De­signer Fo­cus | Nidhi Bhandari

Pune-based de­signer Nidhi Bhandari ad­mits that ev­ery pair of shoes is a per­sonal style state­ment, and for the true con­nois­seur, noth­ing says bet­ter than a pair of tai­lor­made shoes. Nidhi’s clien­te­les vary from im­pul­sive buy­ers to the ones who have pre­medi

Shoes & Accessories - - Contents -

Cre­at­ing More Love for Good Shoes

Over­time with the per­sis­tence of well­cu­rated footwear for brides and grooms, my clients and prospec­tive cus­tomers have be­gun to ac­cept and adapt to this idea of unique and per­son­al­ized fine cou­ture foo twear.

Mo­ti­va­tion and the jour­ney

While study­ing ar­chi­tec­ture I re­al­ized that I wanted to learn and ex­plore my cre­ativ­ity in the field of footwear con­struc­tion and de­sign. See­ing my fa­ther build his busi­ness and hav­ing that ded­i­ca­tion, I’ve al­ways looked up to him and wanted to be like him by fur­ther es­tab­lish­ing a name in the mar­ket. He is my big­gest men­tor, and my mother the strong­est source of in­spi­ra­tion. Fam­ily has al­ways taught me the value to ful­fill my pas­sion and be driven to­wards a suc­cess­ful busi­ness.

Shoes mean just so much to me; there is mu­sic to it, there is at­ti­tude, there is sound: it’s a move­ment. As it’s rightly said: “Chase your dreams in high heels”. With this pas­sion of pur­su­ing a ca­reer in the fash­ion in­dus­try, I launched my la­bel: Nidhi Bhandari Fine Cou­ture Footwear in 2013. It was the re­sult of my fam­ily’s sup­port and my love for work that the la­bel has been on an up­ward jour­ney ever since.

Chal­lenges

It was quite tough ini­tially to get this brand out to peo­ple; first within a very niche mar­ket like Pune, and then all around In­dia as well. The idea of ‘cus­tomiz­ing’ your footwear is a new con­cept, which often makes peo­ple un­sure of do­ing it.

Sur­pris­ingly, even though this idea was some­thing new and per­sonal, the tar­get au­di­ence took a while to get ac­cus­tomed to it. Over­time with the per­sis­tence of well­cu­rated footwear for brides and grooms, my clients and prospec­tive cus­tomers have be­gun to ac­cept and adapt to this idea of unique and per­son­al­ized fine cou­ture footwear.

In­dian Footwear in­dus­try

Footwear has moved from be­ing a mere ne­ces­sity to more of a lux­ury com­mod­ity. There are so many brands avail­able to choose from, quite a few la­bels too. There are more op­tions in the ma­te­ri­als avail­able, the pro­cesses be­ing used and the over­all qual­ity of the prod­uct.

A brand new con­cept in ‘lux­ury footwear’, known as ‘cus­tomiza­tion’, is on the rise. We know that ev­ery­thing from ap­parel to home decor can be cus­tom-made for the client, and it’s about time we in­cor­po­rated the same to our footwear too.

Lack of world class footwear schools

There are nu­mer­ous world renowned la­bels that have orig­i­nated in the EU na­tions. Hence, footwear de­sign­ing is seen as a ca­reer choice abroad. Which is why we see so many schools there fo­cus­ing on pro­vid­ing a diploma/de­gree in Footwear De­sign­ing.

This is quite fresh for the In­dian au­di­ence, and will take some time be­fore we have more of such ded­i­cated schools here.

Short­com­ing in the in­dus­try

The ma­jor set­back we face is the easy avail­abil­ity of re­sources for shoe-mak­ing. In In­dia, one can­not find many op­tions in the fab­rics, ma­te­ri­als and ac­ces­sories re­quired for shoe-mak­ing.

This is be­cause there isn’t much of a de­mand for these ac­ces­sories since we do not have many footwear de­sign­ers that re­quire these ac­ces­sories. I’m sure this prob­lem will be re­solved once we have more schools ded­i­cated to footwear de­sign­ing. The grow­ing de­mand would def­i­nitely af­fect the im­port of these ac­ces­sories for the In­dian mar­ket.

Ma­jor de­sign cre­ations

Our lat­est Win­ter/fes­tive col­lec­tion fea­tures the in­tri­cate use of hand-em­broi­dered em­bel­lish­ments such as, Stones and Tas­sels, whereas our Sum­mer col­lec­tion high­lights the use of soft tones like White and Rose Gold. Each NB shoe is made while keep­ing the ‘com­fort fac­tor’ as top pri­or­ity, which is what our clients love about us.

Tar­get Au­di­ence

Our clien­tele vary from im­pul­sive buy­ers to the ones who have pre­med­i­tated their vis­its with one thing in com­mon. It leads them straight to us: The love for good shoes. In other words, we can say that we aim to tar­get a niche in the mar­ket that hasn’t been catered to be­fore: de­signer footwear with supreme lev­els of com­fort.

Nidhi Bhandari

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