Hello, I’m Amy Anfot, founder of TXXX., a premium women’s shoe brand. Today, I’m sharing my tips and tricks on how to find footwear supplier and create your shoe brand based on my experience. I’m sharing my journey of building my business, not to gain a considerable following. It’s more like a way to document my journey and help anyone who wants to start their shoe brand. Because they know how hard it can be, especially for brand founders with no similar background experience in fashion or footwear design. So I just wanted to share everything I’ve learned with them.
How you find your footwear supplier becomes one of the questions that most people ask when starting a shoe brand. A shoe brand and any start-up company will have this question. Today I’m going to focus on how to find a footwear manufacturer because I think my approach is very doable.
I started my business when I was only 25 years old. I don’t think age matters when it comes to creating a business. Honestly, if you know what you want, you can do it, so you have to forget your age. But I’m trying to make the point that even if you’re young and inexperienced, you must use your initiative when finding a shoe manufacturer.
Sometimes when you ask how to find a footwear vendor, people don’t always tell you. I don’t think you should ask those people. It will help if you put a lot of effort into finding your future manufacturer. When I started my footwear brand, I needed help finding somebody to create a footwear brand or anything like that, so I didn’t have anybody to ask. I just did the work started researching, and found some needed things.
The first shoe manufacturer I came across was from Italy. I did a lot of research on this manufacturer, did a lot of Google searches for the information I needed, and called this Italian manufacturer. Their product was made in Italy, but it wasn’t the kind of shoe I wanted to produce and was costly. I struggled to find a shoe factory, and I researched them. I once called a supplier in Vietnam, and I said I found you online. I asked him if he could produce the shoes I wanted and if I could visit their factory.
Then I visited them, and I had a conversation with them. So I would say the first thing to do is to use your initiative and not expect to get answers from other people. I mean, they worked hard to create their shoe or clothing brand, don’t ask where their manufacturer is or where they get their manufactured stuff from. Some people are willing and happy to help, but I don’t think it’s helpful to call people and ask them questions, especially if you don’t know them. Of course, if you know them and have a good relationship with them, that’s a different story.
The ideal shoe supplier I found came from China. Honestly, they are an excellent supplier of shoes. I sometimes think they try to bother me with pricing, but they are perfect. They produce quality shoes, which is what I need. Because I have a quality brand, and their communication is always excellent. I send them an email unless it’s a weekend, and they respond to my emails quickly, which is also great. Their shipping is fantastic, and they know what they’re doing, so I think that’s a great find for me. Other factories like Vietnam, India, etc., can’t compare with them. A good supplier can save you a lot of trouble and prevent a lot of future drama.
The ways to find a footwear supplier
Now let’s see how to find a footwear supplier. I have four ways. You can leave your comments if you know more suitable ways to find a shoe manufacturer.
When you’re starting your business, Google is your best friend. From the time I started my business in 2015 until now, I’ve used Google to search for everything. When I needed to learn how to create and what to do, my first stop was Google. I used Google to search for everything I needed. Honestly, Google helped me find two great manufacturers, but it didn’t cost me a dime. You can find many suitable shoe suppliers through Google. But some people will say, why I didn’t find any. My friend, you have to try to use different search terms. For example: “footwear supplier,” “shoe manufacturer,” “shoe supplier,” and so on.
If you don’t get anything you specifically want, you will have to try different variations of your search terms. Honestly, it would help if you did some digging. Take your time with your first search, like if you search for a shoe manufacturer via Google and the only thing that comes up is a shoe store, not the manufacturer. Then you need to change your approach and keep looking.Yes, Google is your best friend. Also, you want to avoid looking at the first page of search results. Especially when it comes to something hard to find, you want to go to the second, third, fourth, and fifth pages. There you will sometimes have some real gems.
Also, suppose you are looking for manufacturers in a specific country/region, such as India. In that case, you can search for “footwear manufacturer in India.” If you are looking for Chinese manufacturers, you can search for “shoe manufacturer in China” or “Chinese shoe factory.” You can also search Google for
“How To Find The Best Shoe Manufacturers In China?”
“How To Find Private Label Sneaker Manufacturers?”
“How to find a good high heels manufacturer in China?”
“How To Find A Athletic Shoe Factory?”
I think these are all good ways to go.
As a business person, I would say social media has a lot of merits, and you’ll often find what you’re looking for through them.
When I think of social media, I think of Instagram. Many things can be found on social media, where finding manufacturers are at the top of our list. You want to check out the hashtags on Instagram. There are a lot of hashtags on Instagram that manufacturers are using. Let’s say you’re looking for shoe manufacturers, and you use some hashtags to search, for example, a #shoe manufacturer in china #shoe factory in china. Your search to see if any posts resonate with you. Do you find anything that might link to the manufacturer’s page, and if so, can you contact them? You see if they have a website, and you can also do that. There is also Linkedin. I like LinkedIn, but I think LinkedIn is underrated. There are also a lot of postings on LinkedIn with the hashtag. You can use #shoe manufacturer in china #shoe factory in china. Go search for it. I’m sure you’ll find a lot of valuable postings with your potential suppliers.
The fourth method is Alibaba. Alibaba is a Chinese marketplace where you can directly contact thousands of manufacturers and wholesalers. I haven’t sourced anything there. Because I know that there are many trading companies on Alibaba, not factories. I prefer to contact factories directly because I can get better prices and quality is guaranteed. Of course, you can also find the right supplier on Alibaba. If you are looking for shoe suppliers from Alibaba, you must be clear about what kind of products you need from them. To prevent scams, you should always ask for samples. And also, make sure you get samples and sample sizes are accurate, and the quality meets your requirements.
The last thing is sourcing agents; there are many sourcing agents out there. There are shoe studios, consultants, and things like that that you can work with. It pays to find your sourcing agent and work with these people. First of all, they have experience. They know where and how to find suitable footwear suppliers. Secondly, they have contacts that can be very helpful to you. All of this will take the pressure off of you. When finding your footwear supplier, you can contact these sourcing agents. It is convenient, but I would only say that you must be very careful in choosing the right sourcing agent. That’s a challenging thing to do too.
But I don’t know the specifics of working with a sourcing agency because I’ve never done it myself. But it’s a viable option. And then I would say the downside to working with one of those is the cost. Suppose you want to start a footwear brand on a budget and need more money to cover the costs of working with a sourcing agency. In that case, there are better options than this. Also, you have to worry about the scams that are out there. All of this is really up to you.