I’ve been snooping around this site for a little while, and I’ve found this ‘footwear and softgoods’ section to be very informative.
I’m looking into starting my own footwear line, I’m still in the somewhat early stages, working on designs, doing overall research, etc.
What I’m trying to research at the moment (along with other things, obviously) is manufacturers. For a number of reasons I’d really prefer to find a manufacturer in the Toronto region, but more realistically, any area in the northeast would be fine, even over to Chicago, etc would be fine.
A bit more info: The shoes will be men’s, dress/casual, and a retail price between $250-$400.
I have looked throughout this section of the site, and have found some useful information, but I’m hoping for some more specific help.
Anything you can provide would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
There are still some small factories in Maine. I’ll have to dig to see if I have a business card or two.
Thanks Yo, that would be great.
I have come across one manufacturer in Maine, “Rancourt & Co. Shoecrafters.” Apparently they were bought by Allen Edmonds 11 years ago, and were just recently bought back by the original owners.
Anyway, any manufacturers you can pass along would be a big help. Thanks in advance!
I don’t think you’ll find what you are looking for in the area. At best, pretty basic shoes/boots are made in north America, and there really isn’t much benefit from doing so.
Anyhow, if you’d like to set up a consult meeting or call to discuss further, I’m open to do so. Based in Toronto, though currently in china until next week. Drop me an email or PM and we can be in touch. I work
with a lot of startups so can help guide you in the right direction.
I hear some Allen Edmund factories (dont know how many they have here in the states) are starting to produce shoes for other brands/people that are looking for north american production. I have no ideas where their factories are but thats my 2 cents. Good thing you are in that 200-400 price range cuz thats damn near the only place you can be with USA production.
rkuchinsky - Thanks, I’ll definitely get in touch when I get to that point. As for the manufacturers, I have found it difficult to find the right kind, and I don’t believe I’ve found any in this area. It looks like the closest I’ll find is north east US, which is ok.
dziner82 - From what I read Allen Edmonds was making shoes for other companies (ie, Ralph Lauren), but decided to stop, which is what Rancourt & Co. Shoecrafters broke off. Anyway, thanks for the help!
Just thought I’d revisit this post. “Yo”, any luck finding those contacts in Maine?
Thanks everyone for your help.
I’ve found that turning the question around is the only way to do things in a high-wage country.
“What can local factories make?” rather than “who can make my design?”, is the first question.
It sounds good to factory people if you know what construction technique they use - otherwise it’s like asking a paperback book printer to sew a hardback together or the other way around.
An interest in back-catalogue stuff they’ve still got tools for and that doesn’t upset with their existing customers sounds good.
“What is the minimum order for a variation on something you’ve made before?” or “What shoe constructions do you make?” are good phone questions if the answers can’t be found online. “How can they adapt what they can make to make something I want to sell?” is the conversation if you get a chance of a visit.
The factory people will be judging how much time and money to spend on set-up and dealing with the customer which for some reason they don’t put on the bill - it would be much easier if they did - so any hint that you can pay the day before delivery (give or take a sample) is good, and sane plausible statements repeat orders might help. They’ll want to have the tools and also to have the experience to judge all the things you don’t specify, just in case it goes wrong.
I’ve got a vague impression there’s a firm called Wanderlast or wonder-lust or such making womens boots in Canada.
Just a 2 cents worth
I think it depends how the OP is planning to market the brand - I get lots of requests for UK made product and the factories I know that still do it get alot of benefit because of the trend for locally sourced low carbon footprint product.
I agree that it important to understand the factory capabilities, though. It is easy to source bench made formal mens footwear in the UK but much more difficult to find high end ladies footwear for nistance. In the USA I’m guessing mostly workboots and Western? (Nott hatI have a clue, btw )