How it all got started!
It’s quite rare that one passion and vision is following two stories.
Sujeet Madhogaria after graduating from Amity University started working in Accenture as a business analyst it was a monotonous and usual work day when someone shouted wow that’s an amazing shoes, sujeet was awestruck with creativity on shoes after enquiring for the same realized his friend end up paying 4k for getting Animated characters on the shoes.
This started itching his head & whole night he was not able to get a sound sleep, because of that friend’s expression of personalized satisfaction without any regrets of paying huge sum.
Whole night I simply studied about this concept which increased my curiosity more and more.
With only one thing in mind to make such product affordable, we happen to realize this by survey & interaction with more than 500 people includes friends and family who fall in our T.G. where we asked people about apparel brand they are wearing, 95 % knew which brand they were wearing and their preferences without a blink of second thought but when it came to shoes gazes went down and answer was mixed with question marks and smile explaining the situation.
It’s then we happen to carve our niche after realizing early on, middle income consumers have high inclination towards buying international brands like Nike,Puma,Adidas among others but because of premium pricing they couldn't afford one.
On the other hand mid segment focused footwear brands have been biased with same old products branded around with little or no differentiation; reason being consumption power is not well explored in the segment and consumers buy it just as a part of necessity to cover one's feet with little or no loyalty towards specific Indian footwear brands
Starting with slip-ons and lace ups, FGali have expanded widely in Bellies, heels and wedges. Working on footwear designed by different artists and Fan ART, FGali has become favorite of many youngsters. Lots of celebs , stylist , Fashion Bloggers, models , TV stars have been also spotted wearing FGali.
Shakeef Khan (Cofounder) shares a different story.
Shakeef explains, during my stint as an android developer in my last venture where i was pissed off with all day coding part, I happen to browse through a regular Facebook update where I saw a compelling Facebook thread and I got mesmerized with the creativity on shoes done by an artist; after making an enquiry for the same realized I couldn’t afford one, but there were many who were ready to pay 2.5 k and willing to wait for 14 days of delivery after paying an upfront amount for the same.
Since my college days just as every youth aspired to be the one among crowd, I always craved to look cool & swanky so as to be noticed among all.
Reason being started searching for such artist designed shoes online but could hardly find any and that’s when I sensed a Business opportunity around a product, a thought that intrigued me was, if there is much of demand from consumers and little supply there will be a broken link left to be gauged & fixed, since then there was no looking back.
Initial idea was to create a marketplace for different artist from Mumbai to help them sell uniquely designed shoes and enable them to reach out to more audience with ease of payment and delivery.
FGali is a Design led footwear brand offering rich but affordable unique experience to young feets.
When we asked Why FGali? Sujeet Smiled and said F stands for Fashion, Footwear, Funky, FanArt.
He added “Smart shoes are not comfortable, and comfortable shoes are not that smart! When if it is comfortable as well as smart, it’s not affordable! And we are solving this major problem - says Sujeet Madhogaria
FGali works with artists all across India by asking them to submit designs on a given shoe outline. It's after internal evaluation, keeping a third eye on every aspect, we choose best designs understanding preferences of our end customers, it's then we get started with manufacturing of a product after paying an upfront amount to an artist.
After closely working with artist we happen to realize, every artist has a story to tell as to why they choose art as a career, idea imagination behind an artwork, one of a famous story of our artist is how she fought with depression and art help her to recover.
Nida Charfare, one of our leading artists was a girl full of life in her early college days but eventually she started getting depressed when she opted commerce as a graduation and her school friends started excelling in their life by getting settled into their respective careers.
She started cursing herself for not keeping up well with academics, later on she realized cause of depression being his loose connection with art which she used to pursue passionately in early days of her academics.
Having come across with such stories on daily basis we thought to ship such artist stories with every product they design.
FGali was launched in mid 2014 by Sujeet Madhgoria (26), Shakeef Khan (25) later joined by Arshad Shaikh (30) Akansha Kapoor (21).
Shakeef and Sujeet having worked closely when Yute was a marketplace, two years after respective operations they decided to join hands, yute – an online only footwear brand having mid segment as a focus and selling artist designed prints on shoes, Sujeet on the other hand have scaled Fgali to more broader level in offline space. Both decided to work together to use both channels and scale it to new level having 4 years of cumulative experience in niche.
Akansha, stylist by profession having styled many Bollywood celebs works on aesthetics of products,gets involved in quality and designs up gradation of products.
Arshad on the other hand having worked with Brands like Grey, Directi and Shopper stop excels in building a digital marketing campaign for our brand and brings 10 years of experience on board.
Challenges and overcoming them
Initial challenge was to understand the ins and out of product & business. Having no retail/manufacturing background took us time to understand the overall market and build a scalable business model around it. Building a quality product without any compromises this is reason being brands like Metro, Mochi and other such offline players currently working with us.
Other challenges most vertically integrated players face is to get best experienced merchandiser on board & also to understand the real need of target consumer and deliver the best options in different variants which include inventory supply chain complexities.
Upside about this challenges being it creates a significant barrier to entry for new entrants.
We realized early it's tough to build a scalable consumer brand if you are competing on pricing & Designs. It’s important to deliver a value in terms of unique experience which will help you in building loyalty and word of mouth for a brand in a long run.
We believe our USP lies in giving a unique experience to consumers who can't afford premium segment products but aspire to buy one.
Company is currently clocking revenue run rate of 40 lakhs and growing at 15 % MOM and now in talks with Retail Veterans and real estate barons for closing first round of funding.
Market, Industry Growth and Competition
Indian Footwear market is estimated to be 38,700 Crore market with a growth rate of 20 % YOY.
It's quite surprising the overall eCommerce Footwear market stands for 20 % of entire Indian e-Tail and stands for 7,700 Crore in Sales.
With average footwear consumption of 3 shoes / year, vertical is set to grow with increasing online penetration in tier II, III cities wherein earlier available options were quite less. Niche is set to grow as customers are more inclined to shop for style quotient which was earlier more of necessity to cover bare foots.