Suzanne George

Owner, Suzanne George Shoes

San Francisco, California

Owner of Suzanne George Shoes (SGS) since 1994, Suzanne and her production team create entirely hand crafted, made-to-measure, custom designed wares for men and women. Her biomechanically specific footwear is constructed for individuals with a wide range of medical, congenital, and hard-to-fit issues (including a safe, creative option for transgender clients and veterans) who are unable to successfully purchase from the commercially available market. She incorporates her passion of collecting rare skins, bygone shoe findings, and treasured decorative accents, and merges the intersection of fit, function and aesthetic in a rigorously honed process of creating one-of-a-kind footwear from every product category. In 2020, SGS expanded its reach by introducing a layered value, “sole read” slip-on with undercover action-packed aspects in varying customization tiers. This amalgam style naturally compliments the made-to-measure, one-off service evolved over almost three decades of addressing individual client needs.  Working with her unique fit methodology, Suzanne believes this singular style can reach a larger audience with footwear that synthesizes individualized fit features, targeted modifiable design elements, and signature components to bridge a gap in the marketplace and promote a whole-body system that supports and stabilizes foot function. She plans to train a passionate team of underrepresented individuals, many of whom were previously considered unemployable due to varying degrees of health concerns, in a work culture that incorporates the unpredictable nature of medical and other challenging life conditions. Her new “sole read” line brings mind, spirit, and society together, promoting a deeper consideration of total well-being with a circular model that interfaces the product, wearer, makers, and all involved in an interdependent fashion framework for good health and beautiful living. In addition to its primary product lines, SGS offers consultation services to assist clients without industry experience in moving from concept to product development and prototyping. SGS also consults on and produces footwear for performances, fashion editorials, runway, television, and film. Suzanne attended Cordwainers Technical College in London, completed various footwear construction and fitting apprenticeships, and holds a Bachelors in Interpersonal Relations from the University of California Santa Barbara. She studied Counseling Psychology and worked within the for- and non-profit arenas in the business, social services, and education sectors as an instructor, consultant, project manager, and volunteer. Over the past many years, Suzanne has taken great pleasure in assisting those with complex illnesses find a path to healing.

What Suzanne hopes to gain from the VV GROW Fellowship:
Suzanne hopes to expand her vision, build her capacity, and scale her business, while learning to mitigate risks through a deeper understanding of trademark, patent, and structure considerations. She hopes to green her workshop to achieve a healthy and harmonious environment and to refine and improve the proposed production/cross-training-process for optimal efficiency and perfection. She also hopes to collaborate with organizations and businesses in the non-profit and for-profit sectors to formally commit to the UN SDGs of small-scale urban manufacturing, sustainable innovative industrialization, and the employment of underserved communities and to discover funding partners who recognize growth potential in these areas. She is steadfast in her commitment to retain the organic and intimate nature of this symbiotic, exploratory process and hopes to build alliances with those who also value the importance of retaining experiential exchanges while discovering a value quotient method to capture impact and quantify profitability with broader priority measures.

What Suzanne can offer other fellows:
Suzanne can offer other fellows’ advice on product or service positioning and marketplace differentiation, store conceptualization and visual merchandising. Through her acute listening skills and experience, she can assess strengths and provide inspiration, motivation and brainstorming to assist other fellows in telling their compelling stories as they apply their own unique skills and abilities to advance themselves and others.

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