Fold-up footwear

I used to worry about the limits of my footwear, but for the past month I’ve had the option of changing into shoes folded up into a bag so compact that they fit into my smallest purse.

Like many females who want to boost their sex appeal for a night out, high heels are my go-to night-out shoe.

However, as the night winds down, so does my tolerance for the pain the heels have caused.

Instead of the dreaded walk down King Street barefoot, I was able to unzip the clutch-like bag and pull out a pair of folded-up basic flats. The shoes themselves are extremely light, weighing the equivalent of a cell phone, making them hassle-free to carry.

Due to their flat bottom and light weight, they aren’t the ideal shoe, as the support they offer is minimum. Their job, however, is to function as a secondary shoe.

Three nights out I’ve brought them with me and, though they fit quite snugly, they fulfill their purpose.

Former Laurier business students Raymond Wong and Warren Lee are the brains behind the launch of Cazz shoes.

The entrepreneur duo say they came up with the idea after years of observing the strange behaviour of females.

“I would see women changing from running shoes into high heels for work and when I travelled with a female friend she was always carrying around an extra pair of shoes; it seemed unfair and strange,” Wong commented on the formation of the product idea.

“It seemed like a logical product concept that most women would find very helpful and that will solve a lot of problems down the road,” said Lee, who also added how the shoes would especially benefit students.

“Most students don’t have cars so they are forced to walk and bus everywhere, which in heels can be very daunting.”

The idea for the product wasn’t acted upon instantly. “I always dreamed of owning my own business,” Wong reflected. “Warren and I used to talk about going out there and really doing it.

“We graduated in 2007, and there were things we needed to take care of first. We had to work to pay off our student loans and earn some of our own money.”

“We also wanted a product idea we could really stand by,” Lee added. “It wasn’t until about a year ago when we sat down together and thought, let’s do this, let’s start our own business.”

The entire business is self-financed by the two, illustrating their commitment and dedication to the product.

Despite the negative economy, the two remain positive for the success of their product.

“A lot of our knowledge and inspiration came from the business program,” Wong commented on his education at Laurier.

“I was in the entrepreneur stream, a division that’s a well-kept secret. The professors would invite guest lecturers who were entrepreneurs themselves, which was great to learn about the business world. My education at Laurier was vital to getting me where I am today.”

The product officially launches this week, and for now the shoes can only be purchased online. The shoes are offered in three colours: Pearl White, Midnight Black and Mercury Silver.

Though Wong and Lee intend for the shoes only to be secondary, I found myself rushing to class one morning desperately trying to find shoes to match my outfit.

In a moment of curiosity I slid my Dr. Scholls inserts into the shoes and wore them regularly.

I received many compliments; once others found out what my shoes were capable of, the compliments increased.

Though the shoes don’t make the best daywear, they are a perfect substitute for a night out or a special occasion; they even make a worthy travel companion.

With the success surrounding the shoe prototypes, Wong and Lee look to the future.

“We really want to be a household name,” they commented.

“We hope to get distributors so that the product can be available nationwide.”

The pair is extremely pleased with their accomplishments thus far, encouraging anyone with a dream of starting a business to go for it.

“People are held back by fear and uncertainty,” Lee remarked. “You just can’t lose sight of your goal regardless of debts you have or other obligations, there will always be something in your way you just have to deal with it head on and find a way to accomplish your goals.”

Cazz shoes are available online at cazz.ca for $17.49.

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