Shepherds Of Healing highlights Eric Jones for the “Dudes with Depth” series.
Written by: Chelsea Soils
This week, “Dudes with Depth” series highlights Eric Jones, founder of the luxury shoe brand LFLS (Like Father, Like Son) from Helena-West Helena, Arkansas.
Read on to learn how this Dude with Depth builds his brand through his story!
What are some of your biggest accomplishments so far in your career? (Albums, Books, Sponsorships, etc.)
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.
Has it been a smooth journey getting into your industry? If not, what obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
A few weeks before graduating college, December 2016, my mother passed away. Three years before that, in 2013, I also lost my father. The loss of both parents forced me to figure things out on my own. I’ll admit I had to put LFLS on pause to deal with such a great loss. I knew I had to snap out of it and put my pain into building my business. In 2017, I officially started selling shoes nationwide through my website. LFLS, 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.
What is the biggest misconception about your line of work?
People think I have a big team, but I do everything. From design to delivering from my apartment.
How old were you when you discovered your gift? When did you get comfortable sharing that gift with other people and how did they react?
In 2015, when I came home and showed my mother an LLC to start my business, she was so supportive and right away jumped in to help me get LFLS off the ground.
What was your childhood like? Describe your environment from your house to your neighborhood to your school. How did these experiences shape you and your future success?
I credit my modest beginnings and the strict discipline of his parents with helping to shape me into the entrepreneur that I am today. I grew up watching my mother struggle to make ends meet at home. Having spent a lot of time in church as a kid, dressing up became a part of my life. My mom used to always say, “Don’t look like what you’re going through or been through.” I started looking at fashion as a vehicle for expressing myself.
Describe the moment when you knew you were on the right path. How did that affirmation encourage you to keep pursuing your dreams?
I started making a living selling shoes thanks to a meme that I made with a picture of one of my shoes beside a Johnston and Murphy shoe. It said, “I replace a #BigBrand with a #BlackBrand.” What helped me know that I needed to grow LFLS was in December when Media Black Out and Black Wall St. shared my meme. I got maybe 3,000 or 4,000 followers for my company page and 6,000 on my personal. The viral meme experience lasted for, like, five or six months. So, that’s the biggest thing that’s helped me build. Just making memes and getting other pages to share them. I’ve even gotten celebrities to share them as well.
What have you had to do - mentally, physically, emotionally - to prepare yourself to pursue your career?
Most of the stuff I've been through inspires a lot of people. So, it’s about the shoes, but it’s also about my story and being transparent about my journey as an African American male.
Tell us about your inner circle (close friends, family, mentors, relationship). How does their support impact your success?
Having experienced a few setbacks both personally and professionally, I would tell anyone who is interested in going the entrepreneurship route that passion, resilience and having supportive friends and family are key to their success.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned about yourself and others?
Ownership is the answer. I feel like if you don’t own stuff, you’ll always be enslaved because you’re not financially free. And the black dollar is very important because if you look back at Black Wall Street and how long the dollar stayed in the community and compare it to now, it’s crazy. As soon as we get our check, we cash it. The black dollar’s gone. Whereas back then, the black dollar would circulate, like, a year in the community because we wouldn’t shop with anyone else.
What do you see yourself accomplishing in the next 3 years? What are you currently doing to prepare for this outcome?
I hope LFLS and my personal story will inspire the next young person to overcome any obstacles they are facing to launch the business of their dreams.
Can you share a secret with us that you haven’t shared anywhere else?
One of my biggest pet peeves is bad odors. I believe in self-care and feel that other people should too.
If you had a chance to talk to your 15-year-old self, what would you say?
Practice telling your story because when you become an entrepreneur, sharing your story is more important than the product. It’s our job to give hope to people around the world that look like us or who come from similar backgrounds to know that because we did it, they can do it too.
Why is it important for the next generation of young men to see people like yourself? What message do you have for a Gen Z’er hoping to pursue a similar career?
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. 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. Resilience is important too because there will always be ups and downs. You must celebrate the good times and the wins. 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.
Finally, which of Shepherds of Healing’s “Dudes with Depth” words resonates with you the most?
The word “Dedicated” resonates with me the most. When you’re living the life of a full-time entrepreneur, there are a lot of things that you must give up to remain dedicated to your purpose. Dedication is the determining factor between success and failure. I personally had to give up on eating out as much as I did, going out (nightlife), shopping, etc. I had to start putting every second of my day into my business and focusing on growth. It’s hard, of course, but when you’re doing something that you’re extremely passionate about, there’s nothing that you must do that you won’t do. I had to learn things that I had zero interest in doing (accounting, importing, etc.) There are many other things I could talk about, but these are a few that helped me become a “Dude with Depth.”
Eric Jones is a Dude with Depth!
Wanna keep up with Eric? Details below!
IG: @ lflsshoes