“Estd-1977″ भारत की टॉप मेंस फुटवियर ब्रांड, अब उपलभ्ध है
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As a brand catering to only open-footwear for men, Estd 1977 hopes to create a dent in an Indian market that is crowded.
-Sahil Kejriwal, (director of the brand.)
Take us through the genesis of the brand.
Estd.1977 is a brand that we’ve brought from London and my company, G-Shoes exports are the owners-promoters of the brand. Now, as a London-based brand, the complete process of designing, product development is done in London and Milan. We decided to bring the brand down to India because of the economic downturn in Europe. And while the brand was sold under a different brand in Europe, we decided to rename it Estd.1977 while launching it here because that was the year when the factory was established in India. The initial plan was to introduce it as a brand of men’s open footwear though the eventual plan is to move into men’s shoes, too.
By making only open footwear, aren’t you limiting yourselves?
The reason we decided to stick only to open footwear was because the market was flooded with shoes. The closed footwear space was choc-a-bloc which is why we decided to come with a different offering. But catering to a niche didn’t deter us because we were confident that our USP, of providing affordable Indian footwear made to international standards would appeal to our target audience.
Do you have a team of international designers doing the creative designing? How do you incorporate international trends to suit the Indian man’s taste?
Yes, we do have a team of international designers. Our team of foreign designers comprises two English, an Italian and a French. About how we incorporate international trends to the Indian palatte, our popular Gladiator sandals, for instance, were designed by the Italian designer. What we’ve seen is that English styles work best in the Indian market and understandably the designs of our English designers have been successful. We have a team of Indian designers too, who add a slight Indian touch to the designs, in terms of patterns or colours.
Do you think the time is right for getting into the Indian fashion market?
Economy-wise, I’ll concur that it is a good time to be in India. But I wish I had launched the brand five years back! I personally think we are two to three years late. I mean, if I’d started it five years abck, we would have been in a far greater position. There are niche products and other brands with similar offerings. And the Indian men today are well-travelled and so are more fashion-conscious than they have ever been.
Would you agree that Indian men are not that brand conscious and are happy spending money on low-cost shoes?
That’s not true. In the Indian footwear market there is a clear distinction between how the men and women shop. Indian men are brand conscious. What I mean by that is its not about wearing a Gucci, Louis Vuiton or a Prada. They are brand conscious in terms of the shoes’ strength, endurance and price. Unlike ladies for whom brand names matter, for the men its more about quality. So, if they connect with a style, they’ll pick it up.
Talking about reach, what are you doing to make sure Estd 1977 is accessible to every consumer.
Our products are currently available around the country through INC 5 and the online platform — ShoeKonnect Mobile App. We are also launching a portal in the next couple of months. Online shopping is a new segement that remains untapped. Despite every other entrepreneur launching an online portal, I will say there is a huge potential out there. Being a new segment, there will be new entrants but over time 80 per cent will die. It is really about making sure you make it to the remaining 20%.