KOCHI: Safiya Basheer, a 21-year-old BCom graduate from Nirmala College in Muvattupuzha, started her entrepreneurship journey quite surprisingly. After completing her graduation and she joined the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) course. However, she later discontinued it and decided to start a venture of her own. She now specialises in making jutis or traditional Rajasthani shoes through her six-month-old online brand Light Up.
“I always had a thing for online shopping. I used to select items and suggest them to prospective customers,” said Safiya who is very active on Instagram. She started by selling random products like clothes, bags and other knick-knacks on her page. “Then I thought that instead of selecting random items, I could concentrate on a single one, design it, make it and sell it,” she says.
However, Safiya was particular about doing something unique. She did the research, especially in lifestyle section, and that was the beginning of Light Up. “I realised that everyone has a craze for jutis and Kholapuris. But they were not available in varying designs and it was very difficult to procure them from their places of production,” she said. She adds that sometimes the quality was a concern as she hadn’t received any professional training.
Safiya learnt the basics of shoe designing online. “I replaced the traditional designs made by the craftsmen in Rajasthan and other north Indian states with new, fashionable ones,” she says, adding that her jutis come in two types of leather—premium and medium quality.
There is apparently a sizable demand for customised jutis, especially as bridal accessories. “For example, a Christian bride would order a simple design while a Muslim bride would prefer heavy embroidery. A Hindu bride goes in for patterned designs,” she says. Though Safiya designs the footwear, they are crafted by expert craftsmen in Gujarat. “I send them my designs and also the type of leather to be used,” she said, adding that most of her customers are from Kozhikode. `2000 onwards Available online @_lightup_