White leather and electric blue suede with gold trims, bright red and rich black hues with embellishments, luxurious inlays and tassels...these are just some of the signature features found in LFLS shoes, a company dedicated to creating the most dapper line of men’s (and now women’s) dress shoes on the market.

Entrepreneurship, design and quality

Founded by designer and entrepreneur Eric Jones (who was a college student at the time of the company’s establishment), LFLS stands for “Like Father, Like Son” and its wears are intended to be suitable for people of all ages to enjoy.

“I envision fathers and sons being able to wear the same kind of shoe,” Eric explained via an exclusive interview. “I’m now also getting into women's shoes so mothers and daughters can wear the same style.”

Although he has not delved into children’s shoes just yet, Eric currently has six styles for men and two styles for women on the market. While all the shoes are flats at the moment, he is not closed to considering heels in the future regarding the women’s—or “Queens”—portion of his line.

Eric has always loved shoes, especially dress shoes, dating back to his childhood in Arkansas where he grew up as the child of Gloria, the First Lady of the church, and a pastor stepfather. Eric played the drums at church and was frequently on the premises. His parents made a point of dressing him nicely and Eric’s love for dapper fashion was thereby instilled. As a schoolboy, he drew pictures of shoes that were praised by his teachers.

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As he got older, he moved away from drawing but rediscovered his talents during his college years. Heavily inspired by the classic dress shoe styles which were popular in the mid-20th century, Eric put his own creative spin on the styles to bring them into the 21st century. As a college student, his mother (who was very impressed by his eye for design) helped him fund the launch of the company. Tragically, Eric suddenly lost both his parents and his grandmother within six years of each other before graduating from college in December of 2016.

Upon earning his bachelor’s degree, he lived alone and was attempting to keep the company afloat solo. At this time, he signed on with an agency in New York City. The experience was not a positive one since the company overcharged him for their services and then delivered low-quality product.

“I had to throw out about sixty pairs of shoes,” Eric explained. “The summer of 2017 was a dark time for me.”

Amazingly, something good came out of the terrible experience—after Eric parted with, (and subsequently lost all contact with) the agency, the factory in Brazil reached out to him directly and agreed to make the shoes to his specifications.

The results were very high-quality, hand-crafted footwear that lived up to Eric’s expectations. Since then, he has been working with the factory directly and is very satisfied with the results. Best of all, he selects the precise textiles, leathers, and other materials himself.

“I’m really pleased with how the shoes turned out,” Eric said. “Personally, I like the red pair the best or the white and golds—I wear them to a lot of events because they are so unusual.

I’m a walking billboard!”

Although the “Sneaker Head” culture has been on the rise for the past several years along young men, Eric is more comfortable sticking to dress shoes since that is his own personal style. Loafers, slide ons, and dress shoes are his niche and it’s a portion of the market that he is very comfortable diving into. He envisions LFLS Shoes as becoming a luxury name brand so quality is paramount. Although the shoes are snazzy and high quality, the prices are kept reasonable to make them accessible to the majority of people. Typically, his shoes range in price from $140 to $299.

All LFLS designs are very unique and eye-catching which has resulted in Eric and his brand getting a lot of media attention. He has been featured in numerous blogs and magazines and gained extra attention via his segment on a PBS documentary series called “Start Up.” Yahoo Finance has written about LFLS and he is hoping to gain a feature courtesy of “The Shade Room.”

Despite the glamorous appearance of the shoes, Eric comes from fairly humble beginnings in a neighborhood that was plagued by harsh realities. This, coupled with his strong church family upbringing, inspired him to elevate himself in a positive way...and he wants to spread a similar message to others.

“I love sharing my story because I want people to look at me and my company and realize this is how you can make a good living in a positive way,” Eric explained. “You don’t need to be doing illegal things in the streets to make money and there are other paths to success besides rapping or being a professional ball player. Life has limitless potentials and you can make something of yourself as long as you try. You have just got to be goal oriented and commitment focused.”

Family support, resilience and passion

Eric acknowledges that you can start a business with or without a college degree but it’s not an easy path. In his case, having family support was a driving force behind his success coupled with his ethnic background.

“The African-American community are trendsetters,” he stated. “We have long been involved with fashion and influence many styles that become popular in society at large. I want to continue that culture of creativity. I also want to bring back the dapper style and make that super popular. My dream is to make the dapper casual look as popular as the sneaker head and tracksuit look. Dressing up makes you feel different and gives you a lot of confidence. That’s a fantastic feeling that is worth promoting.”

So far, he’s experienced more success than he could ever imagine. Although he only got the idea to start his company in 2015, he has since sold dozens of pairs nationwide and has even attracted the attention of Celebrities—including an agent who works with comedian and game-show host Steve Harvey. Within the coming year, Eric plans to create a line of casual loafers for men and some additional flats for women to add to the roster.

Resilience and passion are key to starting your own company because there are lots of ups and downs,” Eric declared. “Money doesn’t come in right away so you have to be persistent.”

His plans for 2019 include reaching out to media, continuing to raise awareness for the brand, tentatively planning future designs, and aspiring to get into New York Fashion Week in February of 2020.

“Ultimately I want to be the next Gucci,” he explained. “I’m big on family so I want to start with shoes for men, women, and children so moms and dads and daughters and sons can enjoy the same style of shoes together. However, once I’ve achieved that goal and my company evolves, I would be open to adding jewelry, watches, clothes, handbags and—of course—many more shoe styles. The sky’s the limit, I’m just starting from the ground, or shoes, up!”

To learn more, Google “LFLS Shoes” and visit their official website, Instagram and Facebook.

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