Solethreads’ flip flops are marked by quirky designs
Young and vivacious footwear brand Solethreads’ flip flops are spunky, tech-driven and super comfortable. The homegrown brand that operates online and is available at multiple footwear stores across India scores high on rubberized skid-resistant sole, to its recycled PVC straps and hand-printed graphic designs. Sumant Kakaria, co-founder and CEO, Solethreads takes us through his venture. Excerpts:
Q) What was the idea behind starting the brand?
Flip flops is the biggest and the most penetrated category in footwear in India, and has always been dominated by mass players. Gaurav Chopra, with whom I founded Solethreads has worked with global fashion & footwear brands for over a decade and realized the white space in this category, and also the fact that current players were unwilling to invest the time and resources necessary to reinvent and own it in India. However, this category has been consistently growing globally with players like Havaianas and Reef leading the game, and making flip flops the go-to footwear for comfort and relaxed style. Gaurav realized that the Indian consumers, especially the youth, were ripe for this wave, but no one was catering to this growing need. I have helped numerous large brands scale up their offline and online business. Together we launched the iconic and innovative brand Solethreads.
What can we find in the collection?
Solethreads takes pride in being the harbinger of innovation & latest technology in footwear design. Given that flip flops is the most penetrated and highest-selling sub-category within the footwear and there is so much white space there, we would want to focus on making a mark there before getting into any allied categories. The brand has Phylon moulded technology (ultra-light & shock absorbent), Squishy technology (super soft and comfortable) and their patented Synturf technology (grass flip flops) under its umbrella. We have more than 30 design patents already and have some really new-age innovation in the pipeline, both in the product such as DIY designs, as well as in the business model such as personalized footwear.
What is the USP of the brand?
Solethreads is the only brand disrupting this huge category of open footwear, especially for the youth through a combination of innovative technologies and quirky designing. With Gaurav’s expertise and immense knowledge, we have built an in-house designing and R&D team that focuses on innovation and global trend spotting that connects with the youth. The secret sauce of our success is ‘speed to market’. From its rubberized skid-resistant sole, to its recycled PVC straps, hand-printed graphic designs or the currently trending Grass flip flops - under Solethreads strong product-market mix, each product is engineered with ergonomic precision and great aesthetics. We have developed in-house processes to offer customization & personalization to the evolved user, which is a first in this category. Our unique designing, innovation in footwear technology and the fast-fashion approach is unparalleled in India. In terms of the price points also, Solethreads operates in the very scalable segment of affordable premium fashion. Our biggest strength is the digital forward approach the brand takes to connect and acquire its customers. We give the young shoppers a semi-premium and high-quality product range, at just the right pricing.
We have already established a strong product-market mix and are gaining huge traction online. Our design aesthetic and product innovation are ensuring that customers are turning to us for out-of-home use, and occasion led buying is something we are looking to build further. Our revenue is growing at 40% m.o.m. Once we close our equity led fundraise, we will ramp up our customer acquisition and brand-building efforts. We are obsessed with customer service and will be putting a lot of actions behind ensuring retention and faster repurchase. Solethreads aims to become a 300cr fast fashion ‘open footwear’ brand in the next 3 years with a strong online and offline presence. We are also bullish ongoing global based on our recent pilot tests across various international platforms.