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Yellowbrick, FIT, and Footwear News Launch Online Education Program: Footwear Business Foundations

·6-min read

Online certificate course focuses on the skills required to build a successful company in the footwear industry

NEW YORK, September 21, 2021--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Yellowbrick, in collaboration with New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Center for Continuing and Professional Studies and Footwear News, today announced the launch of Footwear Business Foundations; a comprehensive educational program that takes a deep dive into what makes a footwear company successful and teaches the skills needed to build a brand from the ground up.

Footwear Business Foundations was created as an extension of Yellowbrick’s wildly successful Sneaker Essentials program, which was also co-created with FIT. The completion of Sneaker Essentials is not a prerequisite for enrollment in Footwear Business Foundations, as the new program uniquely emphasizes entrepreneurship in the footwear production process along with career paths. Learners who complete the program will earn a non-credit Completion Certificate from FIT.

The global footwear market is expected to hit $440 billion by 2026. As of 2021, the U.S. market alone is estimated to be about $105.8 billion, representing just over 27% of the total global share. Around 24 billion pairs of shoes are produced around the world each year, and that number is growing. Explosive worldwide demand offers an opportunity for motivated creators to carve out their own niches. Whether aspiring to build their own brand or join existing footwear companies, passionate learners enrolled in the program will explore the industry and consider their own pathways.

All course materials and instruction will be provided online with video interviews, which allows students to complete lessons at their own pace. FIT faculty, Yellowbrick, and Footwear News’ team of experts have developed lessons that feature industry experts and insiders.

Contributors to the program include Michael Atmore, Chief Brand Officer, Fairchild Media Group, Editorial Director, Footwear News; Sarah Mullins, Asst. Chair, Footwear & Accessories Design Program, FIT; Matt Priest, President & CEO, Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America; Ulrich Grimm, Former EVP of Global Shoes & Accessories, Calvin Klein; Sam Edelman, Founder, Sam Edelman Shoes; Dee Ocleppo-Hilfiger, Fashion Designer & Entrepreneur; Shoe Designer Jessica Rich; Sarah Flint, Sarah Flint Shoes Executive Chairman, Founder and Creative Director; Creative Director & Shoe Designer Lisa Cronin-Arida; and many more.

"Since we first launched Sneaker Essentials with Yellowbrick, the fervor around the footwear industry has only continued to grow," said Daniel M. Gerger, director of FIT's Center for Continuing and Professional Studies. "We saw a need for a program that would go deeper into the production and business-building aspects of the industry. Thus, Footwear Business Foundations was born and we couldn’t be happier to be offering this program in partnership with Yellowbrick and Footwear News."

"Our publication has been dedicated to informing our readers about the industry at large and the latest in footwear news for over 75 years," said Michael Atmore, Chief Brand Officer, Fairchild Media and Editorial Director, Footwear News. "Now, by partnering with Yellowbrick and FIT, we’re able to take our reporting to the next level, leveraging our staff’s extensive knowledge and close industry contacts to educate and inspire learners through this exciting program."

Footwear Business Foundations offers more than 15 hours of instruction and project time across five modules. The first, "Footwear Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship," covers the evolution of the footwear industry, various business models, and diversity and inclusion in the industry. Module 2, "Managing Footwear Production," focuses on product development, sourcing, costing, manufacturer communications, and industry software. Module 3, "Branding," covers branding principles, frameworks, packaging, and brand applications in the digital age. Module 4, "Marketing Strategies," focuses on wholesale distribution, PR and communication, DTC sales, and SEO tactics. The final module, "Retailing and Distribution," explores merchandising theory and strategy, store layouts, retail technology, industry events, e-commerce, and data-driven retail. Learners will also complete a comprehensive footwear project for their portfolios.

"In creating Footwear Business Foundations, we saw an opportunity to once again work with FIT faculty’s incredible wealth of knowledge and to partner with Footwear News," said Rob Kingyens, President and CEO of Yellowbrick. "The result is a compelling program that will explore the industry with a focus on business, production, and entrepreneurship."

Visit to learn more about the program and sign up now.

About Yellowbrick
Yellowbrick is a global leader in online education and career exploration for the Arts, Media, Sports, and Entertainment industries. The company develops exciting, accessible online programs in collaboration with top brands and world-renowned universities. Many key influencers in media and culture participate as instructors on the platform; including some of the world’s top entertainment industry professionals connected through Yellowbrick’s recent acquisition of Animation Mentor. Backed by Sony Innovation Fund, University Ventures, Condé Nast, and others, the company’s mission is to help a new generation of talent discover, pursue, and advance career paths that are aligned with the things they love. Find out more at

About FIT
A part of the State University of New York, FIT has been a leader in career education in art, design, business, and technology throughout its history. Providing almost 9,000 students with an uncommon blend of hands-on, practical experience, theory, and a firm grounding in the liberal arts, the college offers a wide range of affordable programs that foster innovation and collaboration. Its distinctive curriculum is geared to today’s rapidly growing creative economy, including fields such as computer animation, toy design, production management, film and media, and cosmetics and fragrance marketing. Internationally renowned, FIT draws on its New York City location to provide a vibrant, creative community in which to learn. The college offers nearly 50 majors and grants AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees, preparing students for professional success and leadership in the new creative economy. Among notable alumni in fashion are Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Reem Acra, Brian Atwood, Dennis Basso, Francisco Costa, Norma Kamali, Nanette Lepore, Bibhu Mohapatra, Ralph Rucci, John Bartlett, Peter Do, and Michelle Smith. Other prominent graduates include Leslie Blodgett, creator of bareMinerals; international restaurant designer Tony Chi; and Nina Garcia, editor in chief, Elle.

About Footwear News
Footwear News (FN) is the ultimate destination for industry insiders and shoe lovers alike. From power players to style stars, FN draws on more than seventy years of history to offer a feet first look at what’s new and what’s next in shoes. The site is your first-stop for shoe news globally. Breaking the latest stories, offering expert analysis and on-trend seasonal coverage, FN is connecting readers to the topics that matter most. Led by an informed team of journalists, the site filters the way we look at footwear. With an eye for what’s next, the newsroom sets the tone feet first.

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Heath Fradkoff, Ward 6 Marketing

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