Monday, 8 August 2011

How Do I sell My Shoe Designs?

We are often contacted by budding new shoe designers, who have a portfolio of shoe designs and are keen to sell them and want to know how.
Footwear companies do not buy unsolicited designs in this way. Why?
The nature of the footwear trade is such that footwear companies have very specific needs. When we are contacted to help a company with their shoe designs they either give us a thorough design brief, or we have discussions with them to determine their needs and we then help them to write a brief.
A footwear design can be dictated by all kinds of variables. The factory, for instance.
If I am designing a shoe that will be made in Italy, for a mid price point, it's unlikely that I would design a shoe as the attached footwear spec sheet. The hand beading would be more suited to a shoe made in an Indian or Chinese factory and because of the price, perhaps we wouldn't make the sandal in leather. When designing for a client, I have to be aware of the capabilities of the factory they are using. There is no point in designing a shoe with a stitchdown construction if the factory does not have that machine.
Price is a factor. There is no point in designing some Swarovski encrusted amazing creation if our client has a budget of $10 ex factory.
Even factors such as weather, or cultural issues can determine the styling. When we designed shoes for a client in Asia we were requested to limit the amount of yellow in our colourways as it is a Royal colour and should not be worn unless you are the King!
As a shoe designer, one has to behave almost like an actress, getting into character, in order to understand what the customer of that particular client likes to wear. It is no good for the client if I just design shoes that I like and then try to push my personal taste on them. For instance I design lots of glamorous high heels but that isn't my personal style - I wear flats! Designing for others is a skill and I have to say I do enjoy the whole process of getting into character, understanding what that customer would like to wear. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that you got it right.

We do have customers who buy packs of designs from us. But they still dictate to us the kind of designs they'd like to see, before we put pen to paper and we do have to bear in mind where these shoes will be made.
There are companies that buy designs - to use in Footwear trend publications such as Footwear Plus. But this is a competitive area and they will want evidence that you have worked in a commercial environment and can forecast footwear trends.
So if you want to sell your work, what should you do?
Get some formal training. You need to understand footwear construction, otherwise you will make the mistake of designing shoes that cannot be manufactured easily.
Work as an employee to get some experience. Becoming a commercial designer is a difficult skill to learn, to appeal to the masses and to be able to design a shoe that looks great but isn't too costly to manufacture is a skill.
Or, you could learn to make shoes and set your own workshop up and make the shoes exactly as you please.


Joseph said...

I have a few ideas aswell!! No sketches or anything yet but really have ideas about designing shoes! But no idea where to start..?

apata johnson said...

I can do better and actually I'm looking forward to selling our shoe and bag design to any interested clients.I'm really serious about this.Get in touch if you have any idea about promising buyer.

Kind regards

Anabela said...

Hi, im looking for someone that can design some shoes and bags for a new project that im starting. Can you help? thanks

Eric Bush said...

I'm looking to design skate shoes for any type group of people!! I have unique ideas I feel that are ready to be seen and bought by consumers. just don't know where to start. I have a great portfolio and would like for it to get into the right hands. please someone give me advice on the next move!!

Pia Sharma said...

I can help

Khady said...

Hey, cool design, i was wondering what programe you used to make your visuals ...I am also an inspiring shoe designer...from saudi.

Thanks and good luck!

Miss Green said...

I have over 200 shoe sketches and I want sell them but have no idea where to start. I will appreciate if someone can help or give any advice. (Marina)

versia atanga said...

i'm 13 and i really have some good shoe designs but i dont know wat to do i wont spend my whole life drawing i really want to sell them and support my family plz help me from cameroon contact me with +23770175011 thanks

kim fay claudette dujali said...

i can help you guys..i am selling my designs contact me for inquiries..
my facebook account is