February 2013 Newsletter

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February 2013 Newsletter

Categories: Two Ten News


Thank you to those who donated to the Two Ten Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund. This special appeal raised 109% of the $125,000 goal.  The foundation received a record number of calls in the first few weeks following the storm and, thanks to your generosity, Two Ten helped 463 footwear families, awarding $291,100 in emergency assistance.  Link to Sandy Donor Report (PDF)


“I’ve always had a knack for building strong teams and organizations that help people.  I can’t imagine doing anything else,” says Neal Newman, Two Ten President.  Since coming on board in January last year, Neal has brought new energy into the foundation, surrounding himself with a team that is mission focused and driven to make Two Ten more nimble and inclusive. He has spent the last thirty years leading high-performance nonprofit organizations in the United States and Europe and could not be happier with the home he has found in the footwear industry.

Neal spent his formative years in Brooklyn, NY. as a small forward on the high school basketball team.  He played an important role, although admittedly not for his scoring ability. “You’re not the fastest guy on the team or the most powerful” said the coach, “but you unite us.  Do something special with that in your life.”  These words played an instrumental role in his career successes and his role as a loving husband and father of two.  A desire to be closer to family brought him to Dublin, Ireland in 1995, where his love of tennis, hiking and soccer were well received. It was during this time that he established the award-winning consulting practice Philanthropia International specializing in international development, philanthropy and major donor programs.  Now back “stateside” he is enjoying is new position at Two Ten, while the family is quickly getting used to the change of scenery. “I love my work, and I love my downtime with family and friends too,” he says, “at the end of the day the relationships you form are essential for a happy life alongside a fulfilling career.”

It’s been an exciting year at Two Ten.”  Says Neal, “We have increased our visibility, and more people are involved and engaged than ever before.” Million dollar gifts from Steve and Wendy Madden and the National Shoe Travelers Association (NST) capped off a very successful fundraising year ending with a an Annual Dinner that raised over $2 million.  “Heart. Camaraderie. Compassion. The footwear industry is differentiated by these three values,” says Neal, “this is what fuels Two Ten today.”  100% of funds raised from the footwear industry go right back to help footwear workers in need. One year ago, in an interview with Footwear News, Neal promised to “raise more money, help more people, and increase our impact.” He has made good on his promise, a trend he will continue for the foreseeable future.


Two Ten Footwear Foundation Launches First National Community Service Week

52 footwear companies have united in the industry’s first ever National Footwear Community Service Week, April 21-27, which coincides with National Volunteer Week. Footwear companies around the nation choose one day during which they provide action and help to support local communities.   It could involve gathering and distributing donations for a local food bank, pitching in with community service projects, or providing other assistance.

Activities are already scheduled for more than 2,500 individuals, helping out in 38 towns and cities across the US, including New York, Boston, Columbus, Los Angeles, and St. Louis.

“Footwear companies have a spirit of generosity unmatched by any other industry in the USA.  Footwear Cares is just one remarkable example of just how deep footwear companies are committed to improving the quality of life in our local communities where we live, work and play.” said Two Ten Footwear Foundation President Neal Newman.

Chairman of the Two Ten Board, Jim Salzano, President of The Clarks Companies, N.A., said, “I am delighted that we will be harnessing the good will already brimming over from our Two Ten companies and their workers. Involvement in Two Ten has always been about doing the right thing. Now, that mission will be more visible than ever.”

“National Footwear Community Service Week is a wonderful way for companies from the footwear industry to give back while reminding ourselves that we all work toward common goals,” said Steve Madden, founder of Steve Madden, Ltd. We couldn’t agree more.

Click here learn more about National Footwear Community Service Week, or to register for a volunteer event.



Cobblers and Cordwainers – Old World Craftsmanship Meets Modern Times

A strong desire to preserve the craft of hand shoe making unites the community of cobblers and cordwainers.  Many believe that an educational gap exists between footwear industry professionals and those making shoes by hand and they are committed to passing this knowledge on to those curious enough to explore new sources of information.  Lisa Sorrell of Sorrell Custom Boots, and David Ulan of The Cobbler & Cordwainer LTD, share a skilled devotion to the craft and a desire to share over sixty-five years of combined experience with eager students looking to learn and develop their understanding of footwear construction. It is an education that can support a student’s aspirations to thrive in any area of the footwear industry.

