Founder Spotlight: Sarah Befus and the Story Behind Rescue Flats
If you have ever spent a night in stilettos, you know the pain of aching feet. Sarah Befus, President and CEO of Rescue Flats, set out to change this common conundrum that women face. In 2013, while on maternity leave, Sarah launched Rescue Feet, a ballet flat shoe business that literally rescues women when their high heels hurt their feet.
Rescue Flats are designed by women, for women. Befus’ mission for the business was simple: to make the world a better place for women by creating a company that celebrated women.
“Our part in changing the world may be small, but I believe that it’s the little actions that build into big change,” she said. “When one woman helps another, then she is inspired to help another and another and so it goes.”
With Rescue Flats, you can dance all night and celebrate with your closest family and friends without having to think twice about your feet. With every purchase, you receive heel bags, satin ribbons, non-scuff soles and an effortless display box that makes size selection for your guests simple.
Today, more than 750,000 women around the world have worn Rescue Flats. The company has grown into one of the hottest brands in the wedding industry and has been seen in weddings and special events all over the world, including The Knot Gala at New York Bridal Fashion Week.
“We are on a mission to make the world a better place for women, and we are just getting started,” Befus added.
Here’s what Sarah shared with us about launching her business and advice for other female entrepreneurs:
What was your lightbulb moment when you knew that you wanted to launch your brand?
The idea of creating something for women to slip into when their heels hurt had been circling in my thoughts for years. When I was on maternity leave with my 1-year-old son and 3-month-old daughter, I was looking for ways that I could continue my career and have time with my kids. That’s when I decided to test out the Rescue Flats concept.
Jeni Mundy, the Chief Operations Officer of Rescue Flats, joined the team in 2014 after her maternity leave. Nine years since we first started and we’ve never looked back!
Describe Rescue Flats in three words.
Feminine, playful, authentic.
What makes your brand unique?
Rescue Flats as a product, sold in a box set for weddings and special events, is pretty unique in and of itself. We spent a lot of our early years educating people about the concept and why they might want it.
We focus on the high-end segment of the wedding market, but because weddings are a time for celebration, high-end doesn’t have to mean “serious.” We get to play in the space between fun and formal, which as time has gone on, we’re trying to lean into more and more.
As an entrepreneur, what is one obstacle you’ve faced and what did you learn throughout the process of overcoming it?
Covid-19 has been a huge challenge and presented a scenario we couldn’t have even imagined — a complete shutdown of weddings and events for months and months on end with continuing uncertainty in some of our markets. It’s a situation we’re still recovering from and will continue to do so for another year or so.
It’s been difficult to put goals that we had been working so hard toward for such a long time on the sideline or scratch them off the list completely. It forced us to re-evaluate everything in our business, find efficiencies and double down on what works for us. It’s been hard, but we really believe that in the end, it’s made us better.
What is your favorite piece of advice you have received in your career?
We’ve been so fortunate to have great people around us who have believed in us and cheered us on. One of the best and most impactful pieces of advice we have received came from a simple Facebook post. It was a quote by John. A Shedd. “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” The same goes for ideas, companies and life.
What is your best advice to up-and-coming female founders?
Just start. Start from where you are now. It doesn’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to have every single detail figured out. You’ll learn and figure it all out along the way. Don’t let perfectionism stop you from even getting started.
Do you know a female founder who we should feature? Let us know by submitting a comment below.