Dani went to Warwijk, Amsterdam last week to attend the “Future of Footwear Business Conference” at SLEM. SLEM is an international innovation and education institute for footwear, specialising in Technology (3D Printing), Consulting and Forecasting. Lots of students and entrepreneurs from all over the world come to SLEM to attend SLEM’s poplular, 9 months long “Masters in Footwear programme”.
Various speakers from companies like Etsy and Shapeways were invited at the seminar to talk about the latest trends in the footwear industry and changes that are going to happen on a global scale. Some of what was shared was that:
- we will move away from mass production to just in time production with the help of 3D printing
- humans are going to become creators again, make more handmade products, start to appreciate art and crafty things again and buy products that are durable and longer lasting (instead of buying lots of shoes per year, we will buy 1 pair of shoes per year on average, which is durable and made of good quality)
- smaller companies are now going global through the help of the internet and amazing platforms like Etsy and Shopsharing, selling products worldwide with little investment
- we will connect in ways that we’ve never done before and make agreements with each other globally that we’ve never done before
- we will start using foot scan apps on our mobile (once depth cameras become more popular) that will measure size, girth and depth of our feet in order for us to better understand whether the shoes sold online or in the shops will fit. (which will also help reduce shoe waste)
- businesses will have to reevaluate the processes involved within their footwear chain, from material sourcing to manufacturing, to ensure that these processes are socially and environmentally friendly and to communicate these processes transparently to their consumers.
- customers have emotionally evolved and are no longer just interested in the end product but they also want to be aware of how their product is made, where it’s made, what kind of materials have been used, chemicals used during the process and they want to understand how the price is made up to ensure they are paying a fair price for their product.
What was really lovely was that we were already aware of the importance of social & environmental responsibility, transparency with our customers about our processes, using just in time production and reaching out globally to make new connections with people. It felt great to have had that in our vision from the start and have that reflected back at us at the conference when listening to the speakers.
Dani also made some lovely connections with Anna Luise and Nicoline van Enter from SLEM as well as Daniel Bailey from Conceptkicks and Mr. Bailey, who can potentially help us with the further developments of our slippers once we’re ready to focus on a “sole-ution”. (Solution for our detachable outdoor sole)
It was a great day full of insights, amazing speakers and new innovative creations that will help us connect more with each other to reach our goals together.
…and last but not least, some pictures from funky creations at SLEM….