David Ulan – “Enjoy the Journey”

David Ulan has spent the last four decades as both a cobbler and a cordwainer and is careful to make the distinction between the two. “A cobbler is one who repairs or reworks old materials, cordwainers always work in new materials,” he says.  David is a master under both titles and impacts the lives of many through his work in footwear construction and education.

David began to learn the shoe trade in 1969 and by 1977 he had started his own business, The Cobbler & Cordwainer LTD offering shoe repair and alteration, recreational footwear resoling and custom shoe creations to customers looking for a perfect fit and often times, added stability. He is a Certified Pedorthist who specializes in creating footwear that prevent or improve painful or disabling conditions of the foot and ankle. “Moments can be life changing, when people walk comfortably for the first time” he says.  Each pair of shoes is custom made for each customer, requiring personal visits, measurements and lengthy conversations to determine the best solution to what can be, an extremely challenging issue.  Some of his most challenging cases involve customers afflicted with neuropathy, requiring a shoe that doesn’t touch the foot.  A challenge he accepts and successfully accomplishes.

His combined knowledge of the foot and the craft make him the perfect information resource for those looking to learn.  As a Professor of Footwear Design and Construction at Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.), in New York, David teaches skills for working with a last, along with patternmaking, sewing, construction, and finishing techniques for closed shoes. “These are old world techniques that are gaining momentum in an age of information,”  he says. “Given the prevalence of information now a days, it becomes easier for people get a taste from what they find on the web,” and once they have a taste, they often end up looking to learn more. “They end up developing an appetite for shoes and start experimenting on their own.” But he cautions anyone who thinks they’ll learn it all through class instruction alone. It is a large endeavor, “by definition this is a trade of repetition. In order to make one thing, you have to do it twice” says David, “it takes one hundred pairs before you start making something you like, so you’d better enjoy the journey.”

Learn more about David Ulan at www.cobcord.com or take one of his classes at F.I.T.

Lisa Sorrell – “I’m a boot maker, not a cowboy”

“Learning about how something is made, specifically learning about something that’s made for you, brings a sense of connection and empowerment.” Says Lisa Sorrell, of Sorrell Custom Boots.  In her twenty-three years as a bespoke boot maker, she has acquired an unparalleled passion for what she does, a wealth of information on how it’s done, and a strong desire to teach people how to do it.

Lisa started sewing professionally at age 15 and began learning the craft of boot making soon afterwards.  Since then she has established herself as one of the premier bespoke boot makers in the world.  She specializes in the use of inlay and overlay techniques to create beautiful boots that reflect the personality of the customer and the skill of construction.  Over the course of two weeks, she chooses the leathers and customizes a wooden boot last to reflect the customer’s measurements and specifications. This last is then kept in house, in case the customer chooses to add to their collection in the future.  “My clients are not just boot buyers,” Lisa says; “they are patrons of a historic craft.” It is a craft that she hopes will not be lost to future generations of the U.S. footwear industry.

I believe that people today are removed from the act and process of making things,” says Lisa, and she is committed to bridging that information gap. As a teacher, she is exited to see the many new directions in which students apply what they have learned.  Her classes are always full, with a robust waiting list of enthusiastic people, interested in learning to work with fine leathers.  The techniques she teaches are largely un-documented; a problem she is looking to rectify in a book that will be educational, visually appealing and most importantly, supportive of the learning process. By introducing this craft to new students, she hopes to encourage growth in the field, which in turn, can only increase demand for exceptional leathers, something that she is constantly on the hunt for.

You can learn more about Lisa Sorrell at www.customboots.net and watch her videos of boot making.


Become more effective in your creative role, write inspirational product briefs and gain a clear understanding of why designers are “the most important people on the planet” according to D’Wayne Edwards, Pensole Founder and industry icon. Pensole Footwear Design Academy, in partnership with Two Ten, will launch a series for three-day CAPSOLES targeted at footwear designers, material and color designers, material developers, product managers and line builders with less than five years experience. The goal is to increase the knowledge base of footwear design professionals and to develop future leaders of the industry.  Classes are filling up fast but registration is still open.

