This 21-year-old entrepreneur’s vegan D2C footwear brand aims Rs 50 Cr sales by 2025
Agra-based Attitudist is a vegan men’s footwear brand that boasts of over three lakh customer base, with around Rs 25 crore in revenue in FY23.
Haritima Mishra was just 18 years old when she got the idea to start a men’s vegan footwear business. Hailing from Agra, UP, Mishra recognised the struggle of small-scale leather artisans in the region during the pandemic. The artisans were left without any business and were also struggling due to unfair trade practices. Determined to make a difference, she embarked on a mission to empower artisans while promoting cruelty-free fashion.
“I wanted to uplift artisans without harming animals in the leather industry. Embracing the age-old concept of vegan leather, my goal was to offer new, affordable designs, solving both customers’ desire for stylish footwear and artisans’ need for more work opportunities,” she says.
Mishra joined hands with her brother Shivam Mishra, who was working as a performance marketing expert in a company, and her sister-in-law, Sneh Verma, a National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) graduate, to start D2C footwear brand, in 2020., an online vegan
In a span of three years, Attitudist has a customer base of over three lakh and dispatches around 30,000 orders every month. Mishra says that Attitudist made Rs 25 crore revenue in FY 22-23.
The journey so far
Before venturing into entrepreneurship, Mishra had opted for medical in her school. She says, “The use of animal leather for the production of bags and shoes deeply troubled me for years as I have grown up in a city that is known for this. Due to the immense cruelty inflicted upon these animals coupled with the trouble artisans go through in terms of holding inventory, lack of timely payments, etc., made me start the business.”
Mishra believes that taking small steps and increasing awareness about animal cruelty can help minimise its prevalence.
She emphasises the benefits of vegan leather, which cannot be ignored. Firstly, it is cruelty-free, alleviating the suffering of animals. Secondly, vegan leather exhibits high durability, remaining undamaged even in adverse weather conditions. Additionally, it serves as an affordable alternative that significantly reduces the greenhouse effect. Unlike traditional leather products, vegan leather is easily decomposable and doesn’t end up in landfills, making it more environmentally friendly. Attitudist uses PU leather as a primary raw material.
According to her, there are two crucial things for launching an online footwear brand. Performance marketing to make the brand reach the target consumer group and a good design to transform the target audience to customers, and she had both these resources. With the help of her brother and sister-in-law, she set up the base of her business.
While Mishra did not reveal how much investment went into setting up the company, she says the trio pooled in money from their savings and from their family to start the business.
Brands like Neeman’s, Paaduk’s, etc., are already present in India, but Mishra says that Attitudist stands out as it caters to majorly men’s formal shoes. The price range for Attitudist shoes starts from Rs 999 and goes up to Rs 3,000.
Abdul Qahaar, an artisan who has over 40 years of experience in footwear manufacturing, speaks about how his business operations changed after working with Attitudist and says that over the years, they had encountered many difficulties and challenges to grow and stay competitive. “One big advantage of working with Attitudist is that it frees up our money by not holding inventory, so we can run and expand our business without worrying about financial limits.”
According to Mishra, the true accomplishment came when Attitudist generated sales of Rs 12 crore for fellow artisans last year. She explains that Attitudist allocates 50% of the revenue to the artisans, which she believes is a significant contribution to their success.
“We help our artisans to go digital and also work on GST bills. Around 95% of small-scale artisans works on kacha bill (temporary bill), but we educated them to make GST invoices through which our artisans paid around Rs 1.44 crore GST last year,” she highlights.
The way forward
Attitudist doesn’t own any manufacturing unit and instead works in a just-in-time model where it takes around 20 days to get the product ready and dispatch it to customers. The return rate for Attitudist is 3% to 5%, Mishra says.
The brand works with 100 artisans and plans to generate sales of Rs 50 crore for its artisans by 2025.
Attitudist is working on strengthening its online presence and has recently listed itself on ecommerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, etc. It also plans to go offline in the next few years.
India is on the cusp of a growing vegan footwear market. According to allied market research, the global vegan footwear market size was valued at $157 billion in 2020, and is projected to reach $300 billion by 2030, registering a CAGR of 6.8% from 2021 to 2030.
Edited by Megha Reddy