• The Birth of a Comfort Generation

    By Diana on Friday, September 12, 2014

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    Way back in 1990, when mood rings, baggy shorts and hair scrunchies dominated fashion trends, husband and wife team Mandy Cabot and Peter Kjellerup revolutionized the comfort footwear industry. How, you may ask?

    Well, it all started with the discovery of “the perfect barn shoe”—a comfortable, supportive clog found in a tiny store in Europe. At the time, Mandy and Peter were horse trainers in Southeastern Pennsylvania, and knew these simple clogs would change the lives of everyone who might wear them.  So they packed their suitcases with pairs to share with friends. When their friends tried them on, they told their friends. And just like that, the couple launched a comfort generation.

    From the introduction of our Professional clog to the present day, Mandy and Peter have diligently worked to achieve quality craftsmanship and attention to detail. Thoughtful engineering, highest-quality materials and rigorous testing enable every shoe we sell—including sneakers, boots, heels, flats and clogs—to deliver all-day comfort and support. This combination of materials and construction, or the Dansko DNA, as we call it, promotes good foot, leg and back health. What started with the Professional clog now benefits every Dansko style.  

    Below, we shine our magnifying glass on the original Professional clog by sharing ten keys steps in the design, construction and delivery process. Sit back, relax, and learn more about our iconic silhouette!

    • The Birth of a Comfort Generation -

      1. Putting the Pieces Together. At this step, all components of the shoe are combined with the Last to ensure that fit, function, and style all align with the creative vision. A prototype shoe is built around the selected Last. Each element is inspected by hand to evaluate quality and performance, both individually and when combined into the shoe.

      2. The Perfect Fit. Detailed measurements are taken and prototypes are fitted on the Last and on our Test Team (in-house Cinderellas!). The goal is to ensure that the shoe fits comfortably. If needed, the Last and shoe prototypes are adjusted. Materials, construction and fit are all finalized by testing a wide range of sizes (and types of feet) before production begins.​

    • The Birth of a Comfort Generation -

      3. Upper Material Selection. Our design team reviews thousands of fabric and leather swatches from all over the world each season, choosing only those materials that meet Dansko's high standards. The upper material is tested multiple times throughout the development cycle to ensure the finished product meets our high quality standards. Our Material Technicians take great care to ensure that the materials perform at their best - our full grain leathers are rich and luxurious, our patents bold and vibrant, our fabrics stunning, and our suedes silky to the touch.

      4. Pattern Cutting. With the upper materials chosen, it's time to start cutting. Our Material Technicians carefully place the patterns in such a way to ensure that the natural beauty of the upper materials is preserved and that waste is minimized. They also take care to cut the material so the grain of the leather is aligned with the design to ensure the natural wear and give of the material is preserved. Before an upper is attached to the outsole, it is inspected for material quality and workmanship.
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      5. Pre-Production Testing. We test shoe components, prototypes and pre-production pairs throughout the development cycle. Many tests are performed at independent laboratories, as well as our own laboratory, to ensure that our shoes perform the way we expect. Our laboratory, at our Pennsylvania HQ, has been certified by SATRA, the international organization that sets testing standards for the footwear industry. Dansko's lab performs a wide range of tests, including abrasion resistance, durability when flexing, and tensile strength.

      6. Stapled Construction. Our Stapled Collection launched Dansko! Each clog is carefully stapled by hand to attach the upper with the outsole, delivering maximum performance and durability.
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      7. Baked to Perfection. Once the shoes are constructed, they are heated to 'set' the upper materials. Creams, waxes and finishes are applied to enhance the handcrafted beauty of every pair.

      8. Testing, Testing, Testing. All Dansko shoes go through an extended fit and wear test process. Our Fitting Experts evaluate every Dansko style and size, working with our Test Team to conduct evaluations such as the 30-day "Walk & Wear" marathon...boots in August anyone?
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      9. Final Inspection. The final step is a detailed inspection for quality, aesthetics and craftsmanship. Only those shoes that pass all the rigorous inspections are approved to proudly wear the Dansko brand. These pairs are then placed into Dansko shoeboxes to begin the journey to your local retailer and, eventually, your closet.

      10. And Out the Door! More than 2,800 independent, national and online retail partners proudly carry Dansko footwear and would love to introduce you to your new favorite pair!

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  • Touring Dansko Headquarters: Our Five Favorite Spots

    By Christy on Thursday, August 14, 2014

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    Located in the rolling hills of Southeastern Pennsylvania, our LEED® Gold certified headquarters perfectly illustrates our passion for sustainability—and our passion for local living! Paintings from community artists hang throughout the building, solar panels turn sun rays into electricity, and fun little details, like copper rain chains shaped like flowers, enable us to make the most of our resources.

