How to Start a Shoe Line

Wanting to get your name out there for a shoe is easy if you're the Simmons sisters, but what if you aren't? Here's some pointers.

1. Begin with your shoe's design. You'll need to draw out what you would like each one of your shoes would look like - would it be a stiletto, pump, or sneaker? Your drawing should be fully detailed and your illustrations should be very vivid-colorful with possibly samples of what material you would like to use like polyester or cotton.

2. Decide if you want to license your shoe line or manufacture it yourself. Regardless of which one you want to do, it will cost you up front, but you'll get it back in earnings of your shoe line. If you license your shoe line that means that another another company pays you for a license to manufacture and sells your potential show line.

The shoe line puts your name, but the company that manufactures your shoe line will stamp their name as well. The benefits of licensing is that the process of manufacturing, the cost of factory set up, materials and labor is the responsibility of the company who licensed your shoe line. Look closely at the licensing contract because you could possibly pay a fee for your licensing rights or you could get a percentage of sales from your shoe line.

If you manufacture the shoe line yourself, the cost if your preference-the profits could be larger down the line.

3. Create a sell sheet for your shoe line. If you want to license your shoe line, you'll have to sell your shoe line concept to a company that has the business and capital to make your shoe line a reality. You'll need your drawings, a strong sales pitch and other materials that will land you a prosperous licensing deal. Your sell sheet should have detail information about the quality of your shoe line as well as the shoe design and your target market.

Be sure to include information about special benefits that give your shoe line an advantage and makes your shoe line an ideal threat to other shoe lines. Once you got your presentation information together, begin writing query letters to top shoe companies. Be sure to give a brief background information about yourself and description of your shoe line, then request a meeting to fully present your business proposition.

4. Attend fashion trade shows if you want to manufacture your shoe line on your own. You'll need a prototype of your shoes to display at a fashion trade show. You can keep up with upcoming fashion shows by reading fashion magazines.

5. Apply for trademark and patent protection before you present your shoe line to anyone.