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👠How to Start a Shoemaking Business: A Step-By-Step-Guide

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Are you looking for advice on how to start a shoemaking business?  If so, you’re reading the right blog.

In this article, I’ll answer the following questions for you:

  • Is the shoemaking business profitable?
  • How does a shoemaking business make money?
  • What are the start-up costs for shoemaking business?
  • How do I know if the shoemaking business is a good fit for me?
  • How to Start a Shoemaking Business step by step?

Read on because I’m going to tell you all I can. 

Is the shoemaking business profitable?

The global footwear market valued at $365.5 billion in 2020 is estimated to grow to $530.3 billion by 2027. Although China, Vietnam, India, and Indonesia lead the shoe industry, most of the global footwear market revenue is generated in the United States. The best selling product in the market is leather shoes. However, you have a great business opportunity in the athletic segment also. (Source: Thomas).

Nonetheless, business profits do not arise because the industry is growing. Of course, industry profits are an indicator of a business’s demand. To make profits, you need to set an income target and budget and make sure that your income consistently exceeds your expenses.

How does the Shoemaking business make money? 

Shoemakers make money by selling shoes and shoe accessories. You can make money by selling shoes to wholesalers, retailers, or directly to consumers. 

Depending on the scale of your operation, you can sell shoes in retail stores, online, or both. Some shoemakers create their e-commerce websites or sell on Amazon and eBay.

You can also partner with other businesses selling fashion products like bags and apparel and sell your shoes in locations like:

  • On their store shelves
  • To their customers
  • Cross-sell with other products they’re selling
  • Or, get paid for referring customers as an affiliate

What are the start-up costs for the Shoemaking business?

A shoemaking business requires significant investment in the beginning. You have to purchase raw material and maintain a shoe inventory, and for that, you need to rent a space and invest in some shoe designing and manufacturing tools. You may also need to invest in the following to operate your business:

  • Labor charges
  • Licencing and registrations
  • Website
  • Advertising and promotions
  • Packaging and distribution
  • Transportation and logistics
  • And, Other operational costs

If you want to cut costs, it may be best to start by dropshipping or being an affiliate of a shoe business that’s already in operation–this way, you can begin to make revenue without the costs of materials, inventory, licensing, packaging, and distribution.

How do I Know the Shoemaking business is a good option for me?

If shoe designing is your passion, you can turn your interest into a business opportunity. However, running your own business requires good management and marketing skills. 

If you’re creative and analytical, then the shoemaking business might be a good fit for you. In my opinion, before taking a step forward, you should do thorough research and speak to a business expert to understand the footwear industry.

How to start a Shoemaking business step-by-step

Here, I’ve rounded up the simple steps from planning to making money in a shoemaking business so you can get the venture up and running.

1. Create a Business Plan

A well-documented business plan can take you a long way. It’s a roadmap to guide you through your entrepreneurial journey and help you stay on track. From deciding on a brand name to developing your marketing strategy, your business plan should contain all the details about your business.

Your target customers

The shoe industry serves a wide range of customers, from children to senior citizens, and fashion models to athletes. Identifying your target audience can help you invest time, money, and energy in the right direction. 

You must decide who you want to sell the shoes to. Would you make shoes for children, adults, or the elderly, or athletes? Would you like to sell to budget shoppers or cater to the luxury segment?

You must identify your niche and define your target customers accordingly.


It’s important to decide in advance how to fund each business expense. You have to decide whether you’ll invest income from your job, your savings, raise funds from family, friends, and other supporters, or take a loan It’s a good idea to consult a financial expert for funding options that will best suit your business.

Prices and services

Research the industry prices and study your competition to decide a price for your shoes. Don’t keep it too high or too low in comparison to other shoe sellers. You can charge your customers a premium price if you provide them with better quality, better service, or more convenience than other brands in the market.

Marketing and advertising

A shoemaking business is highly competitive. Thus, a good marketing and advertising strategy are critical to establish your brand and get your business going. 

Mention in your business plan how you want to promote your business and how much you would spend on each advertising channel.  Study your competition and find out how they’re advertising their brands. 

Make digital marketing and social media advertising a crucial part of your marketing plan.

In the next few steps, I’ll explain how to promote your business online.


Set a revenue target for your business. How much is enough to keep you in the game? With an income goal, you can set sales targets and manage your expenses well.

Click here to download our free business plan template.

After you’re ready with a plan, complete all the legal formalities to establish your business. 

2. Incorporate

Establishing a legal entity is critical to protecting yourself from personal liability should your business run into legal trouble. You can set up your company as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited company.

