Project Footwear is shaping the future of shoes
What is Project Footwear?
Project Footwear is a production and design studio founded in 2016 by Chris Ryan, a long-time footwear industry veteran and LA native, and is focused on creating the future of footwear. He is currently a member at our Gardena facility and operates out of a 2,650 sq ft space. A few years ago, as online sales started to eclipse brick and mortar, Chris noticed the need for a new link in the footwear supply chain.
“Project Footwear is a company I started as a product sourcing, as well as consulting business for manufacturers and wholesalers to bring their product to the US.”
Before starting his business, Chris spent a long time in the footwear industry, developing connections with major retailers and factories. Now, Project Footwear provides a full range of services that allow manufacturers to sell directly to consumers and boutiques, and its products can be found in over 500 independent retailers across the United States.
When Chris started his business in 2016, he wasn’t ready to sign up for a three or five-year contract for warehouse space, as he was still developing his business and wasn’t sure what size he needed. A few years later, Chris had secured a few larger clients, and at the end of 2017, he restarted his search for space to expand his business. After coming across a few options while researching online, Chris found ReadySpaces, which offered the flexibility he needed while focusing on expansion.
“When I started this business, I didn’t know what size I would need, there were a lot of unknowns… [ReadySpaces] provided flexibility, and it’s such a key thing these days.”
Additionally, with so many new unknown challenges like shipping delays and the fluctuating cost of doing business brought on by the pandemic, Chris hunkered down to focus on keeping his business going. Now, he is finally seeing his business come back to “normal,” and has pivoted his approach accordingly.
Chris was able to find a larger space that matched his company’s unique needs, from developing new products and shipping out individual as well as bulk orders at a moment’s notice. He took advantage of the government assistance offered, which allowed him to re-tool his approach for the now vastly different business landscape he was in.
With COVID restrictions slowly being lifted and trade shows coming back into the fold, Chris was able to focus on finding new ways to find success with Project Footwear.
“Now, when I go to Shoe Shows (trade shows in the footwear industry), people are finally coming back, which is great for us. I’ve opened a lot of new accounts,”
He is now seeing a lot more demand with new boutiques and e-tailers that have opened up in the last two years.
“‘Main Street’ is strong and healthy, and the ‘bedroom communities’ are flourishing.”
After surviving through unexpected times and a quickly changing world, Chris was able to steer Project Footwear in a new direction. Now, he’s back to designing new product lines and is excited about the future of footwear.
To learn more about Project Footwear, visit their website: https://www.projectfootwear.com/