New Shoe Concept in Women’s Fashion Shoes

Hi Brooke,

I just joined SCS in October. I’m so excited. I’m already seeing positive results in my life especially with my relationships.

One of the reasons I joined is because I have a new concept in women’s fashion shoes that I’m trying to turn into a business. The idea is to have a base stiletto shoe that can be switched out with different coverings to change the color and style to complement an outfit. So a woman can coordinate her shoes to match any outfit by switching the toe and heel coverings.

I came up with the idea last year when I always seemed to wear the same stiletto shoe when I went out because I knew it would be comfortable to wear for an evening. But I started to get bored with wearing the same beige shoe all the time so I began to think of a design for a shoe that could be easily modified with a variety of colors.

I’m a designer (in technology) and sculptor so I started working on some prototypes of the concept. Once I had a few of them, I showed them to my brother. He liked the idea and decided that he would like to invest in the idea! So we are partnering together on turning the design into a viable product. We have started to work with a shoe factory in China to develop prototypes that can work for manufacturing however there are still a lot of problems to be worked out as we try to work through the engineering of how the coverings are attached to the base shoe. Needless to say, its not any easy problem to solve since this concept has never been done before and we are inventing something completely new. Its exciting but also quite challenging since neither my brother nor I have any experience in shoe design or fashion design. Nor have either of us ever manufacture anything so working with the factory in China is very challenging because of cultural and language barriers and our lack of experience.

My question has to do with my brother and I and some of the problems we are encountering working together on this idea. I have ideas for solutions that he doesn’t agree with and vice versa. Also we have very different ideas about how to market the shoes. I feel strongly that e-commerce is the way to go and feel like social media like Facebook and Instagram should be our major method for selling our product. It will help us keep our costs down and it will allow us to reach a larger audience.

My brother is more old school and seems to be keen on traditional brick and mortar to sell the shoes.

I keep getting frustrated with our differing approaches and attitudes especially because I’m a woman and I know much more about women’s fashion than he does. He’s not particularly into fashion so its a bit of an odd partnership. However he likes the idea and is willing to invest some of his money to get the idea to market.

So I feel a bit that I have my hands tied since he can call the shots because he has the $$. I’m concerned that we won’t be able to come up with a viable solution because of these conflicting approaches and the idea will die on the vine. Or we won’t be able to come up with a product that will be cheap enough to sell to our market and sustain a business.

I don’t want this idea to die as I think its a great concept (lots of women I’ve spoken to love it.) But I’m struggling with how to resolve these core differences, and keep our relationship in tact. And ultimately make it into a viable business. The last thing I would want however is for this to cause a wedge in our relationship. We don’t have a great history of being close but in the last few years, we’ve become a lot closer.

He’s my older brother and is kind of the “wise one” who has always been successful and admired in my family. I’m the youngest and have always been less traditional, adventurous and artistic (translation: that equals flakey/slightly unstable in my family.)

Any suggestions or insights would be appreciated! Thanks!