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Archive for the ‘Inside Crocs’ Category

The following is a post from one our AMAZING summer interns, Caitlin O’Brien. Caitlin was a huge part of making last week’s visit by the Top 10 Crocs Ambassador Finalists a huge success. Thanks again, Caitlin.

Top 10 Finalists at The St. Julien Hotel

As a marketing intern for Crocs this summer, I had the privilege of helping out with the Vitamin C Ambassadors Program this past week. The 10 finalists came to Boulder, Colorado for an exciting few days. Preceding their arrival, I was so nervous for no practical reason, maybe it was just excitement, that I calmed my nerves by memorizing everyone names with a simple description. Chris the pool floater, Kelsey the jumper, Lorraine the runner, and Kat the first pitch lady were some of the nick names I came up with based on their profiles.

I met everyone Wednesday night at the savvy St. Julien Hotel where we enjoyed beverages and appetizers. After mingling for a few hours, we went over the itinerary and a few brave ambassadors strolled around Pearl Street, where I aided as a tour guide. It was no surprise that the highlight of Pearl Street was the Crocs store. Looking rather majestic that night, the new Crocs store was shortly surrounded by six or so Crocs lovers all wearing Crocs, cameras in-hand. I had forgotten my camera but I sure would have liked to take pictures of the madness – both humorous and inspiring.

My first pair of Buff Crocs!

The next day began sharply at 9am in the Crocs store’s conference room. Under lock and key, the ambassadors and I got a real treat – a preview of the product lines for both fall/holiday 2010 and spring/summer 2011! Everyone was “wowed,” so be sure to stay tuned for the new collections. Everyone’s excitement turned to hunger and we enjoyed fabulous tapas at The Med. (There was no shortage of great food on this trip.) After lunch, the ambassadors were assigned a challenge, and I was asked to participate. We were instructed to go visit a local hot spot and write a sample blog. Mine, probably being the least creative, reflected on my school pride and spirit. It was a trip to my school’s football stadium, Folsom Field. GO BUFFS! Folsom field is also the site where I purchased my first pair of Crocs, CU buffalo Beach Crocs. Everyone shared their experiences that night at Centro, a Mexican restaurant on Pearl Street. Chris, Amy, Jon and I shared lobster nachos.

The last day arrived and we all met up at the Tea House for some breakfast. Well all except for one. I had to rescue Amy a good twenty blocks away. Unfortunately, she walked right past the Tea House and kept on walking. Was it her comfy Crocs? The first half of the day was spent getting everyone to their one-on-one interviews, photos, and video blogs in a timely fashion. Sorry guys for being a bit frazzled with time restrictions. And, thank you to my dearest Farrah Crocs for keeping my feet sore-free. We then said our farewells over root beer floats at the West End Tavern with more food. What a great couple of days. Good luck to the 10 finalists. I already miss you all!

Last lunch on rooftop of Westend

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Cheng Kue, Senior Designer for Men's Footwear

Late last week, I had the opportunity to sit down with one of our men’s footwear designers. Meet Cheng Kue, Senior Footwear Designer for the Men’s product line:

Why Crocs?

This is a great opportunity for me since Crocs is a young company. To be able to come in and make a big difference in terms of design –not everything is set in stone. So, there are still a lot of processes and designs that I could come in and impact.

Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration is grounded in my product background. My inspiration comes from the automotive industry. You can look at automotives as a transportation design, and, I think, as footwear designers we are also considered transportation designers. Designing footwear has to go beyond functionality. Consumers have an emotional connection to their footwear.  I look at creating new trends, and at other industries like transportation, furniture, architecture — basically any types of products in the market that are creating a buzz or have something more to give than just a fad.

In your opinion, how has technology advanced footwear design?

The great thing about technology is that it’s actually made life a lot easier. We have these great tools to be able to utilize and are able to create the products we visualized in our minds. From a process standpoint, a lot of the sketching still starts as a thumbnail sketch in a sketchbook. But, it evolves from that by using the Wacom Cintiq (a digital tablet). By using softwares such as Alias Sketchbook Pro, Photoshop and Illustrator you can really create something stunning and show off the overall product as opposed to doing everything with a marker. These tools bring it to life both rapidly and efficiently.

What are some common trends you see emerging in the footwear design industry?

Well, Crocs has created its own trend with molded footwear. Before Crocs ever got into the market, you seldom saw molded footwear. It was definitely more boutique. When Crocs came into the market, we came in with the Cayman/Classic and received acceptance from the consumer that wearing fully molded footwear was okay, to where it was in common use. I think we have started to combine many different types of common silhouettes that we would see in a regular shoe and made it ours and that’s truly the way to be successful.

What advice would you give someone interested in pursuing a career in footwear design?

As a footwear designer, you should take in everything you’ve learned as a product designer. You have to kind of rework it and think a little differently. It’s a special breed to be really successful in footwear. You can’t think of footwear as another PDA (personal digital assistant). I mean footwear doesn’t really work like that. It’ all about taking the old and creating the new and then coming to the table with something that is commercial and compelling. And I think, as designers, we’re always trying to create something compelling not just commercial. The opposite of that would be to create something completely commercial but never compelling without any point of view. As designers, we have to almost take ourselves out of our own “what would I wear” mode and design for what the target consumer would wear.

