You Wouldn't Be Able To Take Your Eyes Off Your Shoes With This Startup
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Every startup has an eureka moment, and for this startup that moment is no less than a beautiful story. Viresh Madan, one of the co-founders of Rivir got acquainted with his partner Ankeeta painting on her shoes and that was all. This incident nurtured a startup idea in Viresh’s mind to use wearable art as his vehicle to address targeted consumers.
Rivir conceptualizes the idea of blending innovation with pop culture and has given shoes with faces of Brad Pitt and Edward Norton from Fight Club and Heisenberg from Breaking Bad painted on them. Entrepreneur caught up with Madan to share his piece of mind and experience of his entrepreneurial journey and how he came to think of an idea where we only need to look down to see that beautiful face of Brad Pitt.
How did it begin?
Since my family strongly believes in the concept of business, I was inclined to push my limits to understand the business of making art wearable. My masters at University of Birmingham not only exposed me to the ethics of marketing, but even gave me global perspective of markets. After completing graduation, I started working in the sales division with Scottish Power. After a brief, but enriching experience, I moved on to start my own venture, Skylogic Technologies Pvt Ltd, at the age of 22.
Walking the lane of entrepreneurship and vision
I don’t think I am good at taking orders. This habit made me push myself to do something on my own. I always knew I was good at selling, so in order to explore my options I carried on with it. I sold gas and electric to collecting donations for homeless people, and that got me thinking, "If I can sell for others then why not for myself?"
I had new ideas every day, but somehow the concept to capturing the young market in India with interesting casual shoes, which still remains untapped, keeps me interested in the concept. Entrepreneurship was a by-product of my quest to finding a new horizon of making a unique concept.
Taking the mini steps towards success
Rivir is more like an unplanned baby and our eureka moment says it all. I was on a business trip to save my previous startup where I met my partner, Ankeeta and saw her paint on shoes to make brilliant wearable art and that was the Eureka moment for me!
Story behind the brand name
Giving our venture a name became more difficult than actually making a business plan. We brainstormed for months, but couldn’t really finalize something. (Most of the time it was the unavailability of a domain name.) So, we knew the name had to be something unique, which is close to both of us and nothing is closer to a person than his or her own name. And bingo! Rivir was born, using Ri from Rini (Ankeeta’s nick name) and Vir from Viresh.
Business model and key players
Our model is as simple as it can get. We work in a just in time model. We offer a huge number of designs to our customers. Our presence is on our own web store, online marketplaces that sell art, like Kraftly, Worldartcommunity, Engrave, etc. We are currently working on the interface for customization of shoes, hence introducing the market to a world of designs where the customers choose their designs. Rivir is a two men army or rather I can say, 1 man and 1 woman army. Both of us have equally shared the burden of work.
Recalling the memories cherished by customers
The only reason that we have survived till now is because of the likability our product has, in the market. I still remember our first exhibition at ComiCon Delhi, when our startup was just a month old, there was a group that entered our stall and just gazed at the products for few minutes and thanked us for giving the light of the day to footwear, in their words “were too awesome to be true.” That gave us the confidence to carry on and since then we have seen a rise of sales by 300% and we have around 20% of repeat purchases.
Inspiration in life
I have always been truly excited about learning something new every day. As clichéd as it may sound but, I do seek inspiration from every person I speak. Learning something new from customers, vendors, advisors, friends, and the list can go on!
Leisure time activities and interests
I love watching cinema or sitcoms, be it shows like, Game of Thrones, House of Cards or Silicon Valley, I watch them all. When I am not watching anything, I prefer spending time with my family, so that they know I exist.
Words of wisdom for beginners
I believe ‘every dead end that you face is an opportunity to carve your own road’. Thus, my 2 cents for people starting up their venture is to be never afraid of dead ends, as one will have to overcome many hurdles to achieve their goals. Also, one should learn the art of saying NO, as saying no will not let you deviate from your goals and your dreams. . We have always believed that the quest can never conclude when it comes to fulfill your dream.
Adhering to business mantra
Innovate and Implement! The moment you stop innovating or at least evolving in accordance to the pace of market, customers will forget you. So, in order to stay ahead you need to listen to what your customers have to say about your product or brand and take suitable steps accordingly.
Overcoming the challenges pertaining to business
We are a B2C company dealing with a tangible product such as shoes, so for us maintaining the quality of the product all times is mandatory. Initially, we distributed our sample products to our friends and family and had to go through a lot of changes in the process according to their feedbacks. One thing is definite that till the time we have a great product in our hands we won’t start selling. Thus, we had to actually spend almost a year in research to launch Rivir.
Mentoring and guidance of family in career
My family has been the core strength since the start. I have been enormously lucky to have such understanding parents and siblings. My friends and family never miss a single pop up show or event, and we really appreciate the extra pair of hands at events, amidst the chaos.
My elder brother has been my mentor in this journey, who for some reason has not learnt the meaning of quitting and has also inculcated the same habit in me. I, like any other entrepreneur had thought of giving up all this and getting back to a normal corporate job, but it was him time and again pushing me to keep trying. So I tried!