The shoe fairy

Pune student Vedashree Bankar has directed her love for art into hand-painted footwear

Published: July 17, 2012 1:38:27 am

Pune student Vedashree Bankar has directed her love for art into hand-painted footwear

Seven years ago,Vedashree Bankar had purchased a pair of white sneakers from a market in China. Little did she know that the sneakers would become the inspiration to carry forward her passion for painting. The 19-year-old,along with friend 22-year-old Pranav Mote,today owns a venture titled Raskala as part of which she sells hand-painted,customised shoes. While they mostly sell online to customers in the Pune area,the shoes are also retailed from certain stores in Pune and Goa.

Talking about the initial days,Bankar recounts,“On a family vacation to China,I saw a lot of cheap converse shoes being sold on the streets. My mom and I made a deal that if she bought them for me,I would stop painting on the walls at home and my pants.” Bankar’s first pair,painted with rainbows and clouds,won her appreciation following which it became her pastime activity.

Making a business of it,however,was not what Bankar had planned. Bankar and Mote made their first few sales within their social circle,publicising their wares on Facebook page and through word of mouth. During an the internship at a start-up company in Goa in 2011,they learnt about branding and marketing. Bankar was then eager to put her lessons in business to work. She adds that the internship was instrumental in channeling her ideas towards Raskala. “I learned how to build a brand from my boss who also helped me design the logo and develop a marketing plan,” Bankar adds. Raskala was officially launched in October 2011.

While most of the orders come in through their website,Raskala sells anywhere between seven to 22 pairs of shoes a day at the retail stores in Goa during peak tourist months between November and January. This surge in demand sometimes needs them to hire interns. “Priced between Rs 1,200-Rs 1,700,a lot of people take these shoes back home as souvenirs,” explains Bankar.

Over the last two years,Bankar’s designs have evolved as much as her business sense. The days of painting rainbows have come to a close as she has discovered that mehendi art and Angry Birds are the company’s top sellers.

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