How to Start Your Own Shoe Company

How to Start Your Own Shoe Company:

If you want to start your own shoe brand and design and sell your own shoes, you need to think about many important details. I have listed some key points for you to consider when getting your footwear brands started.

Target Market:

What is the target market for your new shoe company?  You will need to decide where your shoes will be sold; specialty shoe stores, discount shoe retailers, or will you sell directly to your end-user?  The answer to this will help you decide how many shoes you will need to make to get started.

Target Customer:

Figure out who the end-user is for your shoes? Business executives? Punk rockers with tattoos? High school kids?   Knowing your customer will help you set the price, look, and materials for your new shoe. What kind of shoe do you want to make? Casual, performance, fashion, or do you have a totally new idea?

Name Your Shoe Brand:

Based on your target customer it is time to select a name for your footwear brand and to legally set-up your shoe company. Contact your local city hall to register a Doing Business As (“DBA”) or Fictitious Name statement. Register your shoe company, get a vendor’s license, and a tax identification number. Don’t forget to check the names online for availability before you register them with the state. If you can’t get a website domain name that is close to your new shoes company’s name your customer may have a hard time finding you on the web!

Research and More Research:

Visit your target retailers and search online for the types of shoes your future competitors are selling and the prices they charge. Study the designs, logos, materials, and any other features these shoes have.  Ask yourself,  “What will make my shoe brand unique.”  If you can’t answer this question, STOP.  There are already thousands of shoe companies and the world does not need another “Me Too” brand!

Design your shoes:

Find a designer or design the shoes yourself. To design AND sell your own shoes is a big job, it’s okay to get help.  Get your research and brand image down on paper. You will need clean shoe renderings that communicate your ideas. Don’t be afraid to hire this out. The world has many hired guns that can bring your ideas to life. Without great designs your new shoe company is going nowhere. Now, stand back, do these drawings say, “This what my new shoe company is about?”

Find a footwear sourcing agent or Shoe Factory:

This may be difficult!  Search the web  or ask me. There are many firms that can help you get started. Visit the major shoe trade shows where there is always an area set-up with factories looking for new customers. Also, the website http://www.alibaba.com/ is a gold mine for finding factories!

How To Start Your Own Shoe Company PDFYour next steps:

Check out our new book:  How to Start Your Own Shoe Company
Read these articles:  Can I start a shoe company  and Finding a Shoe Sourcing Agent. 
Please visit our: Online Shoe School. 

Learn more about making shoes:

Footwear design book Free PFD Shoe Design Book DownloadDo you want to learn how big brands make shoes?  Now you can!  How Shoes are Made will show you how modern shoes come to life! More than just a tour through a sneaker factory and more than your average shoe making book!  From drawing shoe designs to sample development and footwear manufacturing, you will learn how it is all done. Written by veteran shoemaking pros, How Shoes are Made will give you a look inside the REAL world of shoe design, development, and mass production. 220 pages with over 400 color photos and drawings. 26 chapters explaining shoe design, footwear pattern making, sample development, footwear materials selection, upper stitching, outsole and tooling design, shoe lasts, shoe costing, quality inspections, starting you own shoe brand, and much more!  A must read for young shoe designers, sneaker heads, or any footwear fanatic! See Preview Video On YouTube

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Print Edition Now Available!  

Table of Contents:

The Design Process, Shoe Development, Shoe Patterns, Shoe Specifications, Outsole Tooling, Development Process, Pre-Production, Material Preparation, Stitching Operations, Rubber Pressing, EVA Forming, The Assembly Line, The Shoe Last, Footwear Costing, Importing Shoes, Shoe Logo Design, Leather for Shoes, Textiles for Shoes ,Synthetics for Shoes,  Foam for Shoes, Know Your Footbeds, Material Suppliers, Shoe Designers Tools, Jobs in the Shoe Trade ,Quality Control, Starting a Shoe Company, Life at a Shoe Factory, Shoe Making Dictionary

If you want to learn more, check out our new books.

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Print Edition + Paper Pattern + Blue Prints and Spec sheets

A complete technical specification, drawings, blueprint, pattern and spec.

Computer cut shoe pattern for a classic jogger.  Factory Blue Print included.

Entire pattern size run for the Arris classic trainer, Men’s US 7-13 (Euro 39-47)

Shoe last measuring step. Measures last heel lift from 1cm to 11.5 cm.

24 inch tape specifically designed for measuring shoe lasts.

Ready to Print! Men's size 9 last. The .STL file can be scaled in X, Y and Z.

Great for checking leathers and synthetic materials. Features adjustable dial.

Beaked pincers with built in hammer face. For shoe lasting and sole nailing.

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