How do you measure success?

In footwear, people measure success in the amount of pairs you sell. But for me, my personal successes were not in the highest selling shoes but with the shoes that made the biggest impact, the biggest difference in the industry, and stood out to the consumer. You can design shoes that are very commercial, like I said, you’ll sell lots of them but you won’t make any kind of compelling story or your story won’t be heard.

Success, in my career, has always been about the products that push the limit of what goes on your foot. I think of footwear as more than just a shoe, it has to be something more than that if you really want to push the boundaries of what a shoe represents. I’ve had many successes in designing basketball and running shoes that have made both a statement and introduced unheard-of technology in the market.

At Crocs, I will feel successful when I see men truly accept wearing fully-molded products, or true Crocs products, and really stand behind them because of what it represents not because of what people tell them.

Are you one of those people who love to watch the “making of” segments on DVDs? Are you are fan of the VH1 series Behind the Music? Maybe you are like me in that you have an innate curiosity about the way things work. If so, then this new blog feature is right up your alley.

Welcome to our new series, Inside Crocs, where we will take readers “behind the scenes” of the company from corner to corner. First up, is Footwear Design.

Kathy Santos, Senior Designer of Women's Footwear

Ever wonder where Crocs shoes begin? Who is behind these great designs? Earlier this week, I sat down with Kathy Santos, Senior Designer for Women’s Footwear and 13- year veteran of the footwear industry to ask these questions and more.

Crocs: Why Crocs?

KS: I thought Crocs was a great fit for me–the customer-base. I worked for a lot of years in this kind of mainstream- primarily women- consumer base, so it felt like a really good fit.

Crocs: Designers traditionally find inspiration in a very diverse range of places. Where do you find your inspiration?

KS: I trend constantly. It’s something that I do everyday. It’s understanding what is going in the world in many facets. I also love looking at fabrics and materials for inspiration. Apparel and house wares also give me great inspiration.

Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes

Crocs: What about designing women’s shoes appeals to you?

KS: I haven’t always done just women’s product. I enjoy it because I think women are fun. They’re bold with color and they’re bold with print, and they always want newness. It’s amazing, just by combining things in a different way, you can take something that they’re familiar with, do it in a new way, and it can be all fresh, new and exciting.

Crocs: What advice would you give to students/professionals who want to pursue a career in footwear?

KS: Love what you do. Follow your heart. If you love it and have a passion for it, then you’re in the right place. Get the right skills and design your passion… you’ll be fine.

Crocs: Anything else you’d like to share?

KS: It’s always a team effort. No designer is an island. It’s always a team effort to come up with great product that will sell to our consumer and be right for the brand.

Thank you, Kathy, for sitting down with us. Keep up the great work!

Last week, I posted a question on our Facebook Fan page:

Within minutes, our fans lit UP the page with their replies. And, the variety in their replies was astounding. Our fans (and consequently, their shoes) have been all over the globe! From the Las Vegas strip to the Dead Sea, Crocs fans have traveled the world in comfort. Here’s a small sample:

This topic, got me thinking more about the journey that our shoes take on this planet. And, where does that journey actually begin? In the next couple of weeks, we will take a closer look at the adventures our shoes take, from the drawing board to the foot. We’ll begin a feature called, “Crocs-Around the World,” where each week we will visit a region of the globe and what daily life is like for a pair of shoes in each locale.

In addition to “Crocs- Around the World,” we will also be interviewing some of our in-house product designers and learning more about how Crocs are created (from drawing board to production line). Where do they find inspiration? What influences colors? Styles?

Stay tuned, everyone, and see you back here soon.

Walking down the halls here at Crocs today you notice a common theme – red.  Americans nationwide are wearing red today to raise awareness surrounding women’s heart disease and prevention.  Check out three Crocs team members decked out in red, including two of our winter favorites – the McCall and the Lydia LJ Plaid.

The song America The Beautiful was written by Katharine Lee Bates on a visit to Pikes Peak in Colorado in 1883.  Lots of people when they hear that song have probably thought, “That’s ridiculous, mountains aren’t purple!” but those of us who live in Colorado can attest that the mountains really do turn purple in the morning if you catch them before sunrise.

It’s kind of like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, you might not be able to prove it, but if you happen to wake up at the right time on the right day, you might just catch them in the act.

Below are some photos of a purply sunrise one Crocs staffer snapped on her drive into work via Golden last week.

Hello everyone! Here at Crocs we are back in the office and definitely ready for spring. With snow on the ground, and more on the way, I sure am glad that Colorado has 300 days of sunshine a year. We have a lot of fun things planned for 2010, and we’re excited that you’re along for the ride.

Stay tuned for Crocs news via Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow @CrocsOnline  on Twitter for the best deals on Crocs shoes!

Here’s a sneak peak of the snow here in Niwot: