I was asked yesterday ‘how do you know which factory to approach – the shoe fair looks vast?
Well, I don’t know if there is a particular best way – but what I did was to select an exhibition-hall category that seemed likely to have a relevant price and style offering (the options included things like Contemporary, Designer, Urban, etc).
The first five seconds on any stand were critical – basically, a quick scan around the shoes on offer, looking for the last-shapes I needed and assessing the quality and design capability. At least 19/20 would be ‘no’ and I moved on. But every now and then I’d find a last shape or shoe design that might work.
Using a mobile phone as camera-note-book (forbidden, but no-one stopped me) I then approached someone on the stand, exchanged business cards, and then worked through a pro-forma I’d drawn up with a list of important questions defined by a discussion with Mike-The-Shoe.
Likely questions triaged factory feasibility from the outset – things like ‘Do you do Private Label?’ (ie would I be able to put my own brand in a shoe), example cost price, minimum runs, production time, repeat time and delivery options. Private label was a must.
The most astonishing thing was minimums, which varied from 8 to 1000. From my first visit, I identified 3 factory possibilities, one of which I then started to work with, in Naples.
|Foot length (inches)||8.8||9.1||9.3||9.6||9.8||10.1||10.3|
|Foot length (cms)||22.5||23||23.6||24.3||24.9||25.5||26.2|
More detailed sizing information available on our sizing page