The school season is one of the busiest and most advertised seasons for the footwear industry either in the manufacturing side or the retail side of the business. On the design and product development end, designs has to be ready by the fourth quarter of the previous year and samples has to be done before the year ends. On the retailer’s end, stock for the school shoes has to be in as early as March, and launching of new products by the first week of April, with a second wave of incoming deliveries between April and May. This involves countless meetings for specifications, approval and coordination with manufacturers which drives my merchandisers crazy which also drives me crazy while continuously planning for product line up. The sales force has to be oriented with the new collections and monitoring of sales is paramount to check if my collections were effective. Footwear manufacturers should be busy from January to February with full swing productions by March which may last till the month of May and tapering off to a slow pace.
I always have a very different view of school shoes because I’ve always believed that it doesn’t have to be boring, it doesn’t have to be so utilitarian.
Shoes, for me is all about sexiness, so I always find a way to incorporate this principle to an everyday wear such as the school shoes. Even when I was still working with Disney’s footwear brands for kids such as Minnie, Mickey, Pooh, HSM or Pirates of the Caribbean (the license is owned by Office Depot), one of the top selling ones in the local market (because I never got Barbie out of the number one spot).
During my one year stay with Office Depot, heading their R&D department, me and my team of artists laid down a new trend for the kid’s shoes by adding prints and emboss on the upper lining and the insole lining making it really attractive even if the upper material were all back. Producing great contrast with the black uppers (sorry, I wasn’t able to keep paictures). It was a hit. The Barbie brand of Ritchwell caught on fast, joined by other brands such as Hello Kitty, Disney Princess, etc.
Two years ago, this was the school shoes collection I launched for Effegi, which is a footwear line for ladies category available at SM department stores. Still sticking to my principle, I used the red lining for the upper and toned it down with gray insole lining that was metallic matte; basic black on the outside and eye-popping color on the inside which does not come across as trying too hard, unlike the school shoes of other brands.
Still not your ordinary looking school shoes, a sporty look with great choices from a simple slip-on to Mary Janes and slip-on with ankle strap. And of course comfort and fitting is a priority as much as the design. The sales forecast exceeded our stock appropriations that I computed for the sales projection, the owner was too conservative to approve such quantity, which was a sad thing because then we missed some sales by not stocking up.
Look out for my next features on the basic school and office heeled and wedge pumps.