"Sustainability factor is Picking Momentum in Socks Category": Lubeina Shahpurwala

In an exclusive conversation with Lubeina Shahpurwala, co-founder, Mustang Socks & Accessories talks about phenomenal growth in the socks category.
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Lubeina Shahpurwala

The socks category has evolved immensely over the years. How do you trace the journey of socks category as the basic essential to fashion accessory?

Yes, socks as an industry has definitely evolved over the years, making its presence felt in every person’s wardrobe. The change is largely due to ever-changing fashion trends. Customers are able to see the value of socks for not just utility purpose, but to also add style to their appearance.

Multiple players venturing into this industry have also contributed to creating a wider visibility of the product by bringing variety to the table.

Lastly, social media and influencers too have played a major role by making the socks more visible as a part of everyday fashion wear.

Kindly shed light on your entrepreneurial journey. How did you think of initiating retail venture? And, why only socks? Also, shed light on initial challenges?

It was in 1987 when Mustang was founded as a premium brand of cotton socks since this was an option that was not available in the market.This thought marked the starting point of our journey.

The initial days had its own set of challenges as does any start up.  Eventually, we introduced high end computerisedmachinery to scale our production. The Hosiery industry being mostly a wholesale trade run and dominated industry motivated us to make the then “disruptive” choice of direct distribution to retail. Today we are at 1 million pairs capacity and growing!

Kindly shed light on your current distribution in the Online as well as offline space? Going forward what are the plans to scale up the distribution? Are you working with any modern retailer as a part of distribution strategy?

Currently, we are working offline through our strong distributor community. We have a network of 40 distributors spread across the country. Our presence is stronger in the north and west regions of the country, as compared to the south and east markets. However, we are aggressively exploring more associations to expand.

We are also available on e-commerce platforms such as Myntra, Amazon, FirstCry, etc. Additionally, we are soon launching our own ecommerce platform to reach out to audience directly.

Have you done any brand licensing collaboration for any national or international IP such as Disney, Marvel, Snoopy amongst others. If yes, then provide the details, how do you leverage out of this strategy?

We have done brand licensing and collaborated with various popular characters such as Minions, Garfield, Snoopy, among others. Licensing is one of such tools that helps a brand to connect with its customers better. It helps in personifying the product, making it more relatable for the customer.

 Are you bootstrap or have raised any sorts of funds so far? Or plan to?

Mustang Socks & Accessories has been boot strapped and have not raised any funds so far. With the growing market of international and national players, we are always looking out for strategic alliance which can help us better and reach out to the people of India with our products.

Who do you see as your competition within the same space?

We believe in collaboration rather than competition. In fact we all are benefactors who are contributing towards the growth of socks industry. Each player in this industry is relentlessly working towards making socks an important piece of clothing by introducing innovative trends and designs, to the masses.

 Kindly highlight your best sellers along with starting and exiting price points?

The kids category socks has always been the best sellers at Mustang. The most popular designs include cute teddy, car, space ships in boys; and a special accent on frill land lace socks for little girls.

These socks range approximately between Rs. 95 to 135.

According to you, what are the latest consumption trends in the socks category?

The no show socks are the most popular. They work well with the ballet flats as well as sneakers for all

There are no boundaries in the fashion world today and whether you like it or not the ‘socks trend” is making its way into the fashion game.

Sustainable fashion, Ethical manufacturing practices as well as social cause association, is gaining high preference while choosing a product.

At last, kindly highlight your growth plans?

Mustang are the pioneers in socks manufacturing. We hope to transcend those learnings amongst the younger entrepreneurs so as to create a community for socks manufacturers, which has been the long time vision for us as business owners.

 

The growth is subject to the changing dynamics of the industry and consumer needs. We wish to keep working towards the quality and accessibility of the products in the future.

Lubeina Shahpurwala
 
 
 
 
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