeavors.
“We were so happy we could step in and help her with prototyping her new shoes,” Barreaud said. “The great thing about being a large corporation is that you have a pretty big network.”
Through Michelin’s network of companies that focus on high-tech materials, Edmunds found what she needed to complete her shoes. She said she is currently in the process of choosing the best option. The goal is to launch the shoes as early as June.
Edmunds said her determination and networking have paid off.
“Had I not been part of The Platform in Greer, I’d be sitting at home crying,” Edmunds said. “I had no idea that Michelin was in the shoe business!”