7 reasons you’re never too old to start a shoe brand
Do you love shoes? Have you always dreamed of starting your own shoe brand but never quite got round to it? The fact is you’re never too old to start a shoe brand.
I meet so many people who have trouble finding footwear they love. There’s always a choice to be made between comfort and beauty. Do you ever wonder why that is?
Well most shoe designers are young. Many of them work 10-12 hour days as standard, and have to travel for work for many many weeks of the year. It’s an exhausting life, so it’s no surprise that so many “retire” from the shoe business early. Some will become creative directors or design directors. Others will simply leave the wonderful world of footwear.
Designers can design for form and function, but to really understand customers who can only wear comfortable shoes, I believe you have to be one.
So, why are you never too old to start a shoe brand?
1. Life experience
This is an essential tool for entrepreneurs. Your insight will help you avoid making too many mistakes. Have you got better at trusting your instincts about who to work with as you’ve got older? Excellent! Have you learnt a few things about what the small print really means? Perfect! You can apply your extensive life experience to making your new shoe company a success.
2. Shoe experience
Do you have decades of wearing shoes behind you? Well then you’ve already learnt a lot about shoes. Even looking in your wardrobe and analysing the styles you do and don’t wear can be very insightful. Help people to avoid making the mistakes you did, by factoring this knowledge into your own designs.
3. Money money money
I’m making assumptions here, but if you’ve worked hard and invested well, you may well have a bit of money floating around that you could invest in your grand shoe plans. There are some really important areas you’ll need to spend money on when starting a shoe business. Numerous rounds of samples and a beautiful website are just a couple of them. Knowing you won’t have to choose between eating or perfecting your designs certainly adds a layer of comfort.
4. You know people
The more years we hang out on this wonderful planet, the more people we meet and connect with. Your network is likely to be much larger than that of a recent graduate, which can be a great benefit for a new shoe brand owner. Starting a business is the time you’ll want to call in favours from all of your friends and relatives. These favours could be anything from helping you to design an amazing website, to helping you get the word out.
5. You’ll get attention
Imagine the headline “75 year old woman starts shoe business”. You’d want to read the article wouldn’t you? Getting written about is essential for any small business. A surprising back-story is just the hook that journalists want for their features.
6. It will change your life
Not prepared to get your gardening gloves out or retire to a deck chair in the Algarve? Good! Start the fun, frustrating, demanding and wonderful journey of shoe entrepreneurship instead. Now that will give you something to talk about at parties.
7. Finally wear shoes you love
Got bunions? Design shoes for people with bunions. Are you a man with small feet? Design shoes for chaps like you. Wish you could still buy shoes like the ones they made in the 1960s? Get them made! Do your research, and discover whether there are lots of people with the same problem as you. If there are, you can make shoes for them and be their hero, and make the shoes of your dreams too.
If you have your own shoe brand you will work hard, but you can control your schedule much more easily than if you worked for a footwear brand. You can avoid the burnout of those 12 hour days and long trips to China by being your own boss (and manufacturing closer to home).
Now I’m not saying everyone should start a shoe brand. It’s hard to sell shoes these days. But if you have a burning desire to start a shoe label, I can help. Have a look at my start-ups page, and book your free call when you’re ready to get started. It’s never too late.