Independent Shoe Designer: Christopher Dixon
Anyone in business knows there are the fun things, and the not so fun things. While ShuEsq spent over two years sometimes doing some of the “not so fun” things in developing our brand, this past February we quickly realized that one of the fun aspects of operating a shoe store was attending trade shows. Trade shows give owners and buyers the opportunity to view and purchase a variety of merchandise from multiple designers and companies. In all transparency, one of our initial barriers was purchasing some inventory without the full opportunity to touch and feel it. Some of our launching delays were a result of returning a multitude of shoes that we did not believe best represented our brand.
So walking the numerous halls of the tradeshow in the Las Vegas Convention Center was extremely exciting because we were granted the opportunity to make hands-on purchasing decisions. And in the midst of this excitement, upon approaching the Christopher Coy collection we immediately knew we found a gem! Of course, ShuEsq is about procuring one of a kind shoe gems at a one stop shop. But, what was even better about attending the tradeshow and finding this gem of a collection, is the actual opportunity to meet the designer himself, Christopher Dixon!
So what is the Christopher Coy Collection? Christopher Dixon describes his collection as a footwear line with iconic dual heels providing comfort and stability for the fashion forward woman, rewarding women with the opportunity to look and feel beautiful throughout their entire day, thus experiencing true luxury. An overview of these keywords leaves no doubt as to why ShuEsq was intrigued. Where else have you seen dual heels? And what woman doesn’t want to be rewarded while wearing hawt shoes?
Christopher believes the one word to describe his line is “innovative”. We could not agree more. Christopher uses “innovative” as the ultimate descriptor because the collection takes an existing style of footwear and makes it better. Upon first look, Christopher states that people either think his line is different or interesting. And to him, both of those descriptors are great in his eyes. We agree as ShuEsq styles can come off to some people as “too unique”. However, being different is at the core of ShuEsq’s brand, and not providing unique shoes would be contrary to our vision. You have to be ok with people not buying into your vision or brand, as long as you know they can identify it.
So what does the shoe design process look like? Christopher learned the correct process through the Pensole Footwear Design Academy where he began with a design brief detailing who, what, and why a design was being created. The process begins with deep research and then proceeds through ideation or sketching. While attending tradeshows to ShuEsq is fun, Christopher states that the ideation and sketching process is the most fun to him. Next, the process involves rendering a realistic drawing of the final design, which can be digital or hand drawn. Lastly, the process ends with the technical drawing that the designer sends to the factory! What an intense and exciting process your shoes go through before they even make it to your feet!
An intense process that allowed Christopher to discover the comfort problem in the design of women’s heeled shoes. How many of us have asked ourselves, why can’t heels be comfortable? Christopher made a decision to try and solve this problem through his own unique way. But, this was not the only problem he was faced with throughout this shoe designing process. Guess what? Christopher did not know anything past drawing shoes! He, however, did not use his lack of skills as an excuse but instead sought to learn by doing and making mistakes. Christopher asked questions, and even when no answers were provided he moved forward by making his own calculated decisions.
Through it all, Christopher never gave up on his vision. ShuEsq knows all too well about not receiving adequate answers and making calculated decisions. We did not have a wealth of knowledge about running a business, specifically a shoe business, outside of knowing we needed to legally incorporate and knowing how to purchase a pair of shoes. In the initial stages, we sought help from many sources, sometimes leading us to dead ends and ultimately forcing us to rely on our own undiscovered skills and gifts. We have turned into marketing specialist and graphic designers when we started this process as merely attorneys who loved shoes.
What is also interesting about Christopher’s journey is that he started as an aspiring sneaker designer with the desire to work for brand giant Nike or Jordan. Upon graduation, he was offered the opportunity to present his portfolio to Serena Williams. On the spot, she hired him to work on women’s high heeled shoes. Talk about being prepared for your moment! Dreamers, we have to be prepared for our moments that can come in an instant.
But, Christopher’s collaboration does not end there. He continued to work on his idea and then introduced it to his close friend Cortland Finnegan, of the Carolina Panthers. Cortland loved Christopher’s idea of meshing his love for performance into fashion. Ultimately, Cortland decided to pursue the line as a business. ShuEsq too knows the power in discussing ideas with friends. The birth of ShuEsq stemmed from a conversation while multitasking between “working” and purchasing shoes online. Ashley O., Esq. jokingly suggested to Asya M., Esq, that she should fund Ashley’s future shoe business. Later, while at a birthday celebration, Asya M., Esq. brought up starting the business as a serious conversation because she admitted that she previously had approached another person about opening a shoe store. Realizing that in the moment two people with a dream were on the same page, ShuEsq has been planning ever since. So Dreamers, don’t be hesitant to discuss your ideas with your friends or others. You never know what those conversations can birth.
So what advice does Christopher have for not only those of you who want to design shoes, but also can apply to those of you pursuing dreams? First, Christopher recommends reading Believe and Achieve by Howard H. White and Rules of the Red Rubber Ball by Kevin Carroll. He credits these books with helping him early in his journey. Christopher also states, “Know that it will be a long journey, but while going through the journey connect with like-minded individuals. Ask questions, make mistakes, set high goals and compete with yourself. Practice creates confidence. Enjoy the process and see it to the end. Win or lose”. That is a word Dreamers!
Once on your journey to your dreams, you have to always take into account the future and how your dream will move forward. In thinking about the importance of this, ShuEsq asked Christopher who he would like to collaborate with in the future? His response was those who are non-footwear designers: Artist Miya Bailey, Car Designer Chip Foose, Fashion Influencer Marjorie Harvey, and Architect Alejandro Aravena. If you’re scratching your head as to why Christopher made these choices, just know it is a testament of his creative and innovative mind, which is brilliantly reflected in the Christopher Coy Collection! In the future, Christopher also desires to make an impact like designer Javier Laval who created a niche of luxury sneakers and the entire luxury industry followed his path. Christopher is further inspired by Jeremy Salle [owner/designer of new brand Freeman Plat and lead designer at Reebok] because he works a corporate job and runs his own company all at the same time. #DreamMoreThanOneDream
Ultimately, ShuEsq is excited about the collection and the future possibilities to offer a few designs from the Christopher Coy collection. In the meantime, you can take a further look at the collection here…