starting my shoe line...need some advice...grrrr

my next goal for me is to get my shoe line started… i’m in beginning stages right now for my designs/etc… so i want to start right…

some questions i have

  1. how much detail is needed to send out a shoe design to a manufacture… i figure material specs…but so i need to spec glues/etc…

  2. i have a manufacture that does the sacony shoes, but my ideas are more based on the old puma style look…flat bottoms… like the romas/suedes

  3. in order to make some nice renderings,etc i guess i would need a student/person to work with…someone local and has a portfolio…so what should a pay this person per hour/contract/etc… i dont like stuff for free so i try to take care of those that work for me…



    is there any books/websites that would help with the design process and what i should think about when designing?

i can easily send a shoe in with my changes and that could be done…but i want to make sure i know wtf i’m figuring out…

thanks

b

  1. how much detail is needed to send out a shoe design to a manufacture… i figure material specs…but so i need to spec glues/etc…

There are some examples on my website

http://www.shoedesign.co.uk/portfolio/outkastspechotbabypink.jpg

  • you don’t need to go as far as specifying the type of glue or thread. But you will need to specify the components and their colours (use pantone numbers). Any logo information should be specified on a seperate sheet,with pantones and measurements.
  1. i have a manufacture that does the sacony shoes, but my ideas are more based on the old puma style look…flat bottoms… like the romas/suedes

You will need to get the factory to either find simliar molds that can be plugged with your logo - cheap option

Open your own outsole molds - expensive option.

Send the factory a photo of the kind of outsole you need. You’ll need the last as well - if they only make joggers/runners , they may not have the last - check that they can make the specific type of product you want - cup sole as opposed to runners.

Send the photo and ask if they have ‘existing kit’ similar to the picture.

  1. in order to make some nice renderings,etc i guess i would need a student/person to work with…someone local and has a portfolio…so what should a pay this person per hour/contract/etc… i dont like stuff for free so i try to take care of those that work for me…

You don’t need nice renderings for a factory. the kind of rendering work we discuss here and what is sent to the factory can be quite different. If you are clear of what you want, your line is small, then to turn it into specs may be a quick one or two days job. If you want an outsole, then it will take much longer and you’ll need to get the last and send it to the designer to work from.

is there any books/websites that would help with the design process and what i should think about when designing?

Have you got a spare decade to make all the mistakes that everyone does!!

The only book I ever saw was The Athletic Footwear Handbook, but it came out about 14 years ago,is out of print and horribly out of date though for retro product I’d say it’s still relevant.

Just watch out for massive, weirdly shaped upper patter pieces, it’s a mistake everyone makes at first - increases materials consumption and pushes the price up.

i can easily send a shoe in with my changes and that could be done…but i want to make sure i know wtf i’m figuring out…

Depending on the capabilities of the factory - you could do that. They wll probably be used to it as it’s how we often make our prototype amendments - eithr that or draw on onto of simliar product and send them that.

This is an amendment, it’s not a sneaker,but you get the gist.

http://www.shoedesign.co.uk/amendments_large.jpg

thanks for the help…

last thing i need is to burn up money …hahahaha… already did that on my tshirt line…grrrr…but it’s life

stay safe
b

yep, footwear design is not cheap to start up a new brand. a lot more expensive for sure than something like graphic T’s in that you need $ for prototypes, molds, etc. Minimum I normally suggest in terms of capital investment to get a small collection up and running, depending on the footwear type, number of styles, etc. would be at least $100K.

For more of the footwear design/development process, you can also check my blog and consultancy websites-

www.firstpullover.com

www.directiecollective.com

as shoenista mention, typically you wont need renderings for production, but for sure detailed material and design specifications.

the biggest hurdle most find is in fact not on the design side, but rather finding a fty willing to cooperate. most aren’t so interested in new lines, where there is lots of work in development, and no guarantee of production, and even if so, very small volumes. it’s unfortunate, but the industry with respect to production is really geared for an economy of scale where large production volumes offset development costs.

hope this helps,

R

It does depend what you need though, if it’s something quite basic and you can use the factorys’ own outsoles, possibly even som of thier pattern knives, then it’s very doable and not so expensive. Over the past two years I can think of two t shirt brands who contacted me that have mamaged to do it, with a bit of advice and a lot of determination.

As Richard says, if it’s more unique and you need everything new, then you’re gonna need some investment.

all i want are some 2-tone suede/leather/etc shoes…

i’m not a fan of the crazy colors/materials/etc for shoes… simple/clean is what i’m shooting for here

I thought I’d hi-jack this thread with something similar rather than go over the same ground (should be relevant for cryzko too).…


I’ve been a footwear designer for a few years now and am looking at whether it’s possible to start my own niche footwear brand.

This is what I’m thinking……


…It would be a small scale operation using existing kit and dealing with factories in Italy or Portugal (I have some contacts and experience dealing with factories in both countries).

