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With an eye on ethical living, vegan footwear brand KANABIS redefines style
In India, it is illegal to kill healthy young cattle; but that provides only limited protection – they are often beaten, and deprived of food and water. They are transported in appalling conditions and tortured with iron rods. It ached Devika Srimal Bapna’s heart when she learned how leather is made. As an animal lover and PETA volunteer, she gave up leather a few years ago.
However, during her transition to a more conscionable lifestyle, Devika found it almost impossible to find stylish yet affordable non-leather shoes. The options available were either very expensive or of inferior quality.
According to Devika, “We either have the non-Indian players, which are expensive and mostly do leather shoes, or the unorganised/unbranded segment, where quality, price and make are questionable.”
She noticed the unstructured nature of the footwear industry in India, and an entrepreneurial itch finally led her to take the plunge, with an aim of starting her own brand. And thus, KANABIS was born.
An 180-degree turn
Devika is a Chartered Accountant, and she started her career at a Big Four accounting firm in London. In the backdrop of such a lucrative, promising career, quitting to sell shoes was a courageous decision, to say the least!
She further added, “Moving from London to Delhi, from finance to fashion, from a big corporate to a startup, life took an 180-degree turn! But I am a go-getter. Building a team, running a company, and learning to sell, promote and market a consumer brand has been exciting, challenging and rife with learnings.”
So, what does KANABIS actually do?
The five-member team at KANABIS makes fashionable and PETA-approved vegan footwear for women. Their products are made of high-quality canvas, fabric, jute and other leather substitutes, keeping compassion for animals as a core value of the business. Each shoe also has a quirky name that tells a story about it.
The company was founded in October 2014, and they were in the market by April 2015.
Story behind the name
On being questioned as to the origin of the company’s unorthodox name, Devika says, “Historically, the canvas was made from hemp, which came from the cannabis plant. Ith is a play on the word Cannabis (aka Marijuana) and lends itself well to our canvas products.”
The USP of the product
To the animal lovers out there, KANABIS core values cannot be ignored. Their products, crafted keeping in mind the sanctity of animal life, on average, range in price from Rs 2,500 to Rs 2,800 (roughly 40-50 percent cheaper than incumbents considering the competent quality). They are available online at leading marketplaces and offline at eight multi-brand stores across the country. They manage their inventories at a warehouse in New Delhi and use a logistics company for deliveries.
Excerpt from Your Story blog. For full article click here