Monrow puts best foot forward and every heel finds its sole

Startup Showcase
Last Updated 30 April 2017, 18:28 IST
In the world of fashion, the long standing battle between comfort and style continues to be a major game changer. While one may end up choosing one over the other, the opportunity cost still pricks! 

When Veena Ashiya — a shoe-monger herself, owning 150 pairs — found Indian women struggling with having to make the choice, she started studying data on  Indian women, particularly their feet. Some 3,000 women later, she discovered that Indian women happen to compromise with style in favour of comfort.

“Indian women have broad feet. While they are willing to indulge and splurge, their choice is limited,” she says. Most brands in the market, especially in the heels segment, are not designed specifically for broad feet, hence discouraging women from trendy footwear altogether, she says.

Having found this gap in the market, Veena found her project —  making heels comfortable for Indian women — and started working on it. First, her team started working on identifying the right incline, which does not cause discomfort while wearing it. “When it comes to heels, every single aspect of the shoes comes into play. The incline, landing and cushioning have to be done right, without which they can be very risky and lead to severe pain and injury,” Veena informs. The company found the right heel-size to be three inches, which has to be supported by sufficient space for toes to land.  The company spent  the next three months in touring China, Vietnam and Sri Lanka to find the right manufacturing partners.

“Heels require to be manufactured right, so we ensured that we got the right partners on board,”  she says, adding “In early 2016, we launched the brand. During our early stages itself, we found the right retail partner in Future Group.” Monrow Shoes is now available at nine stores across Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Delhi. By the end of this year, the company hopes to touch 20 points-of-sale across the country, while also expanding into Mumbai.

“As of now, we are seeing equal traction online, as well as offline. Online, we are doing well on most fashion portals apart from our own website. Offline, we are present in Central and soon plan to expand into Shoppers Stop and Lifestyle,” she says.

Keeping in line with current market startegy, Monrow Shoes also plans to embark on the omni-channel approach to combine the online experience with offline. “Today’s customer is spoilt for choice. It is all about offering a good brand experience to them,” she says.

Currently bootstrapped, the company plans to raise $1 million in pre-Series A funding within a year. Veena also plans to expand the 12-member team, to hire personnel for business development. In terms of merchandise, the company is focused on athleisure, a trend that is catching on rapidly across all demographics. “As we look at it, the trend is one that is long-impacting, and the adoption is also faster,” she says.
Quick facts
­Founder: Veena Ashiya
Into: Branded shoesGeographical
Presence: Bengaluru, Delhi and Hyderabad
Funding:  Bootstrapped
Future plans: To raise $1 million in Series A funding
(Published 30 April 2017, 17:31 IST)

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