Agra: Ever heard of a shoe-tailoring boutique where you can come with your design or choose from a dossier; select the raw material, colour and price range; give your measurements; and come after a week to collect your specially customised pair of shoes? Here's one!
City-based Harvijay Singh Bahia, a shoe exporter and formula car racer, has launched the innovative venture, said to be the country's first "concept-shoes tailormade for your needs and tastes" boutique.
"The funda is simple. Just as you go to a tailor to get a shirt or a pair of trousers stitched, here you come to get a pair of shoes designed and fabricated individually for your taste and personality type," Bahia told IANS.
"You can choose your own shape, design, colour and material. We have a huge collection of magazines from all over the world, design books and archival material to choose from," he added.
Agra is the country's top producer of leather shoes and garments. Most leading brands have their units in the Taj city which has a skilled workforce of over 200,000 engaged in more than 300 small and big units.
The total annual exports range between Rs.1,500 crore to Rs.2,000 crore, according to the shoe manufacturers association.
Talking to IANS, Bahia said: "It's a concept-based marketing strategy, tailormade for individual needs, designs, colours and fitting -- to the extent that we develop a 'last' as per the client's structure and shape of feet, not forgetting to keep the prices competitive.
Bahia is happy that the response has been "very good and highly appreciated".
"Those who have visited, have already been delivered their shoes," he said.
One impressed buyer has already taken ten pairs for the whole family.
Asked how long they will last, Bahia said: "These are fashion products. So, shoes will last, but not the fashion."
The new outlet of the store will also cater to the specific needs of the fair sex.
"Many women cannot find the right pair for their comfort and structure. We make sure they are satisfied to the extent possible," he said.
Mass production of shoes by factories often ignores the individual needs and tastes.
"I had lots of customers from everywhere who wanted individual attention. A pair of shoes can give you comfort, boost your confidence and you can walk straight without physical stress," added Bahia.
Soon, a project to open a museum of shoes will be undertaken to expose tourists to the strides that Agra's shoe industry has made and to let them see what kind of shoes the Mughal emperors wore, Bahia said.