Noah Waxman loves shoes. “I love the smell of the leather and the glue, the craftsmanship, and the mix of art and engineering,” he says. “It’s intoxicating.” Waxman’s love affair with footwear and fashion began when he inherited his grandfather’s clothes and accessories. He liked taking those old pieces and making them modern. While visiting Amsterdam, he was so taken by an unusual collection of shoes in a home’s window that he rang the doorbell. The man inside said he had made them, and offered to introduce Waxman to the skilled artisans who taught their craft in the nearby city of Utrecht. Waxman stayed for a decade, learning traditional cobbling techniques from the masters. Since 2013, he has run his eponymous footwear company, creating fine men’s shoes, from casual sneakers to lace-up ankle boots. His designs reflect an American aesthetic combined with European training—timeless silhouettes with distinctive details, offering both luxury and style.
“After studying cobbling in Holland for many years, I knew how to build a terrific shoe,” Waxman says, “but building a fashion business required a whole new set of skills.” He joined the 2015 class of Design Entrepreneurs NYC a free, “mini-MBA” program developed by FIT and the New York City Economic Development Corporation for New York-based fashion businesses. DENYC provides designers with the business acumen, resources, and community to grow their companies. At the end of the program, participants compete for a cash prize to help implement their business plan. “Through DENYC, I had a group of industry professionals teaching and mentoring me. No part of my business was
overlooked, from brand positioning to cash flow analysis.
Now Waxman is expanding his wholesale and e-commerce business, and says he’s better able to create collections that both captivate editors and sell at retail. “It was transformative,” he says of the program. “It’s an eye-opening and at times frightening experience, but I know that NOAH WAXMAN—the brand—is positioned for success.”
If you’re ready to grow your NYC-based design business, check out DENYC. Application deadline: March 31, 2016.