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Continuing a Legacy - Inclusive Footwear Brand Emerges from Pandemic

The three handbags of the Etta Grove first collection

Etta Grove Inaugural Handbag Collection, 2022.

Photo of Alexis Howard, Owner & Creative Director for Etta Grove Footwear. Photo by 1982creativestudios.

Etta Grove Owner & Creative Director, Alexis Howard. Photo: 1982creativestudios.

Photo of Etta Grove's Classic Loafer that comes in women's sizes 7 to 14. Photo: 1982creativestudios.

Etta Grove Classic Loafer Flat. Women's Sizes 7 to 14. Photo: 1982creativestudios

Etta Grove Footwear, established 2021, launching NOW.

We thoughtfully design our products in DC, and they are skillfully handmade in Spain by leather artisans.”
— Alexis Howard, Owner & Creative Director
WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, June 5, 2022 / -- This Spring, Etta Grove, an inclusive contemporary footwear brand, is holding its inaugural pre-order campaign on, a crowdfunding platform for women entrepreneurs. Etta Grove seeks to provide fashionable, feel-good footwear options for lovers of luxury who wear women’s sizes 7 to 14.

As to using a crowdfunding platform rather than the brand website for launch, the Owner and Creative Director, Alexis Howard, states,
“iFundWomen resonated with me because a start-up private label brand, such as Etta Grove, requires many resources and coaching support, a lot of which iFundWomen provides for free . . . and a percentage of the fees that I pay for utilizing this platform go toward helping other women entrepreneurs.”

Optimism aside, the reality is that Etta Grove launches on the heels of a global pandemic, market uncertainty, and challenging economic factors, showing the resilience of women-led businesses in the United States.

In a combined study between Gusto, a United States-based company that provides cloud-based payroll, benefits, and human resource management software for businesses, and the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), nearly 2,000 women business owners were surveyed in order to understand their experiences in navigating the current global uncertainty and how their businesses were impacted.

What Luke Pardue, Economist at Gusto, found is that 5% of the women business owners surveyed started a new business during COVID. And upon further analysis of the microcosm of these women founders, Pardue states that almost half (47%) of these founders were women of color, even though they, “shouldered the heaviest burdens throughout the pandemic.”

Etta Grove, like its founder, has gone through a metamorphosis, coming out of the pandemic more certain of its identity than ever before.

“During the pandemic, I turned 50, I grew my hair out from a ‘teeny weeny afro’ to shoulder-length locs, I exercised a little more, and ate a little better. I made changes to myself and one bold one was deciding to throw my hat into the entrepreneurship ring,” says Howard.

Many female (women of color) founders, according to the Gusto survey started their businesses because they were laid off or worried about their financial situation. Almost 30% of these women were the sole providers in their families.

Humbly, Etta Grove’s founder confesses that her family and friends have been, “very supportive, and other women entrepreneurs have been there to support, network, share information, and more.”

“I will pay it forward,” she continues, resolute. Notably, Etta Grove currently consults with three external women-owned businesses for technical design, production management, brand strategy, and information technology.

While many brands tend to make extended sizing and diversifying their inventory a tall order, Etta Grove sees inclusivity as the bedrock of its business strategy. Its footwear is offered in whole and half sizes 7 to 14 and includes a design in diverse nude hues, with plans for many more.

Just before you think that this is yet another comfort brand, Howard notes that she is launching Etta Grove with her two daughters, and “they are creatives for our brand. I’d like to say our brand is classic but on-trend. They bring a lot of the ‘on-trend’.”

The founder of Etta Grove cites a long history of entrepreneurship in her family as a source of inspiration, stating, “My grandmother [Etta] was a nurse, mother, wife, and entrepreneur (she owned a sitter service where she trained women to assist sick and elderly within their own homes, which allowed a lot of women to get out of working in kitchens for meager wages).” The brand is her namesake.

Unlike many legacy brands, Etta Grove’s medium to long-term goal is to cultivate a reputation for design, quality, and philanthropy. Howard states, “We thoughtfully design our products in DC, and they are skillfully handmade in Spain by leather artisans.” She noted that their primary tannery obtains its leather from farm animals bred for food, so their use of the skins reduces waste. “Our long-term goal is to thrive for generations. We are building a brand and continuing a legacy of hardworking, entrepreneurial women,” says Howard.

“We want Etta Grove to be a well-known brand for all of the right reasons for generations to come,” she concludes.

To learn more about Etta Grove and to pre-order a stylish piece of their leather goods (footwear and handbags) collection, visit: or

Alexis Howard
Etta Grove Footwear
+1 800-335-0593
Visit us on social media:

Etta Grove Footwear, Our Story. Video by 1982creativestudios.