A sustainable shoemaker Taran Chhabra began the journey of Neeman's with Merino wool, but soon went on to explore innovative natural and recycled alternatives adding affordable and accessible styles to expand its reach.

By Priya Kapoor

This story appears in the May 2023 issue of Entrepreneur India. Subscribe »

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Taran Chhabra, Co-founder, Neeman’s

Who wouldn't want an odor-free and comfortable shoes for daily wear? And what if that shoe is made from natural fibres instead of synthetic and chemical-heavy fibers that are bad for the environment. Neeman's is one such brand that was born out of this profound realization. "With very little background in footwear and design, we traveled to different shoe manufacturing hubs around the world to learn how shoes were made. What we saw left us puzzled. We wanted to change that and started looking for materials that served the purpose of a shoe but with negligible damage to the planet."

While the journey of Neeman's started with Merino wool, it soon went on to explore innovative natural and recycled alternatives adding affordable and accessible styles to expand its reach. "Neeman's, as a brand, started gaining shape when I was in the USA, and realized the potential benefits of using Merino wool in footwear. After a lot of research and exploration, Amar (co-founder) and I began researching various possible eco-friendly materials that could take the shape of a shoe. Eventually, after months of research and development, we registered our organization in April 2018, and launched our first product in December of the same year," says Chhabra.

But why did Chhabra decide to venture out digitally instead of opening a brick and mortar store? "With no limitation by geography, we could reach any and every one via the online route. This not only reduces costs, but also allows us to have greater control over the customer experience. We believe that the digital medium has been instrumental in our success, and helped us to drive retention through targeted marketing campaigns and constantly grow as a brand to reach larger audiences." says Chhabra.

Apart from its own website, the brand can also be bought on marketplaces like Amazon, Myntra, Flipkart and operates logistics via various third party operators. "Platforms like Google, Meta help us reach our target audience and make them aware of our offerings. However, we are constantly experimenting with different partners to find the best fit for our customers."

So how is the brand holding on its own when most of D2C brands are getting acquired by House of Brands or Corporates? "Neeman's is a brand that is built on the foundation of sustainability, innovation, and customer-centricity. We are proud to be an independent and self-sustaining D2C brand that is committed to providing the customers with best possible experiences. We have seen significant growth in recent years, and we believe that our focus on quality and customer satisfaction is what has helped us hold our own in the competitive D2C space," adds Chhabra.

The brand also engages with customers through various channels, such as social media, newsletters, celebrity and influencer. As far as expansion plans are concerned, the brand is currently focusing on expanding its reach within India only.

Realising that offline stores complement online presence and provide a holistic shopping experience for customers, it opened two exclusive brand stores in Mumbai and Hyderabad. "We took our time to understand and research market patterns and the demands of our customers before venturing into it. We started with multi-brand stores offline, but now we have started opening our exclusive brand stores to offer a more personalized experience to our customers."

Going forward, in FY 2023-24, the company wants to focus on expanding its product offerings, building its offline presence, and continue innovating with better resources. "We will continue to invest in research and development to explore new, sustainable materials that can become part of our products, and provide our customers with a wider range of sustainable fashion options. We also plan to expand our line of women specific footwear. Additionally, we plan to open 20 more stores in the next 12-16 months, as we believe that offline retail is an important component of our growth strategy,"


Online platform that contributes/results in maximum revenue: Official website

Year of Inception: 2017

Wavy Line
Priya Kapoor

Feature Editor

Priya holds more than a decade of experience in journalism. She has worked on various beats and was chosen as a Road Safety Fellow in 2018, wherein she produced many in-depth & insightful features on road crashes in India. She writes on startups, personal finance and Web3. Outside of work, she likes gardening, driving and reading. She can be reached at her email id: kpriya@entrepreneurindia.com




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