I recently finished one of the funnest design experiences that I’ve had in life, which resulted in the creation of my newest product— “Peculiar Steps.” With these shoes, my painstaking attention to the subtle design details made the creation process last a total of five months…five wonderful, sleepless, caramel macchiato fueled months.
A year and a half ago, I had the opportunity to customize my favorite sneaker on the planet: the Nike Air Force One. In doing so, I had to make sure that the shoe wasn’t only attractive, but also easy to clean, created with quality materials and could be worn with a variety of outfits. It took me a total of about five hours to design this sneaker and I had a deep reasoning behind every color and material that I chose. The shoe was intended to be striking, but yet subdued without drawing a lot of attention, and I enjoyed designing it.
After this experience, I wanted complete freedom to design a shoe shoe out of anything that tickled my fancy—even play doe! I started my search for shoe companies that would allow me the freedom to be the artistic, control freak that I am, and after interviewing numerous companies I settled on a good match. Shortly after initiating the business relationship, we worked together on a daily basis for weeks in order to turn my concepts into reality, but in the process there were two main challenges that emerged:
1) Language: The company was located in China, which meant that there was a slight language barrier when discussing complex terms. As a result, I picked up a little bit of Mandarin Chinese and they learned A LOT of English. This language barrier caused some pretty hilarious telephone calls where I couldn’t stop myself from hysterically laughing in the middle of our conversations. 對不起!
2) Time: Due to the location, there was a 12 hour time difference between us. This caused me to spend long nighttime hours at a Starbucks that I grew fond of, which was 30 miles away from my house . This also meant that they had to work longer hours to accommodate my schedule.
The result of our long hours of work resulted in this shoe that I call “Peculiar Steps: Volume 1.” As with the majority of my designs, this shoe features a high-contrast design of a white rubber sole and a black genuine leather upper. It is designed as a fashionable casual loafer that features a slight sheen to the leather and a bright white sole that is easy to clean with soap and water on a rag. These shoes have extra cushion on the inside so they’re comfortable to wear and it has the Peculiar PPL insignia on the insole.
Since this is my first Peculiar shoe from scratch, I ordered a limited production run of 50 pairs of shoes. Of those 50 shoes, I will be donating a few of them to high-potential, Peculiar PPL who are in-need, and I will sell the remaining pairs on PeculiarPPL.com beginning Friday, April 13th. I call this shoe “Volume 1” because there will be additional footwear products in the future, in which I will use the lessons learned while creating this shoe to improve on the final product. In addition to creating a pair of shoes that I’m proud of, I am currently working with the manufacturing company in order to enhance their order fulfillment and quality assurance process. It feels good to have such a great impact with something that started as a seemingly impossible dream
I started this process thinking that it would be incredibly difficult and nearly impossible to create a shoe if I wasn’t a shoe industry professional, but after breaking the barriers between myself and a new industry, I am confident that I can do it again and again. This aligns perfectly with the vision of the Peculiar PPL brand, which is “To make High-Quality, Peculiar Goods for High-Quality, Peculiar PPL” Because of this, I will continue to match the best quality goods with a great customer experience in order to keep making steps (pun intended) towards a well-rounded product line of essential, Peculiar Goods for life!
This shoe is the beginning of something great and I’m enjoying the journey!