Above is a video from the TV show TakePart Live on the Pivot Network. InSoul Footwear was invited on to discuss our Dress Sneaker. Great exposure for our project.
What is a DRESS SNEAKER? Sneaker styled upper with a dress shoe chassis (Outsole/construction)
What makes a Dress Sneaker better than a sneaker? A Dress Sneaker gets better with time by softening and conforming to the shape of your foot, similar to a dress shoe. A sneaker gets worse the more you wear them. The comfort component of a sneaker compresses and eventually becomes hard and bad for the foot.
How is a Dress Sneaker made differently? A sneaker is made in a large manufacturing plant that mass produces million of shoes. The sneaker gets passed down an assembly line so no one person ever has ownership of it throughout the process wording more about the quantity than the quality. A Dress Sneaker/dress shoe is made in a small artisan's shop where one cobbler/craftsman takes full ownership of each and ever shoe. They have passion for their craft as a art form and pride in what their shop delivers to the public.
About 5 years ago I reached out to a friend who worked at an expensive dress shoe factory and asked them to make me a sneaker using all of the quality and craftsmanship they used on the dress shoes. I wanted the shoes to appear like a sneaker at the first glance, but at a second look see the details were actually hand made by an authentic quality shoe maker.
InSoul is a brand that celebrates the evolution of shoes/sneakers. The brand's core stems from American Sports styling but aspires to compete with the detailing of a wealthy italian brand. The line is all about details (leathers, linings, laces, eyelets, stitching, etc...). The shoe shapes are understandable.
The name InSoul is an obvious play on the word "insole" but spelled "soul" to embrace the tie between music culture and the sneaker culture. Hip Hop music is currently associated with sneaker culture but InSoul seeks to celebrate the "soul music" that many artists take their inspiration from (samples). Using this foundation will hopefully give kids and their parents common ground to enjoy the brand's product and lifestyle.
Product Creation & Manufacturing Plan:
Although complex by nature, our manufacturing plan is quite simple to execute. We have partnered with a small family owned and operated factory. They have been with us from the inception of our project, crafting our initial development prototypes and beautiful sales samples. We have negotiated pre-payment terms in order to manufacture our initial production runs. Together we have agreed to keep production order quantities smaller to ensure quality craftsmanship standards and traditional shoemaking techniques are used to assemble each and every pair of InSoul dress sneakers.
Design Phase (sketching, materials, and colors)
1st Round Prototypes
A huge milestone to reach, 1st round prototypes were our first opportunity to see our beautifully illustrated 2-dimentional concept become a product in hand. We had already made the decision to execute development with a small dress shoe factory because their thorough understanding of the subtleties needed to make these samples more than just another pair of sneakers. Our 1st round wasn’t far from our mark. Upon review we made a few major changes and several detailed revisions, ultimately investing in another development round.
2nd Round Prototypes
The completion of our 2nd round prototypes was a huge success. Our initial requested revisions were executed without flaw. Pattern proportions were corrected, details precisely executed, general esthetics were achieved, and the overall fit and comfort were completed. We felt confident moving forward with our desired 3 color ways.
If all goes well, Kickstarter will help us raise enough money to order the minimum first round of production (1000 pairs total). We will pre-pay the factory for the raw materials, labor, packaging, and shipping. The factory will then proceed to order the raw materials. This could take up to 12 weeks before all parts are received. Once in hand the project managers will schedule production space in the factory. We plan to meet with the team to view pre-production samples for final approval.
Production of the 1000 pairs can take up to 30 days to complete due to the smaller factory size and the nature of hand made shoes. Next we will be in the shipping phase. The shoes will arrive in the United States approximately 45-60 day later. Upon arrival we will have to ensure that our product can clear customs.
Our team will personally pick and process each pair of shoes purchased. We will ship each customer their order via USPS or Fed Ex and will email everyone specific tracking numbers for their records. The process maybe labor intensive but will be the most exciting part for our team.
We ask everyone to please make a pledge so we can afford to get production started which will ultimately give our brand a chance to get off the ground. We will then be able to further pursue building this brand from the bottom up and push to provide the footwear industry with a diverse product that speaks to US, the consumer, for all occasions in our lives. Thank You for Your Support!
We will make the following improvements during production:
1.) Lining will be stitch & turned to eliminate frayed edges.
2.) Black canvas on the low top version will be darker, see high top for reference.
3.) White colorways will be ALL LEATHER!
4.) Yes, the low & high top brown colors are different, Low is "Dark Brown" and High is "Brown".
5.) SPECIAL NOTE: Some natural variations in the leather and finishing details are to be expected. The leather & canvas are hand oiled adding some darker/lighter variations to each pair. The "handmade" processes will result in a subtle, yet beautiful perfect level of imperfections.
Risks and challenges
There are always risks and challenges when launching a new project from the ground up, however my small team is well experienced with strong backgrounds in the footwear industry.
The KEY ingredient missing for this project to become reality is the financial support. Our biggest obstacle is the fact that we need to pre-pay our small factory in order for 1st round production runs to be started. With your pledges and support here on Kickstarter we can make this happen. We WILL reach our goals, pre-pay our small factory and launch the original DRESS SNEAKERS by InSoul Footwear.
And just a reminder for all our backers: If we don't raise the funds enough to meet our GOAL, our project WON'T receive any of the partial funding.....Kickstarter is ALL or NOTHING!
UPDATE: THIS IS A RELAUNCH!!!!!! Below is the email we sent our current backers explaining why we relaunched.
We have some EXCITING NEWS to share with you. We have re-negotiated with our factory.
1.). REDUCED the cost of EACH PAIR... we are passing the SAVINGS directly to you.
-Low style is now $159. You save $36! (It was $195)
-High style is now $179. You save $46! (It was $225)
2.) Pledge Goal of $60k from $195k
-The factory has allowed us to open a smaller initial production run.
-This will significantly increase our chances of reaching our goal.
HERE'S THE CATCH:
In order to make these revisions to the project, we have to:
1.) CANCEL all of our current pledges
2.) Make the revisions to our Kickstarter campaign
3.) RE-LAUNCH the whole project from scratch
4.). Ask our backers to RE-PLEDGE
As a BACKER, you will have to RE-DO your pledge to InSoul Footwear "Dress Sneaker".
RISK: We risk loosing a few backers who don't make their re-pledge, but we feel very strongly about passing the savings onto our solid supporters and are confident this modification will ensure a successful project all together.
Thank you for support us and looking forward to your new pledge.
InSoul Footwear TeamLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (32 days)