Skip to content

How to Start a Shoe Company: A Step-By-Step Guide

  • by
How to Start a Shoe Company: A Step-By-Step Guide

Shoes are both practical and fashionable items. Starting a shoe business presents an opportunity to build a regular stream of income while bringing people stylish items they’ll love and use daily. If you have a passion for footwear and entrepreneurship, determining how to start a shoe company could be your next venture. Let’s explore the ins and outs of creating a shoe brand and all the steps you’ll need to get started.

Step-By-Step Guide: How to Start a Shoe Company

Shoes may be your passion, but shoe businesses are like any other type of business. There are several processes you must complete before you can start selling your designs. Follow these steps for how to start your own shoe line and turn your passion for shoes into income today. 

Step One – Find Your Audience

The shoe market is a vast field. From men’s dress shoes to women’s casual shoes or high heels, everyone needs shoes — and that means your audience can vary dramatically. Avoid trying to appeal to more than one audience when starting a shoe company. Find your niche and master it before thinking about expansion. Consider researching the market and looking up trends via the National Shoe Retailer Association if you are struggling for inspiration.

Step Two — Create Your Designs

Not everyone is a master designer. Shoe businesses may decide to create unique apparel or sell shoes on behalf of other designers. Each option can be a success if you market in the right way. Take the time to invest in professional help if you lack design experience. Start with a few designs to get started and test the market before making any final decisions.

Step Three — Build Your Business Plan

All shoe businesses need a thorough business plan. Starting a shoe company means knowing your market, finances, marketing strategy, and goals. You might find this to be overwhelming, but there are plenty of free online business plan templates to guide you through the process.

Step Four — Get Funding

If you’re lucky enough to already have enough liquid cash to get started, you’re in the minority. Most new businesses need to secure external funding to make their dreams happen. While traditional lenders are an option, they’re usually hesitant about investing in startups. Get help starting a shoe business with financing from L3 Funding. The experts at L3 will guide you through different financing options, ranging from SBA loans to merchant cash advances. For all the knowledge you need in one place, L3 Funding has everything you need.

Step Five — Develop Your Brand

Who are you, and what do you stand for? Figuring out how to start a shoe line from scratch is about so much more than selling shoes — you have to determine why you’re starting this business in the first place. Think about Nike and Adidas as examples of exceptional branding. Their shoes are often secondary to the cultures and values they project as part of their brands. You’ve got several aspects of a brand that separates you from the crowd, such as:

  • Colors
  • Logo
  • Backstory 
  • Voice
  • Web design

Your brand will evolve, so don’t worry about getting everything right immediately. For now, focus on the basics and watch as your brand develops and changes with the times.

Step Six — Create Your Store

How are you going to sell your shoes? If you’re exclusively an eCommerce business, build a basic eCommerce platform via WordPress or Shopify. For brick-and-mortar shoe businesses, begin looking at appropriate locations and research any local licensing requirements. Your store should be the shop window of your branding plan. From shop displays to web designs, make sure you’ve created a consistent, memorable brand.

Step Seven — Put Together a Marketing Plan

Figuring out how to start a shoe line and make it successful is all about marketing. When you start a shoe business, you’re competing with everyone from independent retailers to major global conglomerates. Hone in on a marketing niche. Is your audience on Facebook or Instagram? Will you find them via traditional advertising on radio and billboards? Like the rest of your business plan, your marketing plan should have clearly defined goals and a budget attached.

Step Eight — Shipping and Logistics

Now that you know how to start a shoe business, you need to actually provide your customers with your product. How are you going to get your shoes to your customers in a safe, timely manner? Choose a reputable manufacturer with the ability to scale. Cutting costs by manufacturing overseas is one option, but it will mean reducing shipping speed which can affect your business. Depending on your model, you may be looking at dropshipping or investing in warehouse space when buying wholesale. Think about the most appropriate model for you and your customers before investigating different manufacturers.


At L3 Funding, we help thousands of entrepreneurs secure the funding they need to start their businesses. The crux of how to start a shoe company is getting the money you need to get your venture off the ground. If you’re ready to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit and launch an inspiring shoe line, let L3 Funding supply the financial services you need. From small business loans to microloans, it’s simple to secure that initial investment with our experts. To learn more about financing for new shoe businesses, apply for financing now.