Deccan Chronicle

Walk a mile in their shoes

Deccan Chronicle| Pooja Prabbhan

Published on: July 9, 2019 | Updated on: July 9, 2019

Despite sharing a common love for great footwear, their reasons for starting up differ.

Kashif and Aravind

Kashif and Aravind

Two bright-eyed B-school dormmates turned business partners in their perpetual pursuit of affordable comfort. Well, that pretty much sums up the tale behind Rapawalk, the brain-child of two Bengaluru-based entrepreneurs, Aravind Maddireddy and Kashif Mohammad. The two 29-year-olds ventured into the shoe-making business with a rather simple intent: To conjure up budget-friendly shoes while exploring a rich heritage of artisanal craftsmanship and a passion for personalised footwear, realised with state-of-the-art 3D modelling technology.

It hasn’t been a cakewalk for entrepreneurs Aravind Maddireddy and Kashif Mohammad to reach this far. The duo behind a personalised footwear label, tell Bengaluru Chronicle their swatches-to-stitches story…

Despite sharing a common love for great footwear, their reasons for starting up differ. "Even as a child, I’ve always wanted to create something by myself; it’s always been at the back of my mind. Eventually, when I got older and got into a B-school, the dormant idea which was always on my mind started taking shape. Also, growing up in Kanpur, I was inspired by how leather products were made there," begins Kashif Mohammad, one of the co-founders of Rapawalk. He goes on to add that he also wanted to make a difference in the world, laying emphasis on seeing the larger picture. "To create jobs and make a difference to my space/society; get people to help me to do what we all shared a common love for!" he outlines the plan.

For Aravind, his humble beginnings served as an impetus. "My dad was a farmer, and I grew up in a village. My dad started a factory in Hyderabad and built something from scratch. The joy of seeing something grow always inspired me to start up. I was sure that joining an IIM would be the best option to give wings to my dreams," he says, displaying his clarity of thought from an early age.

When quizzed about how they’d describe Rapawalk in an elevator pitch, Aravind is quick to respond: "Perfectly fitting handcrafted shoes for everyone!" Convinced that their fledgling venture will resonate with the millennial buyer; Kashif Mohammad says, "We have done our research and don’t believe in shallow marketing. We make just one shoe at a time, and don’t stock up our inventory while offering a choice of designs. The focus has been on offering a fit that truly fits! On the brighter sides, millennials are accepting us as a brand owing to our relatable exclusivity." While designer wear and custom shoes might seem like high-end options meant only for the privileged, it’s not always the case. "At the end of the day, all we plan on doing is to get youngsters to personalise their shoe styles at budget-friendly rates," enthuse the millennials who seem to have identified the perfect market pitch for their product.

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