Capsole One: Material Design
Instructor: Suzette Henry, Materials Director, PENSOLE
Date: March 8-10, 2013
Location: Two Ten Footwear Foundation, Waltham MA
Register Here

Overview: Materials matter. Become more effective in your creative role by learning the fundamentals of CMF (color, materials, finishes), building a supplier network, and gaining the knowledge to become an expert in the design process. This class is interactive, filled with valuable insights, industry experts, and a gather list of materials you’ll use in your current role.

Capsole Two: By Design
Instructor: D’Wayne Edwards, Founder, PENSOLE
Date: March 25 – 27, 2013 (updated)
Location: Two Ten Footwear Foundation, Waltham MA
Register Here

Overview: This is a three-day fellowship exclusively for designers that will help them understand why they are the most important people on the planet. Each day will focus on a different topic, including: professionalism, leadership, new thinking, be inspired, storytelling, better design, concept development, research, process, personal development and communication. At the end of these three days, those who attend will have a different outlook on design and what it takes to be one of the most important people on the planet!

Capsole Three: You Got Briefed!
D’Wayne Edwards-Founder, PENSOLE
Date: April 1 – 3, 2013 (updated)
Location: Two Ten Footwear Foundation, Waltham MA
Register Here

Overview: Have you ever wondered how to write a product brief that will inspire your designers to create a new and better product? Come hang out with Pensole for three days, as they provide you the tools to inspire you to write better briefs, better understand how your designers think and what inspires them, develop a better relationship with your designers, and create new and better product. D’Wayne Edwards has worked with some of the best product marketing people and merchandisers in the business over the past two decades and he will share that knowledge and experience in You Got Briefed!


“You can’t put a price on the depth of knowledge you get from Ars Sutoria,” says Lauren Fox, Associate Designer, Brown Shoe Co.  She was one of the twenty students who recently attended the five-day instructional program at Two Ten’s offices in Waltham, MA. They came to gain a greater understanding of the production process associated with different types of shoe construction and were also given a deeper knowledge of the materials used in each stage of the process. “In short, this is years of experience concentrated into one week,” says Ry Avery, Product Developer at Nunn Bush, who received a Two Ten $2500 scholarship to learn from the best.

Some of the students who attended the training program had less than three years of experience as footwear designers, developers, managers, merchandisers, or engineers.  The volume of information they received surely tested their note-taking capabilities and gave them endless areas of exploration to fuel their curiosity. “I am a very curious person,” says Ry, “a lot questions have been answered, but those answers formulate new questions and I’m looking forward to pulling at those threads.” Students with more industry experience were able to support their acquired skills and knowledge by gaining a greater understanding of how to use them; giving them a different perspective on an old construction technique or material. Chris Ciccarelli, Senior Footwear Engineer at Timberland, took the course for the second time under the tutelage of Paolo Marenghe and Andrea Montagna and walked away with a deeper understanding of the skills he developed, saying, “It’s not just about measurements, proportions and execution; it’s about finessing; it’s about nuance; and it’s about trade offs. Paolo and Andrea represent and communicate that very well.”

The Ars Sutoria program is lead by Paolo Marenghe and Wendy Sani who travel from Milan to teach courses at FFANY and Two Ten. They are joined by Andrea Montagna from Apego Footwear Mold Architects.  The next course offering at Two Ten will be on September 9-13, 2013. To learn more about the program and apply for a Two Ten Scholarship, please visit www.arssutoria.com. Pictures from last week’s class can be found on our facebook page.


The mission of National Shoe Travelers (NST) is to significantly improve the well being of traveling sales representatives who work within the footwear industry.  They provide their members with information, education, benefits and a solid network of peers who they can rely on.  “We are all about reps helping reps,” says Terry Bastis, NST President and Two Ten long-time supporter.  [more]

In May of 2012, NST made a $1.5 million contribution to Two Ten to set up the NST Endowment Fund, which now provides a permanent legacy with Two Ten to be able to financially assist the shoe traveler in times of need. This fund has already provided shoe sales reps with $41,000 in the six months of 2012.  “We want to do even more with Two Ten in the future,” says Terry.

The shift in the economy coupled with an Internet sales explosion has been a challenge for the traveling footwear sales rep. “The amount of business done on the internet hurts independent retailers which in turn, limit sales through independent reps,” says Terry.  “Most sales reps now rely on straight commission, no draw and no benefits.” The NST / Two Ten partnership can help reps who are facing difficult times. Go to www.mynst.org to find out more.


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