If you know me, then you know that I am always on the move and most of these moves typically happen on the international level. Wither it be China, Brazil, India, or Dubai my career and many of my business relationships have been shaped by my travels.
Between Mid January and February I will be on the road handling multiple aspects of my shoe business from my launching my own brand, finalizing shoe collections with my clients, and starting completely new projects.
In part one of this series of post titled “Around the world in 30 days” I will give you some insight on exactly what I am doing and where I am doing it.
Day 1 (1/10/18): Brooklyn, NY
Usually when I am taking a trip this long for me preparation is key. I have to cross every “T” and dot every “I”. This means having a project check list and making sure I am carrying any samples, reference shoes, materials, or documents related to all the projects I am working on. While I am traveling I spend 80% of my time working when I am not in a factory or office which basically means I don’t sleep. I do have one rule however, I don’t like to work while I am in transit so on airplanes, trains, boats or buses I do not like to work. It is the only piece that I can seem to get when I travel and I like it that way, and a matter of fact I hate that there is wifi on planes now…it drives me crazy. I will however do IG post but that is more fun than work for me.
My lovely fiancé Allison drops me off at JFK for my late night flight to Milan were I start my 30 day journey. My first 6 days of my trip will be between Dusseldorf, Germany and London England. I cannot write a post like this without mentioning Emirates, I switched from United to Emirates and this is something I wish I would have done years ago. For me comfort and convenience is important when traveling like this, and trust me Ive paid my dues over the years with taking shity flights from point A to point B but there is nothing like having an airline you travel with consistently, I really does make all the difference.
Day 3 (1/12/18): Dusseldorf, Germany
After almost a day of traveling with a direct flight to Milan and a connection via Amsterdam (my old stomping grounds) I had to get some rest and get ready for my first meeting to kick off this business trip.
2018 marks the official launch of Omar Bailey Footwear. After being in the shoe business for all of my adult life (since 20 years of age, I am 35 now) I am now launching my own brand for the first time. Since starting my consulting business in 2006 I was the person who was hired to help those who wanted to start there own brands. Some were successful and some were not for all different reasons, but I like to tell people that by being in the position I was in I was able to witness first hand why new brands succeed or crash and burn. Without going into much detail the one common denominator is….the people behind the brand, and I will leave it at that. Money is also very important but it all starts with the leadership.
My first meeting in Dusseldorf was with a showroom I was connected with through a mutual friend. They expressed some interest in my brand because it was different and this particular showroom is known for introducing new brands and products into the European market. My story for OBF is that the shoes are handmade in New York City and in case you didn’t know there is not much of a shoe production culture left in the United States, so this caught there attention and I decided to make the trip to Germany and bring some gifts along as well…4 pairs from my SS18 collection.
I am a big believer in “Showing up” and making yourself present especially when you want something bad enough. Sometimes you cant sit and wait for someone to do it for you, so after multiple conversations with these people I decided to make Germany apart of my travel itinerary. This is a quality that has always worked well for me from my college internship days to now because it catches people off guard and they usually end up having a ton of respect for you afterword.
The meeting went well, and the shoes were received well and I got to learn a little more about how the retail business works in Europe as it relates to my brand. As they say…Rome was not built overnight and building businesses takes time, but the goal is that the seeds you plant today will bloom later on and this is were follow up and persistence are very important.
Day 5 (1/14/18): London, U.K.
After my meeting in Dusseldorf and getting sometime to myself to enjoy the city and see some awesome cars which was my favorite part outside of my business I headed to London to see my boy and brother from another mother Daniel Bailey. Daniel and I go way back to our days when we were trying to figure out our way through the crazy shoe business in NYC. It was also my first time in London so that was dope as well, but after being on the move so much for the days prior in Germany it was nice to slow things down a bit. I had some much needed computer work I needed to get done and new shoe projects that I needed to get started on.
Day 8 (1/17/18): Dubai, U.A.E.
After a great trip in London catching up on some work and getting to see my boys Daniel and Luke as well as making some new friend’s it was now time to change my focus to my brand Omar Bailey Footwear. As I mentioned earlier January 2018 is the launch of my SS2018 collection in Dubai. In Feb 2017, I established a relationship with Level Shoes in Dubai which is known as one of the best shoe department stores in the world. Just 2 weeks earlier I shipped the first order to there store and wanted to stop by to make sure everything was good in terms of clearing customs. I also needed to meet with there sales and branding team to discuss the displays and our shared marketing responsibilities for the collection. Its important that both parties bring something to the table when it comes to marketing so one party is not completely depending on the other to sell there shoes.
Unfortunately the shoes were still clearing customs and I was not able to see the shoes on display as I wanted, which is fine and not that big of a deal.
After my meeting I had a couple days to enjoy Dubai. Ive been to Dubai many times already (8 times in 2017) so I have a pretty good understanding on the city and how things work there. I personally love it and depending on what part of town your in you will get a different experience.
This time I chose to stay in the Marina district a-pose to downtown which reminds me of Miami Beach mixed with a little Las Vegas. Although I’m from NY I grew up in South Florida and I have always loved being around water. Dubai is just dope from the design, innovation, the flashy cars, etc. I understand I could have a very different feeling if I lived there full-time but as a visitor its a great place.
Day 12 (1/21/18): New Delhi, India
After a positive experience in Dubai with my brand and enjoying the city its time for me to continue my journey East…Next stop New Delhi, India. Since November 2016 I have been the creative director for Lotto india. If your not familiar with Lotto then look them up when you get a chance. They started in the earlier 70’s just like Nike and establish themselves has a top performance brand in just about every market outside of the united states…in other words there a huge fu#@!*& company. I have been working with there India division for over year and I am now on my 3rd season with them. Last year alone I was in India 10 months out of the year and in this past fall between Sept and November I was cranking out styles for the FW18 season (my 3rd season).
My primary responsibility is to help this brand reshape there creative direction and introduce new styles and new thinking to the market. If you follow markets outside of the United States and China you would know that India is on the up and up, and every brand, and businessman wants there piece of this place. India is new to many of the things we have enjoyed in the west for so long when it comes to fashion, technology, and culture and I am doing my part to help them infuse this into there products.
I am in india to give final approvals on samples and to be present for our FW2018 collection preview and presentation to all of our retail partners throughout india. If you ever worked at a large shoe company then you know many of these things usually come down to the 11th hour wither your still making samples, making pattern adjustments, waiting for supplier deliveries, etc. its always “all hands on deck” until the curtain opens.
So as of today or as you read this I am still india and will be for another week before I head to Hong Kong, and Mainland China before I return to India to attend the trade show for FW2018 collection before going back to NYC on Feb 10th. Check out my IG for stories and post @thekicksfactorynyc or @omarbaileyfootwear to follow my journey on this trip and future ones as well. I will be writing a Part 2 at some point once this trip has concluded when I am back in Brooklyn or chilling on the beach in Mexico with my girl for vacation.
I hope you enjoyed, and to be continued….
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