3 Year Old 'The Shoe Men' Gets Rejuvenated after Undergoing Incubation at IAN; Pumps Up Operations

By Shyamal Dave|25th Oct 2012
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“I started my entrepreneurial journey in the year 2009 after witnessing the pain point of a missing shoe laundry in the market when I personally felt the problem for a good long while and saw nobody doing anything about it. Then it triggered my mind on how big the market would be? Thus began my amazing journey with The Shoe Men. Being the first venture, it made me learn and grow so much along the journey. Successful people like Steve Jobs and Richard Branson motivated me through their entrepreneurial and inspiring career,” says Saral Budhiraja, Founder, The Shoe Men.
A niche industry in itself, The Shoe Men is a shoes and leather articles refurbishment and repair service in Delhi-NCR. When an ecommerce store is being set up by an entrepreneur from every nook and corner from India, such an online service company (that provides services offline) comes as a refreshing wave. “Like every other industry this one also has its own trend. We have witnessed a seasonal trend in the business. As well as, there is a trend of increasing use of a lifestyle service like this during the due course of time. One common thing is that a customer would try our service initially with one pair and if once made happy would give his other pairs as well for refurbishment and repair work. But meeting customer expectations in our business is far more difficult that what it seems to be at the onset."

A team of 6 people, The Shoe Men is lead by Saral Budhiraja, as the Head of Operations & Business Development. He is assisted by 2 people for cleaning and repairing at the workshop, 2 delivery boys for the Pick & Drop facility, and 1 Store cum Operations Manager.

The services on offer include:

  • Shoe Refurbishment, Laundry and Repair services
  • We also do Ladies Hand Bags & Other Leather Accessories
  • Re-Heeling, Re-Soling and Sole Pasting
  • Shoe Re-coloring (Only for Suede and Nubuck Shoes)
  • Shoe Waterproofing & Shoe Anti-fungal treatment
  • Fast turn-around-time of just 4 days (Note - The Turn-Around-Time varies depending upon the complexity of the job to be done)
  • Putting Sole Protectors and Heel Protectors
  • Ladies Sandals Heel Tip Work
  • Repairing or Replacing Sports Shoes Net/Mesh
  • Heel Backside Cushioning, Putting Specially Cushioned Insoles

Talking about his plans with revenue generation, Saral says, “We are already in profit and simply would go on further bootstrapping the venture. Furthermore, I am also doing a macro level research for expansion these days. Hopefully that should reflect in our future plan of action.”

Although not exactly “ecommerce”, The Shoe Men faces some of the challenges faced by the active players in the industry, “The biggest challenge for our industry is to bring a change in customer’s lifestyle for using our service as a normal daily chore. Moreover, people are used to get their shoes repaired at local cobblers and thus usually find our pricing quite high as compared to them, completely ignoring the vast amount of difference in the quality of jobs. Thus it is all about molding and appealing to the psyche of the population,” says Saral.

On IAN, Saral says, “I am thankful to Indian Angel Network (IAN) for incubating my plan and providing me a Mentor who understands the shoe market and its customers. My incubation at IAN has helped me in several ways to fine tune my strategy and put the venture on track. I have been given seed support as well that has helped me improve the infrastructure as well as set up an offline store. Without their support and guidance, The Shoe Men may not have reached so far.”

Talking like a true Indian businessman, Saral is very close to his business, and hence, on a concluding note adds, “I am forever going to stick to the business as it is very closely attached to my heart. There are a number of things that I am pondering over these days to scale the business in no possible time. Hope I would be able to come up with a good mix of steps to be taken to do that. Overall, the future seems to be pretty good with a smiling sun shining above us with its blessings for The Shoe Men Team.”

Refurbish your shoes at The Shoe Men!

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