Students spring into customized shoe business

Grant recipients Tyler Springer (left) and Mark Springer (right)

A shift in trends led two senior business majors toward a custom shoe and apparel design business that culminated in the conception of Springer Design, Inc. Mark Springer (right) and Tyler Springer (left) were awarded an entrepreneurship grant of $5,000 from the Business Department’s Entrepreneurship Learning Center to help get their customizing shoe business kicking as a result of their innovative idea.

Although unrelated, the two took their same last name as a sign to combine their talents and produce a screen-printing, embroidery and logo development company and begin specializing in custom, intricately designed shoes.

Their plan was hatched after the classmates had a lunchtime epiphany and discovered their similar aspirations and complementary interests. Mark, from Stanford, Ill., had hoped to start his own design business but wasn’t as comfortable with the management and sales responsibilities. Tyler, a native of Carlisle, Pa., on the other hand, had plans to start his own screen-printing and embroidery business, but the artwork associated with it was a deterrent. According to Tyler, by the end of their meal it was clear they ought to combine their talents and start a company.

“The core values of Springer Design are professionalism, innovation, growth and social responsibility. We hold tight to these values and want to emulate them through our company,” said Tyler.

While Mark and Tyler thought people might find the idea of individualized footwear strange at first, during their research they discovered a shifting shoe market heading in the direction of distinctiveness. “Next time you walk into a shoe store, start looking around and you’ll see a few shoes with some intricate designs on them. While others have templates that you can put on your shoes, we allow our customers to come up with their own design or we can come up with one for them,” said Tyler.

So far, seven students have received Entrepreneurship Grants.

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