This article originally appeared on PlayTime - The Premier Trade Shows for Kid's Fashion & Lifestyle. Click here to read the original article.
Combining style and science, Fields Footwear ensures a perfect fit for your little ones' feet!
When it comes to our children's feet, we all want the best available in the market. What's best than a podiatrist and a pediatrician to design high-quality children’s footwear with a perfect fit? That's what Fields Footwear does. Jonathan Schofield and Laura Santos have created a high-quality children’s footwear brand with a perfect fit for the best development of the feet.
We asked some questions to founder Laura Santos about herself, her job as a pediatrician, the brand and her goals for the future. An inspiring woman, an inspiring brand for an inspiring interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Why did you decide to found your own brand?
I was born and raised in New Jersey in a suburb of New York City to Spanish parents. I spent all of my summers in Spain with my grandparents as a child and look back on those summers fondly. I went to an all girls' high school which helped instill my strong sense of self and independent nature. I went to University at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore MD (where my partner - in life and in business! - Jonathan and I first met - he was playing lacrosse and I was studying...long story!) and studied Biology for pre-medicine and French because of my love of learning new languages.
I continued my studies at Georgetown University where I completed a Masters in Physiology and Biophysics. I completed my medical degree back at home in NJ at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and my General Pediatrics Residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital. I completed my fellowship (subspecialty) in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in NYC. Since then I have been practicing Critical Care, first in Philadelphia, and now back in NYC.
Jonathan and I reconnected in 2014 (after what seemed like a lifetime apart!) and in 2016 we welcomed our daughter Gabriela. Jonathan has always had a passion for caring for children’s feet. He is a Podiatrist who studied 180 children learning to walk for his Master's Degree, then went on to become a Pedorthist and studied shoe design at Parsons School of Design in NYC. He decided to create his own brand called Fields Footwear and I was a serendipitous addition to the team.
The combination of a Podiatrist and a Pediatrician, who are both parents, with roots in Spain have all come together to give us a combined perspective in children's shoe design that has produced the ultimate Children’s Shoe.
How did you come up with the name?
The family is at the heart and "sole" of the brand, originating from brand founder Jonathan's surname SchoFIELD. The name also connotes an organic experience. Children should have the chance to run and be free in the fields and their feet will be free in Fields.
Why was it important to you to create a footwear brand?
Jonathan was always interested in children's feet, as well as their gait and development. His additional experience in Pedorthy, design, and retail all came together to yield the perfect background knowledge to create his own brand.
Our (now) two-year-old daughter Gabriela allowed us to then add our parental eye to really hone in our design and style. When looking in the marketplace for shoes, we found that the companies that prided themselves on fit weren't stylish and those that were fashionable didn't fit and function well. We were able to use all of our combined experience to create the Ultimate Children’s Shoe brand.
What 5 words would you use to describe Fields Footwear?
Fields Footwear are - Sophisticated, Stylish, Innovative, Flexible, and Healthy.
Can you tell us a bit about the Clear View Sole?
Fields Footwear provides superior fit & function because of its unique Clear View Sole. The sole is clear, so busy parents can actually see the foot in the shoe and check the fit regularly (not having to go into a shoe store and get measured). There are lines on the sole to mark the range of perfect fit.
The fit is crucial to the normal development of the foot. If a shoe is too big, the foot slips forward and the toes and metatarsals (supporting bones of the foot) can be crushed. If shoes are too small, the foot becomes deformed in order to force the shoe to fit. The Clear View Sole gives parents peace of mind to know their child's foot will develop naturally.
What 3 things have you learned/discovered about launching a new business/venture?
- Your business and product are constantly developing.
- Creating a new great product doesn’t mean it will sell – you have to create an amazing sales, marketing & PR team.
- Passion will drive you to get there.
You’re still a pediatrician in New-York City, what do you love most about your job?
I'm actually a Critical Care Pediatrician, so while I've been trained in general pediatrics and normal growth and development, my daily practice is in an ICU, treating the sickest of all types of pediatric patients. I am fortunate enough to say I have actually saved lives. It is an indescribable feeling to be able to give that gift to a family, one that is a million times amplified since having my own daughter.
The kids are the reason I love going to work every day - it's not brain surgery!
What are your inspirations?
Finding new and better ways of doing things – we live in a world that is predicted by time and finance rather than making the best-informed decision. One of the other aspects of my role as a Pediatrician that I love is educating future pediatricians. The look a trainee gets when something finally makes sense is priceless. We get that look when we tell parents about our Clear View Sole. It just makes sense! The facts that our shoes look great and are developmentally appropriate are just icing on the cake.
What is your mantra?
To help children through my job as a Critical Care Pediatrician and leave something behind that supports and helps them every day in the form of Fields Footwear.
My favorite quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson really captures what I feel to be the essence of success:
What are your plans for the future?
We want Fields Footwear to become a nationally recognized brand in Children’s Footwear synonymous with health and style. We eventually want to roll out into other continents and potentially expand our brand to include other important markets of people who are dependent on the health of their feet to do their jobs (like nurses and chefs), yet still want to look good.