A popular adage that says â€œA man is known by the shoe he wears holds truth.â€ A man wearing clean & polished shoes leaves an unforgettable impression on others.
Here lies the opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to serve the category of people who seek shoe care services 360 days round the clock. The last decade gone by has seen drastic changes in the shoe cleaning terminology and the shoe laundry industry. The face lift of the fast growing shoe laundry industry is done by brands in the Metro’s while it’s slowly picking up in the tier II and III towns. We tell you more about the plentiful changes the shoe laundry industry is witnessing and the shiny clean prospects for investors.
Mounting perception to maintain classy and expensive shoes has given a chance to numerous brands in the shoe laundry industry to grow. The Indian footwear business has witnessed a notable growth and it is expected to continue with same CAGR reaching a value of Rs.38,700 crore by the end of 2015. So, this evidently shows that more shoes means more growth avenues in the cleaning business. The Shoemen, Reboot Shoe Laundry, Glow Shoe Laundry, Revival Shoe laundry, Paramount Shoe laundry and many other names have come up with a bang in the industry. But Shoe laundry concept is known to be made famous in India by Sandeep Gajakas of The Shoe Laundry brand. Since 2003, the man has worked hard to promote this niche concept in India. Now, he has another brand on board, called Shoe Vival which is providing franchise opportunities to investors. He comments: “This service offers been one surprise after another. We never thought people of all walks of life and all age groups would endorse and use this service. We have as many inquiries for service and franchise from smaller tier II cities as we have from Metros & tier I cities.”
If we talk of the trend in tier II and III, another brand, Nashik-based Futstep Shoe Laundry is creating waves in and around Nashik since 2009. It’s 26 year old Founder, Amit Pandey, a state level cricketer quips: “My father being from the Army background never approved of me getting into this industry. But now the Industry is slowly rising and people understand the importance of keeping their expensive shoes clean. Opportunities are fast growing in the shoe laundry business.”
Patna-based Revival shoe laundry brand believes in extending the life of its patron’s shoes. However, MD. Imran, Founder of the brand still feels that the concept is more accepted in metros. He says: “For the first class services, people are not ready to pay more as they compare the prices to that of a cobbler. This is surely a challenge.”
Changes to be made in the age old practice of going to the cobbler for any tiny thing to be done for the shoes have surely been a challenge for the players. Futstep has tied with a courier company to deliver the products at the right time to the customers. The shoe laundry industry is a complete service based sector and understanding the customer is very vital. The brands that have followed this mantra are fast growing. Pandey of Futstep says: “I worked with Reebok for initial few years and have seen people wearing as expensive as a 4000 Rs shoe but not been able to maintain it. That’s when I thought of starting a shoe laundry in a place like Nashik.” Sandeep Gajakas, Founder, The Shoe Laundry and Shoe Vival comments: “This is a labour intensive business. While we provide training and post training support all throughout, finding the right people with the right attitude to learn this very unique skill set and retaining them is important. This service requires people who have a desire to do good work and not just complete a task mechanically. Like in any specialised job, all the steps have to be performed in the right sequence and in the right manner to get the desired result. Every single person has to understand this and abide by it. This attitude has to come from the top and go all the ways to the last man in the chain.”
More than just shoes…
Not just the metros but, tier II and III towns are also witnessing more shoe laundry brands. People are slowly understanding that they may have to pay a little more than what they pay to a cobbler but the services are exceptional and worth paying for. Besides the shoe cleaning and repairing, most shoe laundry brands are also offering cleaning and maintenance of leather jackets, wallets, belts, expensive watches, Ties and much more. Free pick and drop service is definitely a cherry on the cake.