Pune Inc: Innovation meets technology as custom footwear brand Chappers expands nationwide and goes global


In shoe stores across the country, vibrant models are geared towards women while men have to settle for mostly tan, black and brown. The situation infuriated a colour-loving 23-year-old from Pune so much that he started his own brand of men’s Kolhapuris called Chappers in 2014 and offered the classic shoes in unusual shades of neon green. , lemon yellow and dull red. to men. The shoes flew off the shelves. Now, Chappers has an annual turnover of Rs 2.50 crore.

Chappers, which opened its first store in Karve Road in 2016, found enough customers in Pune to open another showroom in Aundh and a third in Pavilion Mall. There was even a Chappers on Khar-Linking Road in Mumbai, which closed during the coronavirus pandemic. In April, founder Harshwardhan Patwardhan presided over the fourth store in Pune, at Seasons Mall. “This year, we would like to raise funds. We have been primed so far. The plan is to expand Chappers India-wide and then go global,” says Patwardhan.

Chappers is no longer a brand of Kolhapuri as it has built shoe customization software and offers Belgian loafers, moccasins and mules among others according to customer specifications and tastes at affordable prices. “We have seen that there is major value in mass customization. If personalized shoes are given at the right time and at the right price, shoe brands would not need to carry inventory at all. Our Belgian custom loafers sell for around Rs 4,000,” says Patwardhan.

Thanks to the focus on personalization, Chappers no longer needs to rent an entire store. Their new franchise model goes through kiosks. “Since we’re into bespoke shoes, all we need is a screen, a few swatches and samples, and a try-on space,” Patwardhan adds. There are 300 major malls in India and Chappers is striving to have a presence in all of them over the next five years. Their USP – the commitment to deliver a personalized shoe to the customer, anywhere in India, within four days.

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The global custom footwear market is worth billions of dollars and weighs several points. Chappers delivers on its promise to deliver within hours at an affordable price. “In Europe, bespoke shoe brands are very expensive. We can do it for less, which means what they do in 90 days, we can deliver in three. There is enormous value that we hope to bring to the market,” says Patwardhan.

Its confidence stems from its workforce, especially the skilled craftsmen who create each shoe, which the company has maintained over the years and even during the pandemic. “One of our missions is to make the profession worthy. In our factory, we all wear the same type of shoes that we sell,” he says. “The brand started because I was passionate about Kolhapuris and wanted to expand it globally. Now my goal is to reach Indian footwear craftsmanship into international homes,” he adds. -he.


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