Titled “Big Dreams and Rising Stars,” a panel discussion included designer Dana Davis, designer and blogger Celine Ouaknine and author and blogger Meghan Cleary and was moderated by Jennet Chow, founder and designer of Evolution Design Lab.
The panel shared their personal stories, as well as addressed a wide-ranging assortment of issues from balancing work and family, to launching new lines, working with factories, and building effective business teams.
Davis cautioned attendees to make sure they have the financial backing necessary for a successful shoe launch before proceeding. “You’re going to need three times as much capital as you think,” she said.
Later, Davis encouraged attendees to get certified pedorthic training to increase their knowledge of the feet. “I make everyone in my company get training,” she said. “It’s such amazing training for anyone working with footwear.”
For those looking to jumpstart their footwear careers, Ouaknine recommended an internship at a footwear company, as well as attending a footwear-specific design school. “I went to a shoe design school in Italy called Ars Sutoria,” she said. “But I would recommend people have some shoe experience before they go.”
Chow spoke about trying to achieve a balance of work and life, but advised the audience that it’s a continual challenge and one they will all likely lose. “I have found that there really is no such thing [as separating work and life],” she said.
Her advice: “Your life is your design so fill it up with things you love to do.”