How to Start a Shoe Line

If you've got an eye for fashion and a passion for shoes, turn your love into a business by starting your own shoe line. With some preparation and hard work, you can start your own shoe line by following these tips:

  1. Study fashion design You might already have shoe designs pouring out of you, but to be successful you need an adequate education. Shoe designers usually need an associate's or bachelor's degree in fashion design from one of the 300 programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Since you want to start your own business, you should combine your studies with business, marketing or fashion merchandising [source: BLS].
  2. Create a business plan From your education, you should be able to figure what your start-up costs will be and how to come up with the money. Investigate the insurance, taxes and other legal ramifications of starting your own shoe design business.
  3. Register your business and trademark your brand Fashion is always about names. You can use your own name or come up with a catchy name for your shoe line that will attract interest. Register your business under that name and trademark it so no one can steal your ideas or sales [source: Harper].
  4. Make patterns and samples Well, this is why you're here. Make up some patterns and samples to show potential customers, vendors and investors what you can do.
  5. Start manufacturing your designs You designed your product line, now make some shoes to sell. Start with a small initial inventory and increase production as sales increase.
  6. Market your line You need to get your name out there to generate business. Create a professional Web site showing off and selling your shoe line. Find small fashion magazines and stores that will sell or advertise your line. Market your line to major fashion brands and shoe stores. Under the wing of a large and well-established designer, your shoe line and your name can really flourish. Don't be afraid to be creative and try innovative ways to marketing your line [source: Princecroft Willis].