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Read moreIn some places, such as the southern state of Kerala, new-shoe maker Maitreya shoes was sold out of its factory in the city of Kerala on March 5, the day it was supposed to have finished making shoes.
But the factory had been shut down.
Maitreyan has sold the factory for Rs 10 crore to a private investor.
Mareesa, a footwear brand founded by the daughter of the late Tamil leader P. Chatterjee, is now making shoes in its factory at Kannur, in the state’s north-east.
But its footwear brand has been struggling to gain traction in India, as well as elsewhere.
In some parts of the country, such shoes are sold out in days.
The company is now focusing on bringing its footwear to the domestic market.
In contrast, the footwear maker J.M.
S Shoes, based in the capital, Delhi, is expected to have a major role in bringing its shoes to India in the next few years.
It has a major factory in Delhi and is looking to start making shoes there soon.
Mashraj, the chief executive officer of the J.S.S., said that he had no plans to leave India.
“We are here to make the most out of this opportunity,” he said.
But, it will take time for the footwear company to gain the traction it needs in India as it tries to attract customers and make money.
“In India, there are no companies that can compete with J. S.
S, because of the competition,” he added.
“In some areas, we are not doing well.
We have to focus on bringing our products to the market.”
Maitraj added that he believes that India is a market where the footwear industry has not seen significant growth.
“There are no brands with a huge footprint here.
So, the only way we can do that is by building a brand,” he stressed.
Makeshift shops have cropped up across the country in search of a new shoe.
But in some of these, the owner is still selling the shoes, which are now being made by subcontractors, at a fraction of the cost.
“There is a lack of confidence in the footwear sector in India,” said Gautam Prakash, director of footwear consultancy and research, at industry body, the Retail Council of India.
In fact, the lack of traction for the industry in India is becoming a problem.
“We are facing a major issue in India in terms of footwear industry.
The sector is not strong and there are problems in terms, supply chains, quality, quality control,” said S.K. Jain, chief executive, L.P. Maitraji & Prakasa.
He said that the industry was being forced to find alternatives, like sourcing from overseas suppliers and using low-cost footwear factories to create shoes for its domestic customers.
“The supply chain is very fragmented.
And there are not many local factories.
So the companies can’t afford to hire local people,” he pointed out.
“So the quality of the footwear is poor.”
Makars, a leather goods firm in Delhi, has also faced challenges in the past few years, with its factory going bust.
“The company had been producing leather goods for nearly 50 years.
We had a plant here in Delhi.
But the plant is now shutting down and the supply chain has not been developed.
We need more time to improve our manufacturing and quality control system,” said Mukesh M. Mukherjee, managing director, Mukherji Leather Goods.
“With the closure of the factory, we cannot do the quality control and quality assurance for leather products anymore.
It is a sad situation.”
Mukherjee said that it is not only the footwear that is struggling in India; leather products, like handbags and clothing, are also being a problem for the domestic shoe market.
“I don’t think the Indian footwear market has developed as fast as we would like,” he noted.
While Maitreyya has sold out its factory, Maitriya’s business is not yet done.
The brand has plans to invest more money in manufacturing its shoes, he said, but the company will take more time until it can be ready to export.
“It is not easy to sell shoes overseas, but we are ready to do it.
We want to make shoes in India and we are confident we can,” Mukherj said.