Footwear entrepreneurs usually identify a gap in the market when starting out. What's missing? What's needed?
That's what two former students, Meline Katchi and Mike Megrabyan, asked. At the time, they were studying at the London College of Fashion and the Art Center College of Design, respectively. Katchi, who now holds a masters in footwear design, said the two often found themselves creating quick design templates to meet tight deadlines at school. And Palette Studio was born.
The design tools brand, currently sold online, features a collection of journals packed with everything from basic footwear terminology to basic sketches allowing aspiring designers to skip straight to creating with Palette's colored-pencil kit.
Here, Meline talked to Footwear News about starting a company and connecting with the footwear industry.
How did Palette come about?
MK: The idea of Palette came about in 2010 when Mike and I were working on personal projects, whether for school or for our own footwear innovation company, Sophisticated Primitive.
Our process of creating a collection or a single shoe usually begins with concept generation, followed by using materials to build mock-ups and finally transferring the design into a digital 3-D model.
We found ourselves constantly drawing the last or shoe silhouette many times over and over again, just to begin our concept generation phase. There were so many loose pages of these great concepts that I began gluing them in my sketchbooks and my personal fashion illustration journals. Quickly this began piling up into dozens of books!
[With Palette], we didn't want to undermine people's creativity by teaching them how to draw, we just wanted to provide a beautiful tool that could help unleash their existing desire of creating their own footwear designs.
Thus, an entire premium stationery collection began to develop.
What has been the biggest challenge since launch?
MK: No one tells you the right or wrong way to start a business. It involves a lot of trial and error as well as networking like-minded people who will help support your case.
Over the years, we have struggled through developing the brand and learning how to navigate through obstacles that come our way. As designers ourselves, learning never stops, and the design world continues to evolve in many amazing ways, so we continue to find ways to strategize Palette as a brand by evolving with the growing creative industry.
What's next for the brand?
MK: We are hoping to get more involved with design schools and other types of sneaker- and footwear-related shows where we can have our collective of live artists, designers and illustrators come in and become more involved with the process.
We will definitely be doing footwear drawing and sketchbook development workshops for any boutiques, shops or bookstores that are excited to feature our product. Our product is made to cater to anyone interested in footwear and accessories, thus we are looking forward to working with some amazing designers, exclusive boutiques, art universities and unique bookstores.