Footwear startups no longer have to go it alone.
Amy Berkowitz and Kelly Molinari, co-founders of recently launched Ready-2-Launch and Ready-to-Rep, a fashion consulting firm based in Highland Beach, Fla., offer new businesses assistance with everything from sourcing and marketing to distribution through a network of sales representatives.
Berkowitz, a professor at Miami International University of Art & Design who specializes in footwear design, illustration and construction, teamed with Molinari, a former management consultant, to launch the enterprise after repeated requests from her students as well as outsiders for tips about entering the shoe industry. “I get at least five emails a week,” said Berkowitz.
In addition to footwear entrepreneurs, Berkowitz and Molinari also work with those who want to launch apparel and accessories lines. However, she noted, 90 percent of requests are currently footwear based.
Most recently, the two have been working with former Miami International University student Andrea Vivas, as well as up-and-comer Lina Gutierrez.
Gutierrez is in the process of launching Carmelinas, a collection of flats from Spain.
And Vivas’ line of canvas looks made in Mexico, called AVH, was introduced in fall ’12. The designer, who began work on the collection while in school, offers a range of printed styles, mostly in mismatched prints that complement one another. Retailing from $85 to $90, AVH is available in Snappy Turtle in Delray Beach, Fla., and Footsies Footware in Fort Meyers, Fla.
“It’s exciting to see people who have a dream and [help] make it happen for them,” said Berkowitz.