We are publishing the interview of Mr. Shakeef Khan, Founder & CEO, FGali.
FGali is a Design led footwear brand, offering rich and unique designs for the youth at an affordable price. We didn’t have any knowledge or background in shoe designing. Hence, making footwear itself was our major challenge when we started off in 2014. We figured our way out and simply followed our instincts to move forward with our idea. Consumer feedback helped us improvise and improve our product as well as processes along the way.
Till now, we have been selling hand painted shoes which is made-to-order. This helped us with an in-depth understanding of our consumer’s requirements. However, with increase in demand, this process is tuning out to be extremely tedious and time consuming, at the same time hampering our scalability and expansion. Hence, we now plan to outsource manufacturing and digitally print the designs on our shoes, which will help us increase our production volume multi-folds to the meet the growing demand.
We realized early on in our journey that it’s tough to build a scalable consumer brand if you are competing in an existing multi-billion dollar industry only on pricing & design. In order to differentiate ourselves, we had to offer value in the form of a unique experience by bringing the artist behind the design into the limelight. Hence, we attach artist’s stories behind the design with every pair of shoes delivered to the consumers. This way the consumer automatically connects at an emotional level with the shoes that he/she has purchased.
Like any other college going kid, I was always inclined towards looking cool and different during my college days in order to get noticed and enjoy the attention, shakeef said. Shoes being one of the most important elements of your style, I was constantly on a look-out for quirky and funky footwear. This is when I noticed the immense vacuum which exists between the demand and supply for such type of shoes. Firstly, shoes with quirky designs barely existed and even if they did, the price was out of reach for the average college going youth. Here, I sensed a business opportunity to bridge this gap by having talented artists hand paint these quirky designs on shoes and selling them to college students. I became even more sure about my idea when 150 of these artist design shoes were sold within the first week itself. Such amazing designs for a price point of around Rs. 1500 turned out to be a steal for students, if compared with the existing products in the market by established brands revolving around a similar design concept.
- Sujeet Madhogaria (27) – Co-Founder (Sales & Operations)
3 years of Sales Experience with Accenture as a senior analyst. Sujeet, who was selling artist design shoes, used to work closely with me when I was running Yute – an online market place for artist design footwear. I found his passion for making this kind of footwear available for the youth very intriguing and hence, after two years of our professional acquaintance, we merged the two businesses into one – FGali. So, Sujeet bought the product on the table which could now be retailed using the existing online channel which I had created.
- Shakeef Khan (25) – Founder & CEO (Marketing & Technical Head)
7 years of experience in Research, Sales & Technology at Soft digits, Youth Raga, Techno Profs.
- Arshad Shaikh (30) – Digital Marketing. Arshad on the other hand having worked with Brands like Grey, Directi and Shopper stop takes care of digital marketing for our brand, bringing 10 years of experience on board.
10 years of Experience in Digital Marketing at Shopperstop, Directi, Grey.
- Hashim Shaikh (24) – Hands on Retail experience for a year followed by his operational stint of managing 13 people for 2 years at Housing.com
- Akansha, (22) stylist by profession having styled many Bollywood celebs. Akansha, stylist by profession having styled many Bollywood celebs works on aesthetics of products, gets involved in quality and designs up gradation of products and has been associated with Fgali since inception.
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