    With these features (and so many more) in mind, we can’t help but feel privileged to work in such an inspiring space. We don’t want to take our beautiful facility for granted, so we decided to pick our five favorite spots.
    • Touring Dansko Headquarters: Our Five Favorite Spots  -

      Vegetated Roof
      When the weather feels just right, we walk up to our rooftop garden for a peaceful, sun-soaked lunch. Shrubs, grasses, flowers and other plants take up two-thirds of the roof’s surface, offering the perfect insulation for reduced heating and cooling usage. We’re thrilled to “do our part” for the environment—and we’re glad our efforts helped create the ultimate outdoor café!

       

    • Touring Dansko Headquarters: Our Five Favorite Spots  -

      Living Wall
      Stacked vertically from floor to ceiling, our living wall houses all kinds of garden life—including orchids, philodendron, ferns and other colorful plants. The living wall acts as a natural filter, improving air quality to create a clean, healthy workspace. And of course, the cascading waterfall serves as an “occasional” distraction between meetings, providing a calm, cool breather in the middle of the day.  

       

    • Touring Dansko Headquarters: Our Five Favorite Spots  -

      Outdoor Pool (with a mermaid, too)
      Just outside our front door, a mermaid sculpture watches over our grounds, sitting in the middle of a small pool. Sometimes we forget she’s there at all, though our visitors often take pictures, walk around the edge of the pool, and explore the various plants that sit by her side.

       

    • Touring Dansko Headquarters: Our Five Favorite Spots  -

      Second-Floor Balcony
      Our second-floor balcony provides a perfect view of our living wall—and offers a quiet location to gather our thoughts. Surrounded by elegant local art and fresh flowers from our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, we often find ourselves sitting in this spot for a few extra minutes. After all, fresh flowers and a living wall make for a nice, relaxing break!

    • Touring Dansko Headquarters: Our Five Favorite Spots  -

      ​​Popcorn and Coffee Corner
      Sometimes we just need a salty, crunchy afternoon snack, and sometimes we just need a little caffeine! When a craving hits, we grab a fresh bag of popcorn from our vintage popcorn machine, fill our mug with warm coffee, and head back to our desk feeling satisfied and refreshed.

      To learn more about our delightful (and sustainable) facility, check out our virtual tour on Dansko.com. You’ll be glad you did! 
       

       

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  • The “Art” of Mneme Therapy: How Kim Ingwaldson Makes A Difference Every Day

    By Nick on Friday, August 08, 2014

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    ​As a talented artist and committed caregiver, Kim Ingwaldson benefits from a seemingly unrelated set of gifts. But last June, Kim stumbled across the opportunity to combine her passion for art and her love for people, kickstarting a new career.

    At the time, Kim, a watercolor artist by trade, discovered an ad for an organization called “Art Without Boundaries” (AWB). The pitch sought qualified artists to become trained therapists, with an end goal of using art to help people with brain illness and injury. Kim followed through. And when she met with AWB founder Noelle Hammer, she knew she made the right decision.

    “We chatted for hours,” Kim told Karma Wilson, author of No Boundaries! The Art of Mneme Therapy, an article published in 406 Woman Magazine. “She said my combination of skills was perfect for their program, and thought my art was phenomenal.”

    After a year of intensive schooling, Kim became Montana’s first certified “Mneme Therapist.” The title, pronounced “Memma Therapist,” describes a professional who uses a “unique, multi-modality process incorporating movement, storytelling, directed painting and praise to achieve sustained focus, which taps into the ability of the brain to heal itself.” On a daily basis, Kim encourages those suffering from dementia, autism, Alzheimer’s, stroke or other brain-related injuries. Along the way, she proudly sports her signature pair of Dansko clogs.

    “I spotted Dansko’s Paint Splatter Professional clogs and, as a watercolor artist, I had to buy them. They were just so me,” Kim said. “Most of my clients are wheelchair-bound, and see my shoes first. It makes quite an impression!”

    After meeting Kim and her creative Professional clogs, clients begin painting their own works of art. And by works of art, we mean professional-quality landscapes, wildlife scenes, floral arrangements and more. The pieces then travel home with their artist, or feature on calendars, greeting cards and mouse pads for client fundraisers.

    Because her clients’ conditions often help them forget about their inhibitions and fears, Kim chooses to see their situation as an opportunity for creativity; they just need someone to open the door for them. Thanks to her beautifully-unique set of gifts, Kim opens doors every day, using her empathetic heart—and her passion for art—to develop optimistic, grateful, and free-spirited artists.    

