Evan Streusand, CEO of handmade shoe-seller Fortress of Inca, has three major tips for aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to break into the manufacturing industry:
1. Use materials that will last a long time
2. Treat employees well
3. And avoid products that require different sizes
Streusand, who officially launched Fortress of Inca in 2010, began by selling shoes to friends and acquaintances, and then started going into stores to present them to managers. His first big break came when he got his merchandise into Free People and the J. Peterman catalog, which helped to build momentum. "Our first three years, we doubled our sales each year," Streusand told CNBC.
An intense focus on materials is key to his business, and he believes making something that will last and isn't too harmful to the environment should be an entrepreneur's top priority.
"I would not feel right about making something that's just going to get thrown away in six months," he said.