Dan Calabrese wins the prize for most “visually exciting” entrepreneur at Groundwork! If you get to work on a day he’s looking at shoe samples, you can check out some new styles and maybe even try them on for feedback. Dan also merits recognition for member growth– he just added a new employee to the Groundwork! crew.
Dan often travels to India for his work and is willing to share his travel stories if you find him in the kitchen around lunchtime. In this interview, he shares how he stays informed about the latest shoe styles, favorite podcasts, and that gratifying feeling of seeing your footwear in a store.
What’s your profession?
Short Answer: Footwear Development.
Reality: I’ve opened the US office for an Indian manufacturing group that produces footwear, leathers, and outsoles. We represent and are building Sara’s presence in the US. We design, create, and produce shoes for some of the best retailers and global brands.
Describe a typical work day for you.
There is no “typical” work day when working with footwear and India but it usually involves ensuring we are keeping to our timelines and most importantly getting more production orders.
What’s the biggest challenge you face at your job?
Keeping the communication going with the factories and customers.
Do you have a morning routine?
2. Seeing my girls off to school every morning I’m home.
3. Skype with India
4. Gym or run.
What are your favorite productivity tips or hacks?
Not really a hack but I spend a lot of time on Hypebeast and Highsnobiety trying to stay informed. We are working seasons out, some customers are into Autumn/ Winter 2018 development, and staying relevant and in style takes a lot of research.
What do you listen to during the day?
Depends on the day but usually a lot of CNN and when that has depressed me enough I’ll listen to everything from Hamilton’s Original Broadway Cast Recordings to Sirius XM Old School Rap. I’ve been really getting into NPR’s How I Built This podcast too.
How do you benefit from using a coworking space?
We are a small team of two and it’s good to have others to interact with. Every time we get shoes in we get other’s opinions and feedback. We sometimes get too close to the product and lose sight.
What’s in your digital toolbox? (Favorite apps, hardware, etc.)
Again, Hypebeast. Keynote.
What is the most surprising or unusual aspect of your life?
Probably the travel. My career has taken me to a lot of interesting and unique places.
What inspires you?
Watching the business grow and adding people to the team.
Of course seeing your product in stores and on people’s feet is extremely fulfilling since you know they chose to spend their hard earned money on your ideas and work.