In this section we will explore our journey of finding the perfect bottom unit and share with the community our top things to consider whilst on our search. We hope that this will provide insight to help the design community create their own labels and make footwear creation more accessible.
Our aim is simple - to represent the community further by seeing their designs made. In order to do this we will run a #lacelesschallenge, where the winner who is chosen by consumers, will have this opportunity. In this initial project, in order to mitigate high mold costs, we chose together with you, a bottom unit on which the design community can unleash their creativity.
In choosing, our first question to ourselves was where will we produce the shoes? As we will discuss in a later blog, we have a great partner just outside of Shanghai. Therefore since we need something that gets to our sourcing partner fast and a supplier relationship that they are going to be familiar with so we narrow our search to asian producers.
Experienced, respected and reliable. You will see the vibram logo right across the industry from trend leaders brand black to top performance brands like The North Face. This italian brand make in europe and in asia and you are more or less guaranteed a top spec outsole, if you are prepared to pay for it. MOQs can be low and account for just shy of $10 for a bottom unit here without shipping.
Some other similar top end suppliers to check out are: Gommus, finproject.
A collection of many supplier at low cost. If you are sourcing from asia on a shoestring budget, it's worth taking a look at the options available. The easy interface allows you to speak directly to the agents for the suppliers. You will find generally MOQs are set for large production orders but often are negotiable. You can generally ask for a sample but expect to pay shipping, however it's worth doing as high quality is also not guaranteed.
We recommend maotaigroup as a good supplier to work with but expect high MOQs.
OUR BOTTOM UNIT
We chose to partner with vibram to ensure a great quality shoe for the designer and to create with low MOQs just enough to cover costs.
In the last blog we talked about trends and hence to choose our outsole we went about getting a direction from the community for what silhouette will shape the industry next. This gave us an indicator what type of silhouette our community would be inspired to design on. Based on the results we narrowed down to two inspiring bottom units - PLUMP and MANEGO. But we didn’t choose between them, you did. We opened it up for the community to decide and over 550 of you had your say.
So here it is, PLUMP, your bottom unit. A top end piece ready to be made into YOUR shoe. We can't wait to see what the community creates together.