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Local creates stylish, practical shoes for babies learning to strut their stuff

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Yolandra Rodgers created a line of shoes with stylishly dressed tots in mind.

"I said 'Hey, we need to put some spunk in it with some variations of colors, different styles, different textures.'"

The educator turned shoe designer got the idea for her business once she started looking for shoes for her daughter.

"I understood and made certain the clunky shoes were not an option as far as her first pair of shoes," she said.

She wanted a good look.

"When we shop we always look for something different. We look for something very stylish, very upbeat, something noticeable."

And the best fit and support for her child's foot.

"My mom, my family members and the physician all recommend hard- bottom shoes that would actually support wobbly ankles, flat-footed steps, arch supports, even muscle tone and ligaments."

So Tippy Tot Shoes were born. They cost between $45 and $60, and come in a variety of styles and colors.

"This is the perfect idea for beginning, walking toddlers," said Rodgers.

"And for those little tippy toes that are kinda gradually walking around the table, we have our prewalkers."

Not only are these shoes fashionable, they're also functional. Rodgers worked with a local podiatrist on the design of the shoes.

"They last long. They're a very good support shoe."

Tippy Tot Shoes has been in business for four years and Rodgers offered this advice to other entrepreneurs trying to grow their business and get capital.

"Start with a business plan. Think about how you're going to grow your business and market, market, market."

Rodgers has big plans of getting settled in a location where shoppers can better see what she offers, but said e commerce was the best way to kick start her business.

"Start where you are and work with what you have."

Rodgers said Tippy Tot Shoes was started with moms who want style without sacrificing quality in mind.