Disrupting The Shoe Industry: TaTed Custom Handcrafted Shoes Under 250$.
My name is Raj Tated, 23, founder of www.tated.co or “TaTed”
I would like to keep my story sweet and simple, the problem which lead to birth of my startup.
When I was studying in Tokyo, for my post-grad, a friend of mine was looking for a shoe which fit his feet perfectly. While having a conversation with him, I understood that he has different sized feet: his left foot is a UK 6.5 and right foot is a UK 7, for me this was something new. We went to a retail brand on Ginza street, Tokyo, to try to meet his requirements, but we were disappointed when we realized no brands were able to meet such requirements of their customers.
Someone told us to visit a custom-made shoe brand, so we went there, we told them our problem and asked for my friend’s foot measurements. They told us the shoe would cost anything between 350 USD-500 USD, which was much too expensive.
That day, I went back and did my research if there are any brands which provide a custom-made shoe between $200–250. To my surprise, after a week of research, I found out that ready-to-wear dress shoes start from $180-250 with standard sizes, while all custom-made shoes start from $350 and up, depending on how established the brand and it’s history are.
Here came my eureka moment, I came back to India told my dad that I don’t want to work in our family business and instead wanted to get into shoes. I had realized that shoes were my passion and now I had a problem which I could solve. At first my parents were both against it, since we are Marwari, as a Jain family we are not allowed to have anything to do with any business related to leather or its affiliates. But I was keen on getting into it, and finally after few months, I managed at least to get approval from my father.
I bootstrapped the whole project, with support from my father. I thought of how to make our website so simple that even a toddler could design on our site. I kept the terms simple — like front, back, etc — so anyone could understand our customization window, without needing to use the industry jargon — like vamp, quarter, inner lining etc.
Designing your own shoe has never been easier. Our luxe Proprietary 3D 360 degree technology enables designers of all ages to create their own unique shoes, which tell their own stories. A 200 step process, from the art of crafting the Goodyear welt shoe, to the packaging of the shoe box ,along with your printing you own monogram on it; every step of the process is handcrafted by an artist who for four generations has been in shoe making. We made it simple: Select your shoe model, choose from the rich variety of leathers, upload an image, add your own name to it and make your own unique footprints.
Disrupting the overpriced custom-made and ready-to-wear shoe industry, we provided the customer with the ability to decide the construction requirement, and created their designs with goodyear welted construction or blake stitch construction, keeping the shoe price from $180- 250 for handcrafted custom-made “TaTed”s. We also reduced the time, 2–4 weeks, for delivery, and created a pre-order section for sneakers and other types of shoes, which are usually overpriced and out of reach for millennials.
We handcrafted all the shoes in India, but we had never explored our skilled craftsmen. With the help of a family who for 4 generations has been making handcrafted and machine-made shoes, we started.
How did we add value?
So we thought about how we can be different from others? And here comes the value for money component; from the shoe to the shoe box, everything is handcrafted, even the customer’s monogram for the shoe box. To get a smile on our customer’s face, they can put their name on the product, which makes our customers feel unique and superior.
By disrupting the traditional chain and supplying directly to the customers, we provide luxury at affordable pricing.
By providing extra: Spring shoe tree and a handcrafted wooden box along with the red velour inside and customers name on it, which looks like a case and be carried while traveling as well.
To turn customer in to a designer, we let our consumers design their own unique foot prints. This makes TaTed designs more amazing and even less like anything else. TaTed makes designing the shoe — selecting the shoe model, selecting everything from the hues to innersole and having your monogram on it — so natural, you might forget there’s incredible technology under your fingers.
We also believe in giving back to society, so for every pair of TaTed you buy there will be another shoe given to a child in need, “OWN A PAIR, GIVE A PAIR” — there is a story for this as well.
How to build trust?
Timeless craftsmanship. It’s not just a shoe. The shoe has a story. . . . It is an art, part of a 200 step process, 1 craftsmen at a time, 50–60 hours of handcrafting, from selecting the hues of the shoe to the shoe lace, along with your monogram on it.
Unlike every shoe, ours is a piece of art, which has a story. Especially since it’s designed by you and handcrafted by us.
This is how we built trust in our customers:
. By providing 99 day returns.
· By shipping world wide.
· By providing free shipping to certain countries.
Until now customers used to go to retail stores and buy the shoes that the shopkeeper wanted to sell. This means they keep few models of their shoes, with three to four colors and you get to select one out of them. But now TaTed will disrupt the system: “You buy what you actually need and not what they want to sell you. Our exclusive Made To Order section lets you design the type of shoe which you want, as far as you can imagine it and then we will handcraft for you.”