A designer is always designing. That’s what Shannon Buono, Senior Product Designer here at Sperry, tells us the moment we sit down to chat about where she finds inspiration in everyday surroundings.
Shannon works from her kitchen, where you’ll often find her dog Riley by her feet. She says it reminds her of Paul Sperry’s dog, Prince, whose paws inspired our non-slip boat shoe.
Shannon’s connection to the brand extends all the way back to her childhood. “Since I was a kid, I’ve loved the ocean and being outside,” she tells us. “I have never been a TV or a movie person. I prefer to get out and be active. It complements my personal lifestyle to work on a brand that’s anchored by the sea.”
A trained industrial designer, Shannon has been a part of the Sperry family for nearly three years. During this time, she’s seen the brand evolve and grow. But one thing has remained a constant in her career. “My passion is working on products that are functional and purpose-built,” Shannon says, “but that are also fashion-forward.”
Her favorite part about working for Sperry? Hands down, that has to be her incredible team. “The product design team is made up of people with diverse talents and backgrounds,” she tells us. “Photography, architecture, action sports, performance footwear, kids footwear, European design, and even jewelry. Everyone brings a different perspective to the table, and we respect each others’ strengths.”
It’s this creative atmosphere that keeps Shannon on her toes day in and day out. “I love that I get to work on such a wide variety of footwear,” she says. “I feel this keeps me fresh and always thinking. On any given day, I design casual shoes, sandals, boat shoes, boots, and performance footwear. The range is amazing.”
One of the biggest takeaways from our sit-down with Shannon – outside of her talent and love of the brand – was that her job doesn’t end when the clock strikes 5:00. Inspiration for a project can come from anywhere. Here, Shannon invites us along on a typical day and shares where she finds motivation.
Walking Riley is a great excuse for Shannon to get outside, where she finds inspiration in the elements.
I go on daily walks in Menotomy Rocks Park with my dog, Riley. It’s a heavily wooded area with a pond and paths that wind through the woods. I love the energy and serenity. It’s the perfect place to sketch without distractions.
I crave fresh air every day. There is so much beauty in nature – color, patterns, and even movement. I find it important to surround myself in those elements, and I often tie those experiences back when designing product for Sperry.
When she’s not designing shoes, Shannon likes to sketch the things she finds in nature, like insects.
My home is an extension of my creative process. I enjoy working at my kitchen table with the windows open and my music blasting. My music choice often changes depending on the project I’m working on. Right now, I’m really into Phantogram, Lake Street Dive and Beach House.
When I need some fresh air, I’ll step outside. I’ve decorated my patio with a ton of plants to create a really natural environment. Between that and my dog by my feet, I’m usually ready to work.
Arlington, MA’s Kickstand Cafe is where Shannon often escapes to when she needs to step away from her home workspace — or her cubicle.
When I need to step away from my work to clear my head or reset my thoughts, I’ll ride my bike to Kickstand Cafe in Arlington, MA. It’s bright and has good energy, and I love their iced coffee.
This may sound simple, but I find a tremendous amount of inspiration from my friends too. I surround myself with creative people who work in a variety of different industries. Meeting up with them to grab a drink, chat about life, and talk shop usually fills me with ideas.
We don’t just talk the talk. We literally walk the walk. Find out which shoes are on our must-have list this season.