Legal services such as  Incfile and Swyft Filings can guide you on the best way to start up. They also keep the records, help you with the annual reporting, payment of taxes, and other legal requirements you may need to keep your business running.

Get licenses and permits

You may or may not need licenses and permits to run your shoe business. Conditions and fees may vary depending on the location and type of incorporation. Failure to obtain these licenses can lead to legal problems. Click here to learn more about your state licensing requirements. 

You have a plan, and your business is registered. Now is the time to take action and promote your brand. How does it work?

3. Build a Website and Social Media Presence

These days, you cannot ignore the importance of having a website in marketing your business. More than 80% of your customers search for shoes online and then shop online or offline at a retail store. 

21% of the total footwear market revenue is generated via online sales (source: Thomas). So invest in a website and show high-quality pictures of your shoes, talk about what sets your brand apart. Give your clients reasons to explore your designs.

Remember, when looking for a shoe, your customers will come across many shoe options. How do you make sure they see your website? To do this, you need to optimize your website with the Google search engine to show your shoes when a customer searches for shoes online. I recommend hiring an experienced digital marketer for this job.

Create a business account on social media

Don’t forget to set up your social media pages. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter have millions of active users. Most fashion brands are converting businesses on Instagram. You can reach your target group directly via their social media accounts and turn them into your customers.

All you have to do is show off high-quality pictures of your shoes, promote them with great captions and hashtags, and connect with your customers through comments and messages.

You may need to hire an expert to manage your social media accounts and constantly promote your brand there. But if done right, these platforms can build your fan club in no time.

I recommend the following platforms to get you started with website building and digital marketing:

Bigscoots Hosting: Offers custom WordPress hosting plans to make it quick and easy for you to store your content.

Leadpages: It provides a landing page builder, so you can design your shoe making website in a way that gets visitors to take action.

4. Map your Customer Journey

With so many online and offline buying mediums, it can be challenging to understand your customers’ buyer persona and purchase cycle. Therefore, to hit the right chord and precisely reach the right customers, you need to map your customers’ journey.

Understanding their preferences is the key: 

  • What types of shoes do they search for
  • Are your customers making an online purchase
  • Do they prefer formal or casual shoes
  • What kind of shoe material do they look for
  • Do they bundle up their shoe purchase with other accessories like a pair of socks or bags?

Studying your customers’ buying journey will help you understand them better and reach them with the right offers.

5. Get More People to Know About Your Business

You may have hundreds of other shoe sellers to compete with; How do you make the cut? How do you get more people to know about your business? Selling fashion products is not easy. Fashion trends change frequently, and therefore the buyer preferences change. To keep your shoe brand in demand, you need to:

  • Let people talk about you. Ask your customers to write feedback and recommendations.
  • Make special offers that keep customers coming back
  • Optimize your website to rank high in the SERPs
  • Promote your shoes on social media. Create quality content on places like Facebook and Instagram
  • Ask your family and friends to tell others about what you’re doing
  • Share your website and social media accounts
  • Connect with shoe retailers and offer them a bulk discount

There are many more ways you can promote your business. Schedule a Free Consultation to understand how to make more people familiar with your business. Also, check out our Star-tup Entrepreneur’s Toolkit.

6. Sell Your Product or Service

Selling becomes easy with proper business planning. However, choosing the right sales channel for your business is critical.  A brick-and-mortar store requires significant investments. To begin with, you can set up an online store, and as you grow, you can invest your income in setting up a store that customers can step in.

Software such as ThriveCart E-commerce and Shopify E-Commerce provides a convenient platform for selling online. You can use them to set up an online store, upload pictures and descriptions of your cards, attract customers and make sales.

Make Money

These steps can help you meet your income goals. But it shouldn’t stop there. The footwear industry is very competitive, especially when you consider the competition from online stores. You have to keep improving your processes to meet your business goals and deliver something extraordinary out of your business. Here are some things you need to do consistently to achieve your goals:

  • Evaluate and set goals and a plan
  • Promote your shoe brand consistently
  • Network with the right wholesalers and retailers
  • Track your customers’ buying behavior
  • Maintain the legal and financial requirements of your local area
  • Improve the design and quality of your shoes as you get customer feedback


Starting a shoe business is a challenge to grow and stay in it. The competition is fierce, and people with the right business plan and a solid strategy are more likely to succeed. If you’re ready to build a strong shoe making business, Book here to speak with a marketing pro about the next steps. Quality mentorship can help you sail through the tough times as an entrepreneur.

Ready to Take the Next Step to Grow Your Business? If so, Start Here

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