Lindsay Milner-Sigmund is a Sneaker Essentials graduate who applied her learnings from the online course to her position in the footwear business. Currently, she is the Vice President of Vida Design. Because of her student success, she is currently a contributor in the newest, Footwear Business Foundations course led by FIT and Footwear News. Read more about why she chose Sneaker Essentials for her next steps and how this led to her success in the field.
Sneaker Essentials is very different from the current offering of online classes or courses in art school.
I knew Sneaker Essentials was for me right when I saw it on Instagram. I wanted to be more inspired by the athletic world. And sneakers, in general, are a big passion of mine. So once I saw it, I just knew that I needed to be exposed to that side of the industry. Having a background in the dress footwear category meant that athletic shoes were not something I'd previously gotten the experience to work in. Sneaker Essentials is very different from the current offerings of online classes or courses in art school. It is so specific.
The sneakers category is important regardless of whether you're going to an athletic company or a dress company. It's imperative now to incorporate some features of athletic shoes into dress shoes. Whether that be technology, flexibility, padding, or outsoles — you can kind of merge together some of these concepts to generate some creative and exciting products. That is novel to the footwear industry.
My favorite part of Sneaker Essentials was the design module of the course. I enjoyed taking these ideas that had been in my head and putting them down on paper. I felt these projects that I did in the Sneaker Essentials course were mine. I felt an attachment to all the sketches and projects I did during this class. They were not for what I was already working on for work. They weren't "work." It was passion. It allowed me to open up creatively and hone in on the athletic category.
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Within the footwear industry, casual shoes have dominated the market in the past year. Any business needs to have a healthy balance of casual and dress. Suppose a dress product primarily defines your business. In that case, you know that segment is trending down, and you have a problem. Whereas if you have a balanced collection of casual and dress products working, you are in a much better market position to get through the lows. Taking Sneakers Essentials helped me build up more of the casual segment by learning more about sneakers, sketching sneakers, and diving into that world.
Before I started Sneaker Essentials, I was already in the footwear industry. I worked primarily on the dress footwear category. But sneakers were always kind of my passion. So I wanted to get more involved and incorporate more sneakers in this growing casual category to existing dress businesses.
I also just wanted to be more inspired. Sneakers are a big passion of mine, and I wanted to feel more creative. I wanted to dive into that side of my design and development process — learn more and create a sneaker-specific portfolio, which I'm so proud of. Now that's morphed into this whole new direction for me, it's been a success and beneficial to my career. The program really helped me redefine the brands that I was currently working on and reminded me of why that category is so important to incorporate into any brand or business to have a balanced assortment.