I’ve always said your products are only as good as the materials you source. Sourcing materials and components is crucial to creating new collections of footwear and knowing where to get them from is just as important and it’s especially more important when you or your clients are working on a budget.
I’m going to walk you through my journey on sourcing materials in Guangzhou China earlier this summer for a new collection of footwear I am developing for the India domestic market.
I live in Brooklyn NYC and fly Emirates out of JFK to Dubai on the 11am flight. With a quick stopover in Dubai to handle some business with a local shoe retailer for Omar Bailey Footwear it takes 22 hours for me to get to Guangzhou.
I don’t know exactly how many times I’ve been to Asia but I’ve been there at least 60 times, and I’ve paid my dues flying economy on many occasions, so now when I get that business class upgrade I’m going to enjoy it.
Arrive to Guangzhou (CAN)
After arriving pretty late at night and grabbing a quick bite to eat at the hotel I start to get my game plan ready for the next couple of days when I’m in the materials market.
Sourcing materials can be very overwhelming if you let it be. In the GZ shoe market there are literally hundreds of options but you have to stick to your plan. I try to keep notes on me as a reminder of what I need to focus on. On this particular trip I was looking for some dope women’s sneaker soles for the Athleasure categories. In addition to that I was looking for embossed and textured neoprenes, pre moulded TPU components, and cool closure components.
I always try to look for things that are unique and I have never seen before and that is sometimes very difficult to do. If you know anything about china then you know there the masters of copies and as you go from shop to shop you will see the same things over and over again. Wither it’s Nike Vapor max soles or ballenciga copies its all right there out in the open, but beneath that all and with time and a whole lot of patients there are gems that exist and you know it when you find it, and that shit feels good.
Sourcing is exhausting and that shit can wipe you out, so after a few days of it and placing orders for samples of soles, materials and components I usually head to the factory wither it be in china or India to start my work with the sample room.
When I am in the factory we will make mock up samples and experiment with the materials I just purchased. I cant really describe it but when you create something that works using exiting components it’s just a feeling that you and your team can feel. I guess the best way to describe is like writing a hit song…you know when you hear it (btw-I have no experience with writing hit songs. ha)
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