"This leaves the male fashion market unexplored"
Entrepreneur Mikhil Mehra is the founder of The Dapper Man and Pelle Santino. He has built a handcrafted shoe brand for men after seeing a gap in the Indian market.
He explained that there is a misconception that men do not have different varieties of style, only limited to shirts, t-shirts, jeans and trousers.
Mikhil decided to establish a male-centric shoe brand called Pelle Santino.
Pelle Santino offers a comprehensive range of handmade shoes for men, subsequently clearing up the misconception.
Mikhil explained: “Studies suggest that only about a fourth of all brands are male-centric, the remaining majority are female-focused brands.
“This leaves the male fashion market unexplored and with multiple opportunities especially in the accessories and footwear space.”
He revealed that what makes his shoe brand unique is that the shoes are made using the finest quality leathers from Italy, Brazil and Argentina.
Mikhil added: “We are the only footwear brand in India that offers the widest range of footwear construction methods, ranging from Goodyear Welted, Blake Stitched, Bologna, to stuck-on.
“Unmatched designing – with us, men don’t have to stick just to the basics; they have an extensive, yet exclusive choice range – from timeless classics to the best of modern designs.”
His brand has the motto ‘All men should have access to great shoes’.
Mikhil now plans to expand his fashion brand online as well as offline.
“The plan is to tie-up with select and premium e-tail brands in the domestic and international markets to reach out to our customers through the ever-expanding digital space.
“For offline expansion, there is still a great proportion of buyers who’re more comfortable with the brick-and-mortar shopping model, for them – we plan to open boutiques in top cities where our products could be displayed for the ones who wish to see and try first hand.”
Despite creating a niche fashion brand that offers 100% handcrafted luxury shoes for men, Mikhil did experience some challenges.
On the challenges, he said:
“Being an entrepreneur of a startup, means you need to be a multi-tasker.
“Right from sourcing raw material to manufacturing and marketing, you need to deep dive into different aspects of business to run a successful startup.
“My journey as an entrepreneur has been challenging yet satisfying.
“Establishing an online brand required a good understanding of selling on social channels.”
“While we all use social media for personal networking, selling to customers needed a different game plan altogether.
“This journey has been a great learning curve for me.”
For other young entrepreneurs starting out in the men’s fashion industry in India, he stated that they should believe in their idea.
He added: “They must not start a business with a mindset to be ‘bought out’ later; rather focus on establishing a legacy.
“Be adamant about your goals and what you want to achieve.”