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The Techie Turned Shoemaker At Neeman’s

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Taran Chabbra, 

Co-founder and CEO, Neeman's, Neeman's
age: 38
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Owning 200 pairs of shoes and still being frustrated about fit and comfort? For some it might sound crazy, but for Taranjeet Singh Chhabra the quest for the perfect comfortable pair of footwear ultimately led to the creation of India’s first sustainable home-grown footwear brand, Neeman’s.
With a Masters in Computer Science, for a good part of the previous decade Chhabra was working as a data geek in New York. But the rigmarole of wearing formal shoes to work and the lack of a comfortable casual wear that was not clunky meant that Chhabra had to keep an extra pair at work. The turning point was when he misplaced a travel case carrying five shoe pairs. A deep dive into what would go into making a comfortable pair saw Chhabra spotting an opportunity to create a brand of his own.
December 2018 marked the launch of Neeman’s, a combination of Taran’s mother’s name, Neelam, and father’s name Manjeet. Today, this casual wear Unisex brand sells 70-80K pairs a month, and is growing at 20% per month. Priced in the range of ₹699 to ₹4,999, the brand is retailed via the company’s website and market places such as Amazon, Flipkart and Myntra.
While other domestic footwear makers use synthetic fibre for making shoes which adds to plastic pollution, Neeman’s uses sustainably-sourced merino wool as the primary fabric. While castor bean oil and recycled rubber are used for making soles, recycled waste paper is used for packaging. The fabric is largely sourced from overseas, but the company is now assembling the shoes in India. It is also the first homegrown brand to launch flip flops made out of recycled tires, sneakers made by recycling pet bottles, and organic cotton, For instance, each pair of ReLive Knits is made from eight PET bottles. The start-up claims to have recycled more than 1 million plastic bottles for this new sustainable collection. “We are not compromising on design and looks, just because the raw materials are recyclable,” says Chhabra.
The start-up, which has raised $6.49 million, is now dreaming big. “We have cracked the material code and we have plans to launch a formal shoe wear and sportswear,” says Chabbra.