The “Sweet Life” of Dr. Scholl’s
This article is part of a series of interviews conducted by LIM students with winners of the Accessories Council's 2020 Design Excellence Awards (DEA). Students are enrolled in Fashion Merchandising Professor Andrea Kennedy's Honors Introduction to the Fashion Business class.
We go through as many as 200 pairs of shoes in a lifetime. What happens to these shoes when we outgrow them? Do we hand them down? Or donate them? Eventually, what was once our everyday shoes end up in a landfill polluting the earth. Dr. Scholl's is a company that keeps environmental impact in mind when creating their footwear.
We spoke with Senior Design Director Katie Moore and Marketing Manager Christine Walston of Dr. Scholl’s and we were able to find out all about their Design Excellence Award winning shoe “Sweet Life” awarded by the Accessories Council as well all about Dr. Scholl’s, the company.
The Dr. Scholl’s company logo. https://www.drschollsshoes.com/
What do you think set Dr. Scholl’s “Sweet Life” apart from other nominees?
Katie addressed this question by talking about how comfort was one of this shoe's most significant considerations and is very important to the average consumer. Other considerations, such as simplicity and material sustainability, have played a significant part in why Katie felt that Dr. Scholl's won over other brands.
Can you tell us about the process of designing the “Sweet Life” shoe, including how you chose the materials? How has this affected your design and pricing?
The “Sweet Life” shoe has a versatile design that focuses on the consumer. When considering materials to use, Katie Moore opted for sustainable choices like recycled polyester and Bloom algae foam. Sustainable options tend to be more expensive, but Dr. Scholl’s is willing to invest more to ensure a high-quality product that benefits the environment. The positive impact of Dr. Scholl’s practices matters to them most. This is why Dr. Scholl’s builds relationships with their suppliers. They establish trust so they can guarantee the quality and the responsibility of the materials.
What was your inspiration and who is the target audience for “Sweet Life” Shoe?
Christine Watson explained the shoe was inspired by the Dr. Scholl's customers' day-to-day life. They considered what their customers need, where they go, the trends and versatility. Their target market includes the on-the-go millennial, and this line especially focuses on moms. They aim to create stylish shoes for her and her family.
The “Sweet Life” shoes, pictured here in “soft grey fabric” https://www.drschollsshoes.com/product/dr-scholls-womens-sweet-life-lace-up-sneaker-5263756/soft-grey-fabric-05920
Katie, how did majoring in graphic design lead to your career in footwear design?
Since Katie was little, she had a love for art and design. She majored in graphic design in college. When she graduated, she found herself working nine months in a bank, but not enjoying her role. She stumbled upon a local shoe company in St. Louis and became a line artist. Not really understanding the ropes, she first became a freelancer and absolutely adored it.
Katie never really planned to be a footwear designer; she didn't even know that position existed. But the complexity, creativeness, and consumer necessity of footwear really brought her in for a career she loves to this day.
Katie, can you tell us how you made the Dr. Scholl’s Shoe exhibit at the St. Louis Contemporary Art Museum come together?
The goal of the project was a “new” Dr. Scholl’s shoe that was stylish, fun, and fashionable. Katie and her team told their story through a visual and experiential presentation at the St. Louis Contemporary Art Museum. They set up platforms where the retailers could see the actual process of the shoe designs deconstructed. The exhibit helped the audience understand all the time and effort that goes into designing and creating a Dr. Scholl’s shoe.
Katie, we read that you are an inspirational quote enthusiast, do you have a go-to inspirational quote?
Katie is notorious for ending meetings with a relatable quote that ties the session together. She shared her quote from her Instagram bio that reads: “Live for the moments you can't put into words.” Katie is a very visual person and the quote she shared is all about living for those moments that take you back to that peaceful space. That is what life should be about — doing the things that really inspire you.
What advice do you have for young women entering the fashion industry today?
Katie and Christine strongly agree that you should “be persistent in what you want because you are going to have a lot of obstacles ahead of you, especially if you’re a woman.” Katie knows first-hand because when she started out, industry leaders were predominantly male. She believes that as a person starting in the fashion industry you should stay true to yourself and what you believe in. Both women advised that most employers are looking for someone who is passionate and excited about their work.
The interview took place on a Zoom call. Top row: Nirahja Logan (left), Sian Jackson (middle), and Katie Moore (right). Bottom row: Daisy Marin Sanchez (left), Kelly Cook (middle), and Christine Walston (right).