Interview Jul, 26 2016

The 30 Year old Paired Opportunity

In a short interview, Lubeina Shahpurwala, Co Founder, Mustang Socks shares the success story of Mustang and what made her envisage a business that seemed a risky opportunity back then.

By Deepankar Hemnani
The 30 Year old Paired Opportunity

Conceptualized in the year 1987, when socks were even lesser than a utility, and were just considered as an invisible asset. However, two women entrepreneurs saw the real potential in this business and collaborated to set up Mustang socks, which is currently a standalone entity in the world of socks varying in so many types that no one ever imagined.

Please share about your entrepreneurial journey and discuss about the challenges you faced and how did you overcome these issues?

Establishing a successful business model in such an unorganized market, as socks has been considered a very niche and small segment. Changing consumer mindset towards socks, back in 80's and 90's was our aim since beginning. At that point in time, socks were seen just as a mere utility product or you can say it was one the most neglected part of one's wardrobe. Therefore, our challenge was to transform that positioning of socks in the market, as well as consumers mind set from a utility element to a fashion statement accessory. The reason behind this was mainly because they were not well explored with the various factors associated to it. But one cannot deny with the fact that Indian consumers have constantly been evolving in terms of their buying behavior, they are loyal to products which are consistent on quality, service and innovation. Today, people like to keep pace with fashion trends coupled with rising income levels particularly developing countries are helping elevating and positioning of such products.

Please share the USP of your business?

At Mustang, we mainly focus on two things, the quality of the socks and designs, and I believe that these two aspects are the USP of our business. Nazneen and I don’t follow fashion trends. We love experimenting and innovating new trends and style. We want to provide the best and the latest designs to our customers. Very often I personally feel, that it doesn’t make business sense to do few designs. But we have gone ahead and taken the risk and that is one of the things which that set us apart.

What are the factors that pull you back while expanding your business?

Over two decades of Mustang Socks & Accessories establishment, we still are grounded towards giving our consumers the best quality over anything else. If I had to really point out challenges it would be more at the level of standardisation and identity which we as a brand would like to bring notice for socks as an industry.

Please elaborate about your franchising model? What do you offer to a potential female who wishes to follow your footsteps and become your franchisee?

At this moment, we are working towards expanding our distribution network and have very recently extended our network in the North Eastern markets.

As being a leading female distributor, what are the challenges that you face working with male counterparts?

I have personally never taken it as a challenge being a woman in manufacturing, and every business and its environment has far more pertinent issues to deal with than being a female. I think the focus needs to be on creating and developing world class products and an ecosystem to enhance the overall perception of the industry. It’s not about being a male or female, it is about getting the mindset in the right order and if we can communicate that effectively which can be validated with our long lasting partnerships with distributors and consumers associated with our brand over several years has been our biggest success. 

Related: How a unique collaboration is transforming education into edutainment

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