Being a part of the family business is great, but often times you will wish to pursue your own ideas and dreams, and take matters in your own hands. This is what happened to brothers Aman Gautam, 27, and Prashanna Gautam, 30. While they were involved in shoe making industry before the launch of Caliber Shoes as they worked for their dad’s company that had been established around 25 years ago, they wanted to start something new, on their own. That’s when they deliberated and came up with the idea and concept for Caliber Shoes.
“In Nepal, there aren’t many branded, genuine products. Most of the shoes you get here are usually cheap copies from China. They aren’t properly designed and thus not durable. So, in 2015, my brother and I decided to create this brand of elegant yet durable shoes,” says Aman Gautam, director of Caliber Shoes.
He explains this aim was why the company was named Caliber, which stands for quality. Since they want to produce shoes of the finest standards, some of their materials are imported from countries such as China and India. “While we are a Nepali brand and the production takes place in Nepal itself, sadly we have to use some materials from abroad as most of the materials here are of cheap quality and are not long-lasting,” adds Gautam. Additionally, to create only the best shoes, Gautam explains he along with his brother went abroad to observe how shoes were made there so that they could pick up different skills and techniques to apply while making shoes back home.
While this is one way they have adopted to make their shoes’ designs and quality better, another way is by heeding to customer feedback. “When a customer buys shoes from us, we later ask for feedback on its durability, design, and comfort so that if there is something they are not happy with, we can try to work on these problems to make our products better. Constructive criticism is always appreciated,” adds Gautam.
He further explains how before a new pair of shoes is available in the market, there is a long trial and error process, where they research and test it again and again till they believe that they have done their best. They also train new workers before they get into the actual process of making the shoes to make sure they are skilled and knowledgeable enough to be able to craft good shoes.
Despite the extensive effort it takes to make good shoes, Gautam says the process of starting the company and coming up with new designs wasn’t that difficult. This was due to the fact that he already had previous experience in the shoe making industry due to his family business, and thus already had contacts and knew how to approach the idea of starting a new company. However, this does not mean that he faced no challenges whatsoever. “At first, it was a challenge to be recognized in the market. As the market was flooded with fake, cheap products, it took a while for us to spread the word about our brand and to gain people’s trust,” he says.
Nevertheless, they took that challenge head-on, and focused really hard on marketing and getting the word out there. Multiple advertisements were released on various Nepali TV networks and newspapers, along with social media promotion. “We really focused on promoting ourselves on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook as these days information can be spread really fast through these outlets,” explains Gautam.
At the moment, Caliber make footwear for men. However, very soon, they are launching a sports shoes line for women. They are also planning on having retail partners in Malaysia and India as well. They currently have eight outlets in places such as Baneshwor, Koteshwor, Durbar Marg, Chahabil, New Road, and around 150 retail partners. While most of the shoes are available in all the official outlets, at the retail stores a limited number of designs are available. Also, since Caliber wants its footwear to be accessible to Nepalis all over the country, they have a vision of opening 50 outlets across Nepal within the next three years.
“We believe in customers actually getting a look and feel of the product physically rather than just seeing the shoes online. That is one of the main reasons why we are focusing on physical outlets. We don’t want people to only buy our shoes online,” says Gautam adding that they don’t provide home delivery for that specific reason. However, that does not mean you can’t order a pair of Caliber shoes from the comforts of your home. It’s available on two popular online shopping sites: Daraz and Sasto Deal. However, Gautam mentions that this is only due to high demand of online availability.
Caliber shoes come in sizes 38 to 43 and are priced anywhere between Rs 1600 and Rs 4400. Gautam mentions that for some limited edition designs, they even make larger sizes. You can check our their Facebook or Instagram page or go to their website to see the various products available and also know about all the enticing offers that they come up with from time to time.