THE SHOE LADY
For more than 20 years, Tonja Ayers has been helping women get on their feet by providing them with the latest trends in fashionable footwear. She has literally and figuratively provided the hottest styles in shoes changing the fashion game and lives of women not only in Michigan but across the United States. Tonja, is affectionately known as “The Shoe Lady” and has achieved monumental strides in multiple businesses. Tonja has grown her business beyond selling dynamic shoes. She is also an author, publisher, playwright and filmmaker. Tonja Ayers is a proven industry leader who is widely respected amongst her peers from movie production to independent retailers. Tonja’s entrepreneurial insight, entertainment acumen and literary genius are second to none. She has been featured in The Detroit News & Free Press, The Michigan Chronicle, as well as various social media blogs and podcasts. With various trends shifting and the struggles of an author or filmmaker, she has embraced every challenge with ambition and determination . This shoepreneur, author, playwright, filmmaker, and retail guru is not only determined about reaching her goals— she is focused, driven and passionate about helping others do the same. Tonja has supported and mentored many small business owners and female entrepreneurs as well as supporting multiple youth programs as a speaker or sponsor.
Tonja took an idea of creating extra income as a single mother building and reframing that idea over the past 25 years into multiple successful businesses. As retail female minority business owner, she has mastered the concept of giving the people what they want. Her retail business has grown far beyond what she had anticipated, into the go to spot for all occasion and seasonal foot ware. Tonja’s retail business “The Shoe Lady”, has thousands of returning customers over the years. Her customers not only return for the fabulous shoes and exceptional shopping experience. They return because, Tonja takes every moment to empower others to pursue their passion and purpose in life, with only one expected outcome. For them to focus on making a positive difference in the world. Tonja has received numerous accolades over the pasts 20 years, ranging from her nomination as one of the best shoe stores in the Metropolitan Detroit area on WDIV Channel 4 NBC to being honored with the “Spirit of Detroit Award” in 2019.
Tonja’s wisdom in business and retail unlocked numerous doors for her to help others who wanted to start a retail business, write a book, write a play or launch a career in film production with her various community outreach speaking engagements to mentoring small business owners or supporting youth programs. From selling stilettos, to standing ovations in sold-out theatres to penning her next novel, Tonja likes to stay busy. She has authored eight books and will release her ninth book project, Low Down, in the summer of 2021. The story is based on the stories of infidelity her clients shared while trying on shoes, and yes, all names and scenarios were changed to protect interest of inspiration, for the upcoming book. Tonja has authored a bestselling book, Stay in Your Place. This book she regards as one of greatest success, because the book was written as a joke. As a new author and unaware of how to estimate preorders. Tonja mistakenly ordered 500 copies, little did she know that she would sell out in the first week.
Following her passion for replaying life in the pages of books and plays. She has mastered the process of taking the message from the page to the stage. Tonja hosted her debut stage production, Stay in Your Place, to two sold-out performance theaters. The success of the stage play inspired her to begin developing scripts for films. Tonja’s last three movie premieres sold out three movie theaters with people standing in line for the next showing. By February of 2020, Tonja released her second feature film, Chocolate Kiss, which premiered in five sold-out movie theaters, with multiple online movie downloads. Her short film, TEN, has been nominated and selected for several film festivals. Tonja is an upcoming African American female filmmaker and many say she could be the next Shonda Rhimes, Tyler Perry, Ava DuVernay or Spike Lee.
Holding both a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Business Administration, Tonja’s multifaceted personality, business sense and creative ability puts her in a class all by herself. A beacon of hope and inspiration to the community at-large and local business owners, its her innate desire to help others succeed that has left her standing tall in tumultuous economic times.