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Success Story of a Footwear Entrepreneur: Interview to Vrinda Gupta

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Vrinda is one of these businesswomen that stands out! She has built her success by herself, learning from her mistakes, and overcoming obstacles.

Alumni of the famed ARS Sutoria Footwear Design School in Milan, she also learnt from TaF.tc, Fashion Training Center in Singapore. With 5 years of experience in fashion buying and merchandising of women’s footwear, she launched her eponymous label ‘VRINZ’ in 2016 and moved on to be a founder at TEAL in 2018. From her home in Singapore, Vrinda began cultivating the idea of a shoe brand that supports, not only local talent but a global mission too!

Setting up her workshop in India, she began searching for exceptional talented artisans who needed an outlet to showcase their incredible craft. Vrinda loves colors and endeavors to include quirky color combinations and exquisite hand embroidery in all her designs. Slow fashion practices and style-conscious are essential values for her. Every woman must look fabulous with ethical fashion!

More than an entrepreneur, Vrinda is also a trainer and mentor. She trains, consults, and mentor Brands and individuals on footwear design development.

Get inspired by the interview of this engaging successful businesswoman.

How did you decide to launch your first brand VRINZ and then TEAL?

Vrinda: VRINZ was launched simply out of my passion for fashion and footwear in 2009. With no formal training in fashion but a desire and a dream and a lot of support from my family, I launched VRINZ. I made maximum mistakes in the first two years but also learnt the maximum that has stayed with me.
After a few years of doing VRINZ, I decided to take some time off and study shoemaking and all about it, and out of that experience, I realized that India has tremendous potential to make shoes. I traveled to India and tried working with artisans and was amazed by the beauty and craft they possessed and that’s how TEAL was born in 2016. The idea was to convey the skills of these artisans to a global audience.

What a week in the life of a footwear entrepreneur is like?

Vrinda: A week needs to be planned in advance. There is really no off day. Depends on which phase of work we are in from designing to seeking inspiration to sketching to prototyping, producing, and then selling. At every point each day some time has to be allocated for marketing especially social media whether you are doing it yourself or working with a company that handles it for you. Once every 2 months, I travel back to my workshop in India, and the whole day I spend in my workshop, working with my wonderful artisans, creating and the whole day just flies off! Those are truly the best and most satisfying days.

How did you learn footwear design?

Vrinda: I learnt it formally at ARS Sutoria (Milano, Italy) and TaF.tc Singapore but I feel a lot of it comes from within and it’s surprising how simple things can truly inspire superb designs!

I know that craftsmanship is very important to you. What else is at the heart of your creation?

Vrinda: The blend of Indian craftsmanship with quirky designs is at the heart of my creation. Surface ornamentation, three-dimensional embroidery, mismatched pair of shoes that are all fun are the core of my brand. Also, our very firm belief in slow fashion and to-not-mass-produce is very important to us.

” Engaging and supporting skilled artisans along with preserving traditional shoe making techniques is at the heart of what we do at TEAL. “

How do you stay inspired to come up with new designs?

Vrinda: I constantly read, see magazines, social media and then there will be few things that catch your eye when you least expect it and inspire you. I always say inspiration is literally everywhere.

How do you manage to be the CEO of your brand and your manufactury?

Vrinda: Manufacturing for other brands has just started a year back and it started because I realized so many small brands wish to do shoes and can not due to MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity). TEAL wants to support all these small businesses and manufacture for them thereby benefiting our artisans as well as the brands. Managing both is a constant juggle but the main thing is to be true to my own brand and what it stands for and also to understand what the other brands want and design for them accordingly and to avoid any kind of crossovers.

What is the hardest part of managing several businesses?

Vrinda: Time management! It becomes a juggle sometimes to prioritize but everything needs to be listed in the perspective of what’s most important.

You are also a trainer and a mentor at Taf.tc. What do you enjoy the most from that perspective?

Vrinda: I am fortunate and grateful to be a trainer and a mentor at Taf.tc. I am happy to share all my knowledge, skill, and business experience with the students. I always speak a lot about how I run my business and what mistakes I made and what I wish I knew before I started to give my students a firm background before they start. I wish to handhold them in their journey to succeed in their footwear business when they launch.

Can you describe one of the worst mistakes you made and how you fixed it?

Vrinda: The worst mistake I made was to source a very large quantity from China when I started VRINZ as I couldn’t negotiate that. It became very difficult to sell that and turned out to be a huge issue in my business. As a business, you should always start small and test the market first. With TEAL that is why I wish to support entrepreneurs who want to start small with no pressure on MOQs and first test the market.

Register for free and come to meet Vrinda for our next webinar: 

Topic: How to be a Successful Footwear Entrepreneur

Date: September, 5th
Time: 4:30PM to 5:30PM SGT 

About the Author

Manon Drui

Fashion Collaborator
Medium: https://medium.com/@manon.a.drui/

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