Kenneth Cole Shoe Manufacturing History

Kenneth Cole started his shoe company in Europe in 1982. Today, his company is known worldwide that also sells clothing, handbags and accessories.

Kenneth Cole Productions Inc’s history started shoe manufacturing in 1982. The designer brand’s beginnings are rather cinematic. Cole had $300,000 to make his vision come to life. He went to Europe and employed factories there to produce his designs. With the new shoes in the bag, he returned to the States. When confronted with the question who would buy his new products he knew he had a limited choice. He could get a room in the New York Hilton and try and sell his designs during market week or he had to secure a showroom in the middle of Manhattan, preferably near the Hilton.

Kenneth Cole at the Life Ball, Vienna Austria in 2010
Kenneth Cole at the Life Ball, Vienna Austria in 2010

Due to his limited resources Cole had to get creative. He didn’t have a website or modern computers for affiliate or any other marketing. He asked a friend if he could borrow his 40 foot truck. His friend agreed to give him the truck but there was still a problem to overcome: You are not allowed to just park a huge truck in central Manhattan. Cole turned to the Mayor and asked for permission for his bold undertaking but permission of this kind was only granted to production companies shooting a full length film.

Cole jumped at that idea and immediately requested to shoot a movie called “The Birth of a Shoe Company”. With the permit in hand he set off to 6th Avenue, opposite the New York Hilton, in a 40 feet truck with the words “Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc.” written on it. That day Cole sold the whole collection (40,000 pairs of shoes) from his furnished truck. The cameras he and his team dragged with them only occasionally had film in them. To remember the company’s roots, Cole never changed the name and it is known as Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. to this day.

Kenneth Cole has since branched out and does not only design shoes, as featured in many business related articles, ads and reviews. His business now also include clothing, handbags, accessories and watches. The Kenneth Cole watch collection is particularly popular. The watches come in a variety of materials:  metal, leather, rubber and ceramic watches. Each watch designs combines the Kenneth Cole charm of traditionalism of modernity.

Kenneth Cole shoes image courtesy of Wikipedia.


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