Reed Award: Small Assoc. of the Year

FDRA is the footwear industry’s business and trade association. We have over 80% of all footwear retailers and importers as members from NIKE to Steve Madden to WalMart to FootLocker to Zappos.  It is important to note that there are only 4 full time staff at FDRA

In 2018 FDRA created new innovative products and services, and transformed its events and industry engagement in order to build a stronger and more active advocacy base. Below are some examples of our work which we feel qualifies us as the top association in the under 50 employee category. (Please click on the links in blue to access more information).

Brews and Shoes: FDRA created a new networking and charity event to stop killing people with powerpoint pres. and just let people connect over beers. This was held in Portland, NYC, LA and Boston in 2018 with an average of 150 attendees. This allowed FDRA to connect with new professionals like accountants, marketers, designers and others who we would not normally be able to engage and active.  FDRA created a new website that has become the global hub for footwear companies to learn about all the new technology, robots, software, etc. that are changing the footwear industry. The site cuts out the marketing and gets to real innovations on process and product.

New Org. Content Video Series: FDRA launched a new org. video content series [marketing it like a netflix for footwear] where we hired a former NIKE innovation lead who created the HyperAdapts to produce 2 min videos on deeper dives on footwear innovation, we also add in interviews industry leaders from NIKE, Vans, Ugg, and other companies to help share new ideas across the industry. Video example 1, and 2.

Used VR to engage footwear professionals at trade shows: We partnered with Deckers Brands (UGG, Hoka, Teva, etc.) to set up a VR experience to help increase footwear traffic at our booths at trade shows. Bring in new people we normally wouldn’t interact with to educate them on our issues and get them plugged into our programs and advocacy efforts.

Used AR to cut through the noise (WH, USTR): Trade is a huge issue for our industry but its hard to get your message heard when thousands of groups are trying to message at the same time. So Andy Polk took a 3D printed mini boot, augmented it and used AR software to drop it, and other models, in various places around DC to get policymakers to take note. In fact it became a walking tour to keep up the engagement. This was the first time any of these offices have seen AR in advocacy and it made an impact.

3D Printer at Exec Summit:  We used a 3D printer, actively printing a pair of 3D shoes, at our executive summit to raise engagement and get conversations started on how tariffs harm faster innovation advancements.

Logo Design Contest: With our 75th year in 2019, we decided to update our logo and rather than pay a firm we decided we could use this opportunity to connect with more designers in our industry who normally do not engage in advocacy or attend our events.  The contest allows us to explain who FDRA is and how we support designers, all while getting some great new logos to brand us going forward. It also allowed us to get some top designers to be judges to get them more involved and drive more logo designs to us.

Shoe-Thru Event: Instead of classroom instruction, we rented a bus and drove professionals around Portland’s shoe HQ and factories – from NIKE to Columbia to Keen to Danner. This was an innovative way to help explain and see innovation in practice.