ESSENCE Fest Success Story: 'Flat Out Of Heels' Founder & CEO Dawn Dickson 

The woman behind your favorite line of foldable flats -- and flats vending machines -- is returning to ESSENCE Fest!

Rachaell Davis Jun, 09, 2017

In addition to being the country’s largest gathering celebrating all things Black excellence in music, fashion, activism and entertainment, ESSENCE Festivall has also served as a launching pad for dozens of successful entrepreneurs.

ESSENCE Festival 2017 single-night tickets and ticket packages are on sale now! For more info and the latest news, visit our Festival page here.

Businesswoman and entrepreneur Dawn Dickson first began her journey to take over the world of fashionable footwear by bridging the gap between comfortable and cute with her line, Flat Out of Heels, in 2011. As so many women around the globe know, wearing heels for hours on end can take a serious toll on your feet–and your fun. Aiming to alleviate that problem, Dawn came up with the idea to launch the line of foldable flats and even took things a step further by developing a line of vending machines carrying the stylishly functional footwear. In 2015, she was selected as the winner of the Big Break Power Pitch at ESSENCE Festival, which awarded $25,000 to a woman-led company featuring a product that would change women’s lives.

Hear from Dawn herself about how winning the contest has taken her brand to the next level in the video above and then be sure to plan your trip to the 2017 ESSENCE Festival, happening this summer in new Orleans!

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We all define success differently, and I had to ask myself what is Success. I define success as being able to set a goal and reach that goal, and I celebrate every small victory. My name is Dawn Dickson. I am the founder and CEO of Flat Out of Heels. [INAUDIBLE] and solution vending. So I did work in Corporate America for eight brief months, before I knew it wasn't for me. And I started my first business in 2001. Flat Out of Heels is an idea that came out necessity. I was out in Miami and I was wearing heels for about 7 hours, and I felt like my feet were bleeding. And I said, I wish that there was A vending machine where I could buy some flats. This is a good idea. Women would like shoes in vending machine. Women would love a shoe they could put in their purse and carry for moments like this. You know six years later we're still here. [MUSIC] So in 2015 I was elected to a part of the Power Moves Big Break Power Page at Essence Festival and it was very exciting. There was There was hundreds of companies that applied, and it came down to four women. And the whole focus of this pitch was women lead companies and products that help women's lives. So, I did win that pitch, and that was an amazing experience to be on the stage Essence Festival and pitch in front of hundreds of women. And really, what that did, was Put my business on a more national stage, given me a lot of exposure. I've been featured in a lot of media outlets. Essence to Black Enterprise several times to Forbes, Huffington Post, there's been many. And I was able to speak at the White House, represent women entrepeneurs at the White House, which was a tremendous honor. I definitely feel like the Essence Festival stage was Where it really gave me that platform, that exposure, to get started. [MUSIC] I think it's really important for women to go and take the time to take full advantage of the sessions available during Essence Festival. Path to Power is a great opportunity to be inspired, to connect with like-minded women, to learn more about how to fulfill your goals and your dreams. You'll be able to meet me and a lot of other amazing women at Path to Power. [MUSIC]