Veena Ashiya, Founder and CEO, Monrow Shoes on the cruelty-free brand’s journey, strategy and aspirations…
Homegrown women’s footwear brand Monrow Shoes promotes conscious fashion through vegan and cruelty-free products. Founded in 2016 by Veena Ashiya, the brand recently inaugurated its 50th outlet, making it available at 16 new locations. In addition to exclusive outlets, the brand is also available at Shoppers Stop, Centro and Reliance Trends and on various online shopping platforms including Myntra, Flipkart, Amazon, Nykaa, Ajio and TataCLiQ.
Since childhood, Ashiya always aspired to become a businesswoman. To support and nurture her vision, she fortified her passion with a formal degree from NIFT. She has relevant industry experience with successful stints with global brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Versace from New York.
Over the past 5 years, Monrow has grown to become a national brand with a presence in metros as well as Tier II markets like Lucknow, Jaipur, Aurangabad and Siliguri. In an exclusive interview, Veena Ashiya, Founder and chief executive officer, Monrow Shoes talks about the brand’s journey, strategy and aspirations. Edited excerpts:
What sets your footwear apart from competitors in terms of style and functionality?
At Monrow Shoes, our commitment to style and functionality is a core
differentiator. We blend cutting-edge fashion trends with ergonomic designs, ensuring our footwear not only looks great but also provides exceptional comfort. Our attention to detail in craftsmanship and use of high-quality materials further enhance the durability and longevity of our products.
What is your most popular footwear line?
Our “Versatile Wedges Collection” is our most popular line. It resonates with our customers due to its versatile designs that seamlessly transition from casual to formal occasions. The combination of style, comfort, and affordability makes it a favourite among our clientele.
Tell us about your sustainable manufacturing process.
Sustainability is a key focus for us. We are actively working on reducing our carbon footprint by incorporating eco-friendly materials, minimizing waste, and adopting energy-efficient manufacturing processes. We also aim to launch a dedicated sustainable collection in the near future.
How do you stay up to date with the latest fashion trends while maintaining the brand’s unique identity?
We keep a finger on the pulse of the fashion industry through constant market research and taking both secondary as well as primary research data on point. However, we remain true to our brand’s unique identity by infusing elements of traditional Indian craftsmanship into our designs, creating a distinct fusion of global trends with Indian heritage.
How do you ensure the comfort and durability of your footwear?
Comfort and durability are non-negotiable for us. We invest in research and development, working with experts to create ergonomic designs and employ superior materials. Rigorous quality control measures are in place at every stage of production to maintain our high standards.
How have you changed with the times?
The past five years have seen a significant shift towards online shopping. To adapt, we’ve strengthened our online presence, focusing on e-commerce platforms and our website. Our growth strategy also includes leveraging data analytics to better understand customer preferences and optimize our product offerings.
What innovations do you incorporate into your designs?
We incorporate advanced cushioning technologies, lightweight materials, and antislip features into our footwear to enhance comfort and functionality. Additionally, we are exploring smart footwear solutions that integrate technology for added convenience.
Do you offer customisation to your customers?
We currently offer custom sizing options to cater to a wide range of foot shapes and sizes. We’re also exploring the possibility of introducing limited-edition personalized designs in the future.
One project that is in the pipeline where we are trying to come up with the concept of “Sexy-Ortho”. Under this, we will be designing the sole as per the pressure point of an individual’s body weight.
Any upcoming collaborations?
While we can’t reveal details at this time, we are actively exploring collaborations with renowned designers and artists to bring unique and exciting collections to our customers.
Has the rise in e-commerce impacted offline store revenues?
Yes. To adapt, we’re focusing on creating immersive in-store experiences that complement our online presence, ensuring our physical stores remain an integral part of our brand strategy.
Please share details of your online commerce strategy.
Our online commerce strategy includes a strong presence on leading e-commerce platforms such as Myntra, Ajio, Amazon and Flipkart. We also have our e-commerce website and are working on enhancing the omnichannel experience by explaining in-depth the
functionality of our product.
How much does e-commerce contribute to your total sales?
E-commerce currently contributes 25% of our total sales, and we aim to increase this to 30% in the next fiscal year by expanding our online product range and enhancing the shopping experience. Our major focus lies on our own D2C channel, our website.
Tell us about your financial performance.
We are optimistic about our sales projections for the current fiscal year, driven by our strategic initiatives and growing customer base. Currently, we are at an annual run rate of Rs40-42 crore, but we are aiming for a Rs100 crore run rate in the next 24 months.