“Focus on Men’s Fashion Has Been Long Ignored, Especially Footwear” – Mikhil Mehra, Founder, Pellé Santino

·3-min read

With the motto ‘All men should have access to great shoes’, this young entrepreneur saw a gap in the men’s footwear industry and built a brand that offers 100% handcrafted affordable luxury shoes for men. Mikhil Mehra, the founder of The Dapper Man and Pellé Santino, shares his vision and journey of building a ‘Make in India’ fashion footwear brand with world-class standards.

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  1. What led you to the idea of establishing a male-centric brand?

There is a misconception that men need not have different varieties of style, and that it's limited to only shirts, t-shirts, jeans & trousers. We established Pelle Santino that offers a comprehensive range of handmade footwear for men and clears this misconception. Studies suggest that only about a fourth of all brands are male-centric, the remaining majority are female-focused brands. This leaves the male fashion market unexplored and with multiple opportunities especially in the accessories and footwear space.

  1. What's the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of your brand?

We offer 100% handcrafted leather footwear made using the finest quality leathers from Italy, Brazil, and Argentina. We are the only footwear brand in India that offers the widest range of footwear construction methods, ranging from Goodyear Welted, Blake Stitched, Bologna, to stuck-on. Unmatched designing – with us, men don’t have to stick just to the basics; they have an extensive, yet exclusive choice range – from timeless classics to the best of modern designs.

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  1. What are your expansion plans?

We have a goal to expand our brand online as well as offline. The plan is to tie-up with select and premium e-tail brands in the domestic and international markets to reach out to our customers through the ever-expanding digital space. For offline expansion, there is still a great proportion of buyers who’re more comfortable with the brick-and-mortar shopping model, for them – we plan to open boutiques in top cities where our products could be displayed for the ones who wish to see and try first hand.

  1. What challenges did you face as an entrepreneur?

Being an Entrepreneur of a startup, means you need to be a multi-tasker. Right from sourcing raw material to manufacturing and marketing, you need to deep dive into different aspects of business to run a successful startup. My journey as an entrepreneur has been challenging yet satisfying. Establishing an online brand required a good understanding of selling on social channels. While we all use social media for personal networking, selling to customers needed a different game plan altogether. This journey has been a great learning curve for me.

  1. What advice would you like to give to other young entrepreneurs starting out in the men’s fashion industry in India?

It might sound a cliché, but I would advise young entrepreneurs to believe in their business idea. They must not start a business with a mindset to be ‘bought out’ later; rather focus on establishing a legacy. Be adamant about your goals and what you want to achieve.