CHENNAI : Wearing the right footwear is essential for good health, but is often overlooked or taken for granted. Most options available in the market prioritise style over comfort. To bridge this gap, Colour Me Mad, a startup based in Mumbai, came up with the idea of using the material cork to make footwear. “I have always wanted to design footwear with a splash of colours, unlike the typical ones in the market. That’s how the name Colour Me Mad happened,” says Trishla Surana, founder, Colour Me Mad, who set it up with her husband, Rajeev Surana in 2014. Initially, the idea was to design flip flops with print fabric and customise based on the customer’s choices.
Using cork as the material was a stroke of genius, which brought together style, comfort and health. Besides, cork is a natural and eco-friendly material. “In India, people don’t bother about footwear. Most knee, hip, and back aches are caused by wearing the wrong footwear. That’s why I wanted to give quality footwear with both comfort and good design,” Trishla shares. After several months of thorough research with the material, and several design prototypes, they launched the first set of Colour Me Mad footwear 18 months back.
It wasn’t an easy journey. “Cork isn’t available in India. Initially, it was difficult to procure the material and it was even more challenging when I had to make the material in India,” says Trishla. She conducted several workshops and training sessions to teach the material properties and use of the material to fellow workers, “I had to explain the step-by-step process to the workers to understand this type of handicraft. The material was new to them,” she says.
Once the product was launched, marketing the product was a priority. They conducted exhibitions all over the country. “As it was a novel idea, the product was an instant success. The customers made it possible,” she says. They also reached out to bloggers and celebrities to review and promote their products. Did they ever have to worry about market competition? “Our product can be easily distinguished from others by the splash of colourful design and the cork material. There is no direct cork-to-cork competition in India, so we have no worries,” she says.
Colour Me Mad is a self-funded startup. They now aim to open a chain of shops in every city including Chennai and New Delhi. They are looking for investors for their next big step. “We are reaching our targets gradually, and will soon get there,” Trishla smiles. Colour Me Mad makes sure they update their products every three months. In addition to flip-flops, they have ideas to develop more designs like strap-type footwear, kolhapuris, and customised footwear.