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After Losing Both Parents In College, This 23-Year-Old Launched A Luxury Shoe Business That’s Inspiring Thousands

After Losing Both Parents In College, This 23-Year-Old Launched A Luxury Shoe Business That’s Inspiring Thousands

 Photo credit: Jenn Terrell Photography

In December 2015, Eric Jones came up with the idea to launch his luxury shoe business LFLS Shoes while still a student at the University of Arkansas.

His concept for the company was inspired by his humble upbringing in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas where he saw his mother struggle to make ends meet at home. Having spent a lot of time in church as a kid, Jones says that dressing up was always part of his lifestyle and he viewed fashion as a vehicle for expressing himself beyond his circumstances. 

“My mom used to always say, ‘Don’t look like what you’re going through or been through,’" he tells Because of Them We Can.

He credits his modest beginnings and the strict discipline of his parents with helping to shape him into the entrepreneur that he is today. In 2015, when he pulled out an LLC for his business, he says his mother offered her support right away and helped him to get it off the ground. A few weeks before graduating college in December 2016, Jones' mother passed away and he was forced to figure things out on his own. Three years before that, in 2013, Jones says he also lost his father.

"Most of the stuff I've been through inspires a lot of people,” he says. “So it’s about the shoes, but it’s also about my story and being transparent about my journey as an African American male." 

After taking a hiatus to deal with the pain of loss in his personal life, Jones refocused his energy on his business and officially started selling shoes nation-wide via his website in 2017. His company, which stands for Like Father Like Son, offers luxury shoes for both men and women that are designed in the United States and handcrafted in Brazil.

LFLS Shoes and the inspiring story behind the brand has captured the attention of more than 30,000 followers on Instagram with several college athletes rocking the luxury shoes on media day.

"People think I have a big team, but I do everything from design to deliver from my apartment,” says Jones.

Having experienced a few setbacks both personally and professionally, Jones says he would tell anyone who is interested in going the entrepreneurship route that passion and resilience is the key to their success.

 “One big thing that I would tell anybody is if you are not passionate about it then don’t do it because I swear to God most businesses will fail,” he says. “You jump in and think you are going to make some money and when you don’t see that money come in the first five or six months you quit. So passion is very important and resilience because there will always be ups and downs. You just have to celebrate the good times and the wins.”

Photo credit: Jenn Terrell Photography

Jones says the he hopes his business and personal story will inspire the next young person to overcome any obstacles they are facing in order to launch the business of their dreams.

"Just sharing the story behind the brand is more important than the product for me," he explains. "I want people to know what I had to go through personally to get to where I am because it is way deeper than shoes for me. A huge part is me showing other people who look like me or come from backgrounds like mine that they can do it too."