Gamil Design, a Raleigh, NC, company, has spun off a business called LYF Shoes. With unique insight into sustainability and a patented assembly system for customizable design and fit, it quickly garnered the Cherokee Challenge award on May 25, 2012, from Cherokee Investment Partners.
The Cherokee Challenge was designed to identify, fund and develop high-impact environmental startups. LYF Shoes was chosen as one of three businesses identified in the Phase 1 awards. For Phase 1, each of the three ventures were granted $20,000 in seed funding from Cherokee and will participate in a three month accelerator.
“Ultimately, Aly’s visionary ideas for sustainable workforce manufacturing and his design and development experience landed LYF Shoes among the three ventures selected for Phase 1,” says Cherokee Challenge’s Manager, JT Vaughn.
LYF Shoes founders and Gamil Design owners, Aly and Beth Khalifa, have 30+ years of experience in design and manufacturing footwear and accessories. Knowing that footwear manufacturing is toxic and environmentally challenging, and that 97% of footwear purchased in America is made overseas, the Khalifas are intent on redefining how and where shoes are made. Their quest focuses on bringing jobs back to the USA and, in the process, incorporating new sustainable practices. After 8 years of research and invention, LYF Shoes was born and invites consumers to “Love Your Footprint.”
“All of us in the footwear industry know that we have a lot of environmental, health, and production challenges. By rethinking the process of how shoes are made and sold, we have found a unique opportunity to integrate job creation, customer service and sustainability into a new paradigm,” says Aly. “We are excited and honored to be receiving seed money and mentoring from Cherokee Investment Partners, an influential leader in environmental sustainability. We anticipate being able to get into the market faster and with more solid footing due to the expertise of Cherokee,” adds Beth.