The idea is a niche casual fashion brand sold in trend focused small retailers, using premium materials but existing lasts and outsoles.

I could do a lot of the work myself and through contacts, but I’d like to clarify some things before I approach anyone……

I’ve worked with designer brands before where small Italian factories will do small runs of premium shoes or trainers no problem. I hoped it could be the same for this, but I’ve heard lots of different opinions.

How much (roughly) do you guys think it would it cost me to get a sample made?
(for an example: stan smith/Puma cupsole kind of style… premium leather… existing kit…)

Do you think the factories will make me samples (in Europe) if I don’t have promises of large orders before hand?

Is it going to be difficult to get my products made at all? As I’ve heard that some factories won’t even do samples without production estimates… how can I get production estimates if I don’t have samples to show to potential customers to get orders?
Is there any way to get around it?

And finally… What is the best way to sell your final shoe to the retailers? (Probably smaller boutique style stores)… Approach stores that suit the brand with samples?


Any help or advice is welcome.


I’m just thinking it through at the moment and I’m probably crazy….

i would like to get samples made also… i havent really furthered into this idea lately and put the shoes on the backburner…

i know there are some china manufactures that might tweek some already made type shoes to your specs but you have to keep the sole molds i believe


b

I think its pretty impossible to use factories in China unless your talking big production numbers…

I’m speaking to contacts at European factories at the moment, what their minimums are, costs etc.

I’ll tell you my findings when I have some solid numbers.


It’d be good to hear if anyone on here had some advice though?

The lowest I know is a 2,000 pair minimum, 1,000 minimum per color-way order. You can have a smaller minimum’s if you raise your product price and produce your shoes off of a ‘sample room’ line. The down side is that you use existing materials that the factory has and use their (generic) available tooling. It also helps to have prior relations or a personal contact with the factory owner.

GURU

Thanks for the input dude…

Is it an Asian factory that your talking about?

I was told a similar amount (a bit less) yesterday for a European production line

It could also be a possibility to produce them in a sample room…

…but I’m still investigating possiblities and talking to people.

I wouldn’t be surprised (in the light of the current situation) ,that they might lower their minimums. China is a bit hungry for business at the moment.

Of course, on the other hand, you have to ascertain whether the factory that is hungry for business is about to go bust!

Interesting times we live in. :slight_smile:

Well… so far people have been alot more receptive to my ideas than I expected…

… no doors slammed in my face yet.

Ultimately there are all levels of factories and the key is finding one on the same level as you are. That is, if it’s a huge fty with 12 production lines each doing one style at 3000prs per day for a large customer in steady production, they will be less open to your small qty.

That being said, smaller qty is possible with a smaller fty. I’ve heard of a few china ftys that are willing to do 500prs per style/color but you will pay a hefty premium for the ability to do and of course also need to pay upfront for moulds, materials, and at least 60% if not 100% upfront on order.

In any case, anything is really possible if you are willing to pay for it.

As shoenista said, these days ftys are a bit more hungry, but the potential for a fty to close is also very ral, so be careful.

In general you may have better luck with lower minimums in Europe depending on what kind of style you are looking to produce, but of course for the most part FOB cost will be more. In either case convincing a fty that production will happen following development/samples is often the hardest part. Keep in mind a fty makes money from production, and development is only a means to an end, so thinking from their perspective is very important.

R

Thanks dude…

…I think my only option is to use a smaller European factory (Italy or Portugal).

I used to live in Milan, so I’m trying to find a decent place in Lombardia or Veneto.

If anyone has any recommendations for places they’ve worked with, that would be great.

The problem with Europe (I’ve found) is cost. I really don’t think its viable anymore, unless we are talking at a luxury level (i.e designer $300 plus price points),or absolutely enormous volume (e.g. Zara). If you don’t have a very high price point,you may not even cover your costs.

I don’t know what anyone else thinks, but its the feedback I’ve had from friends (who have their own brands) and agents (who work in Europe).

It seems to have got far worse over the last two or three years.

J79 - my advice to you is to join linked in, join one of the footwear groups and ask on there.
IME most casual /sneaker type product was made in the South of Italy - (Barletta). I worked there lots a few years ago, but I’m certain much of this is now gone.

Thanks for the advice…


I am looking to the higher end of the market price point wise… I think its probably the only way to go without the numbers of an established brand.


I’ve been recommended a couple of places in Europe… anyway I’ll see how it goes, if its not possible then so be it.

Make sure you cost in alot of travel to the resource. Thats the other problem with European manufacturers, you have to be constantly there, watching over them. It’s very rare that you can just make one or two trips there a year.

Ok, thanks…

At least Ryanair and Easyjet are cheaper than paying for flights to Asia all the time.


I feel like I’m getting somewhere now anyway, I’m finding people that will work with me on relatively small numbers using existing kit and laser cut patterns.

Excellent news!