    To view our colorful collection of Professional clogs, visit Dansko.com. Or, to learn more about AWB and Kim’s influential career, visit ArtWithoutBoundaries.net.

    • The “Art” of Mneme Therapy: How Kim Ingwaldson Makes A Difference Every Day -

      Leaf on Water, by Kim Ingwaldson

      [Photo Credit: Kim Ingwaldson]

       

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  • Kickstart Your Art Collection with these Five Artsy Tips

    By Nick on Tuesday, June 10, 2014

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    ​We’re a creative group, here at Dansko HQ in West Grove, PA. We work beside a living wall, under a vegetated roof, and beside beautiful paintings and sculptures, the majority of which arrive from artists in our community.

    But for Dansko co-owner and COEE (Chief of Everything Else) Peter Kjellerup, collecting art stands for so much more than creating an attractive workspace, or following modern trends. For Peter, art symbolizes a relationship, a means of fulfilling our mission of improving people’s lives by supporting local, up-and-coming artists. And, as a result of Peter’s passion, our workspace cultivates comfort and happiness (much like our shoes).

    Peter’s appreciation for art got us thinking: How can we go about building an art collection at home? Check out our five tips below:

    1. Define your style
    For many budding art connoisseurs, the beginning stages serve as the most enjoyable (and least intimidating) part of building an art collection. Start by making day trips to local art museums and galleries to investigate a variety of paintings and prints. Jot down a few notes, and be sure to take your time—it may take a few visits to nail down your style!

    2. Locate your dealer  
    Experienced buyers often build their repertoire at local auction houses, though this doesn’t mean you need to start your collection by visiting a higher-priced venue. According to many experts, local galleries—and even online shops—provide the best value. Before you buy, start building a relationship with gallery directors, engage with local artists and visit a preview event or an artist spotlight.
     
    3. Ask thoughtful questions
    Once you establish your style and budget, continue to “get your feet wet” by asking yourself a series of key questions. Is the particular piece signed? If so, where? Are you the first, second, third or tenth owner? Do you notice any damages to the piece? These questions will help you set a baseline for future art purchases.
     
    4. Start small
    Sometimes, entry-level collectors immediately “go big,” buying original pieces from newer artists. While there’s nothing wrong with jumping right in, you may want to invest in a series of prints from well-known artists first. As you learn the ropes, and further develop your style, start experimenting with bigger-ticket items.  
     
    5. Think long term
    Because art collecting typically serves as a long-term investment, only purchase paintings or prints you genuinely love. Of course, you can always “flip” paintings later if your style evolves, but the most value often lies with collectors who hang onto their paintings. So, take your time, shop wisely and purchase timeless paintings you’ll cherish forever.
     
    With these tips in mind, don’t forget: collecting art is a personal quest. No matter how you start your collection—whether you go right for an original Mona Lisa, or start the process slowly—don’t take yourself too seriously! 
     
    Artist credit, from top right to bottom left: Mark Rowland, Irma Shapiro, Kelly McConnell-Cox, Stan Smokler
     

     

    • Kickstart Your Art Collection with these Five Artsy Tips -
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Archive Vault

