Young artists are using Shakeef Khan and Sujeet Maadhogaria’s F-Gali to display their talent on fun and quirky footwear.
Shakeef Khan was always on the hunt for something exclusive, trendy and affordable to wear, during his college days. When it came to apparel, it was easy to find something of the right fit and taste that was also affordable. But this was extremely difficult when it came to shoes. Shoes with great designs were expensive and those he found affordable were not stylish enough.
Once, while shopping, a pair of shoes designed by an artist caught Shakeef’s attention. These shoes were quirky, stylish and, most importantly, reasonably priced. This encouraged him to create Yute.in, a platform for the artists to sell footwear designed by them, at affordable prices.
Sujeet Madhogaria’s artist design footwear brand ‘F-Gali,’ launched two years ago, was one of the bestsellers on Shakeef’s Yute.in. Impressed by Sujeet’s designs, and inspired by the impact he was creating in the lives of the artists, Shakeef offered to merge Yute and F-Gali. This year, Sujeet’s artist design footwear collection was complemented with Shakeef’s well-developed online retail portal, an existing customer base and operational logistics.
Keeping in mind the core purpose of offering affordable stylish footwear to the youth, the duo also laid significant focus on continuing Sujeet’s work of empowering the lives of young artists through F-Gali.
This unique footwear brand soon became a medium for young artists, especially those in their early twenties, to make a part-time living from their talent. Most of the artists pursuing art academically, could now use their free time to make an extra buck through their creative designs. However, working for F-Gali soon became about more than just money for these artists. The overwhelming response to their designs left the artists brimming with confidence and rearing to go.
As word spread, F-Gali also started to attract struggling but well experienced and enormously talented artists.
Today, after two years of its existence, the youth-centric brand boasts of working with more than 45 artists.
These include students working to use their free time more efficiently, budding artists working to fund their expenses and established professionals working out of sheer passion.
The designs are showcased to customers on the website and after receiving the order, these designs are hand-painted by the artists on the shoes. The artists receive an upfront fee for their design and approximately 15% commission of the selling price, for every shoe they hand-paint.
Since the brand first started in 2014, it has sold more than 8000 pairs. This has resulted in artists earning approximately Rs. 18 lakhs, over and above the upfront fees for their designs.
Hand painting every shoe gets very tedious and time consuming, making it difficult for the brand to meet the increasing demand. Hence, Shakeef and Sujeet have now taken to crowdfunding on Wishberry to scale up production.
The plan is to raise Rs. 7 lakhs through this initiative for digitally printing the designs and mass manufacturing the shoes. 35 designs have been put in place by 15 artists for pre-orders on the crowdfunding campaign. Funds raised through these pre-orders will be used to digitally print 35 designs across the first manufacturing lot of 5000 shoes.
Funders will receive the shoes with the design of their choice by November this year.
Increased production and digital printing will also mean more compensation for the artists, with lesser efforts. The new remuneration model will include 1% commission on every shoe sold (reduced from 15% due to increase in volumes and elimination of the effort of hand-painting) in addition to the upfront design fees. Design stories of the artist will be included along with each and every pair of shoes delivered to the consumer, thus helping bring the artists into the limelight.
In the next five years, F-Gali plans to make a difference in the lives of 1000 artists and hopes to reach out to more than 1 million buyers.
You can support the cause and pre-order your shoes here