  1. 2014 (67)
    1. October (7)
      1. October 24 2014 If These Shoes Could Talk: Stories From Our Fans
      2. October 22 2014 Autumn Road Trip: Lace Up Chantal and Take a Leaf-Peeping Adventure
      3. October 16 2014 Recipe Time: Fall Favorites with Mugshots Coffeehouse
      4. October 10 2014 10 Fall Adventures for 10 Dansko Shoes
      5. October 07 2014 The Ultimate Nurses’ Bucket List (And A Giveaway, Too!)
      6. October 03 2014 Dogs & Clogs: Recommendations from the Experts
      7. October 02 2014 Dansko and the Monarch Butterfly Lifecycle
    2. September (9)
      1. September 25 2014 Retailer Spotlight: A Time for Community with Dee Reid
      2. September 22 2014 Runway Rundown: Q&A with Designer Karolyn Pho
      3. September 19 2014 Spotted: TV Host Meredith Vieira
      4. September 18 2014 Kickstart Your Daily Routine With Airman Annelise Rowe
      5. September 17 2014 Dansko Voted Best for Workers
      6. September 12 2014 The Birth of a Comfort Generation
      7. September 11 2014 A Moment for Mindfulness: Tuning Into Your Taste Buds
      8. September 05 2014 Staff Picks: Our Favorite Fall Styles
      9. September 04 2014 Get to Know Tamara: Our Go-To-Work or Go-Out Shoe
    3. August (10)
      1. August 29 2014 Four Nursing Lessons and One Big Giveaway
      2. August 27 2014 Allison and the Country’s Top Food Markets
      3. August 25 2014 Recognizing our Footwear Family with Five Anniversaries
      4. August 21 2014 Shop the Trend: On Active Duty
      5. August 19 2014 Momentum Magazine: 5 Ways to Incorporate Bicycling Into Your Daily Routine
      6. August 14 2014 Touring Dansko Headquarters: Our Five Favorite Spots
      7. August 12 2014 A Moment for Mindfulness: Three Ways to Focus the Wandering Mind
      8. August 08 2014 The “Art” of Mneme Therapy: How Kim Ingwaldson Makes A Difference Every Day
      9. August 06 2014 Five Dancing Tips and One Stylish Sandal for your Latin Dancing Routine
      10. August 05 2014 Retailer Spotlight: Vintage and Modern Shoe Care Tips from Simons Shoes
    4. July (10)
      1. July 30 2014 Summer Days at Dansko: A Dip & Dessert BBQ Spectacular
      2. July 28 2014 Shop the Trend: Refreshingly Cobalt
      3. July 23 2014 A Passion for Fashion: Q&A With Marcus Allen
      4. July 21 2014 Dansko and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Team Up to "Save the Bay"
      5. July 15 2014 The "Idiosyncratic Fashionistas" Weigh In: How Do You Form a Style Identity?
      6. July 11 2014 A Moment for Mindfulness: Practice in Posture, A Seated Guide to Meditation
      7. July 10 2014 Fran’s Four Fabulous and Functional Summer Hairstyles
      8. July 08 2014 10 Summer Adventures for 10 Dansko Shoes
      9. July 03 2014 Retailer Spotlight: 10 Paddlesport Tips from Route 96 Power and Paddle
      10. July 01 2014 The Essential Guide to your Fourth of July Tablescape
    5. June (9)
      1. June 30 2014 In the News: Dansko Co-Founder and CEO Mandy Cabot
      2. June 27 2014 Food, Farms and Comfortable Clogs: Q&A With Cooking Light Executive Chef Anna Bullett
      3. June 24 2014 Summer Days at Dansko: Team Day 2014
      4. June 20 2014 Cabot Creamery Makes a Difference in Local Communities
      5. June 17 2014 Shop the Trend: Rooted in Vintage
      6. June 12 2014 A Moment For Mindfulness: Introducing Guest Bloggers Mindful Magazine
      7. June 10 2014 Kickstart Your Art Collection with these Five Artsy Tips
      8. June 05 2014 A Woman of Many Titles: Q&A with Image Consultant Michele Gustafson
      9. June 02 2014 Trend Alert: Your Complete Guide to Normcore
    6. May (10)
      1. May 30 2014 Shop the Trend: Fresh and Fabulous Florals
      2. May 28 2014 10 Summer Suitcase Essentials for your Next Adventure
      3. May 22 2014 Brooklyn Chef Justin Warner Shares Three Kitchen Essentials (Hint: He wears Dansko shoes!)
      4. May 20 2014 Let Your Garden Grow: An Early June Planting Guide
      5. May 16 2014 A Month of Celebrations: Dansko Recognizes Teachers and Nurses
      6. May 14 2014 A Mixologist’s Journey: Q&A with Bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler (And a Cocktail Recipe, too!)
      7. May 13 2014 Dansko Volunteers Hit the Road During "Footwear Cares" Month of Service
      8. May 08 2014 Mother's Day 2014: Why Do We Celebrate Mom?
      9. May 07 2014 Lace up Your Sneakers and Visit Our Top Walking Cities
      10. May 01 2014 Six Stretches for your Workday
    7. April (7)
      1. April 29 2014 "America's Best Cook" Contestant Presses Onward – In Dansko Clogs!
      2. April 25 2014 A Step-By-Step Guide to Planting your Arbor Day Tree
      3. April 23 2014 Shop the Trend: Bright, Bold, Beautiful Tangerine
      4. April 21 2014 Earth Day 2014: Five Steps for Conserving Water at Home
      5. April 17 2014 Q&A with Street Style Blogger Dana Landon
      6. April 14 2014 Recipe Time: A Sweet Spring Treat from King Arthur Flour
      7. April 01 2014 10 Spring Adventures for 10 Dansko Shoes
    8. March (5)
      1. March 28 2014 Volunteers Leave a SPLASHing Impact
      2. March 26 2014 Spotted in Dansko: Acclaimed Chef Suzanne Goin
      3. March 24 2014 Celebrating Employee Ownership with a Little Competition (And a LOT of Laughter!)
      4. March 21 2014 Suits, Sweaters and Dansko: Q&A with New York Designer Drew Villani
      5. March 20 2014 Now Introducing: Word of Foot!
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