Roger Vivier once said,
“To wear dreams on one’s feet is to begin to give a reality to one’s dreams.”
This quote summarizes the journey of Binaifer Merchant and her love for shoes like no other.
A self-confessed brat in school, a big foodie and an incredibly talented designer, Binaifer fell in love with stilettos probably even before she could spell or pronounce the word. It’s natural therefore that today she owns one of the most promising brands (“Binaifer”).
As she begins to narrate her story and give us a history into her beautiful brand, I discern what shoes mean to her and why Binaifer (the brand) is different from all the other commercial brands.
“Why shoes?” I ask her a simple question as she sips her chocolate shot.
“I have always loved stilettos! This is the only answer I have.”
She smiles and I ease into understanding her journey.
“How did it all begin?”
my partner asks, who by the way, learnt a thing or two from her about women’s footwear through this interview.
“I finished my education from NIFT and got into diamond jewellery designing. I was doing really well. It was all fantastic in the beginning; gradually the monotony started setting in. That sort of kicked me in the guts and I knew I needed to break it. Starting my own brand was always a dream. When I couldn’t really handle the same old routine every day, I quit my job and went to Delhi for three months for a course.” She answers.
“How did your parents react to your decision? Given the fact that you were already doing well, it must have come as a shock.” I inquire.
“Oh it was! They weren’t happy about it. They weren’t confident. You know how it is with parents. Their concern wasn’t wrong, but I just knew that I had to move to Delhi and get that course done. I just had to pursue my dream.” I can see the determination in her eyes.
“So when did things change for the better at home?” my partner asks.
“I put up the first exhibition of my collection at Anays store. It was a big success. My mom was very proud. My dad is somebody who is very difficult to impress. But I could see that my work has won his heart. Since after that dad started asking me about the brand, my new collection, how am I handling my finances etc.” she smiles.
“It must have felt great.” I comment.
“Actually, that’s not how I felt. See, it was my first exhibition and most of my family and dad’s social group was there to boost my spirits. Seventy per cent of the shoes were sold to these people who probably thought they had to buy something from me as a sign of their support. I appreciate their love, but I don’t support this act. It doesn’t give me an honest feedback of my product. So I wasn’t really happy. I still had to pass through the real acid test and that came during the Flo Fest.” She explains.
So at the Flo Fest I was overloaded with work. I had people at my stall all the time. Then one of my friends from another stall came over to me and said practically every person she saw had a Binaifer bag at the fest. That pumped my spirits.
I see her grinning from ear to ear. No smile is as beautiful as the one that follows success.
“What’s your favourite brand?” I ask her.
Every shoe by Manolo Blahnik is a masterpiece undoubtedly. I am in love with that man’s work.
Binaifer wants her brand to be accessible and affordable by everyone. She shares with us how she wants to work closely with NGOs and use the “karigari material” they make for her shoes. It’s a very unique and a heartwarming thought. I ask her to delve a little more on the idea and here’s what she had to say.
“The kaarigars are extremely creative people. I might come up with the most complex design, I may not be able to explain it to anyone, but I know these people will get it. So why not give them a chance? Kaarigars are the lifeline to intricate work. India has such a rich culture of such works and designs. I believe these are the people who must come up.” She explains.
“What do you have to say to anyone out there who’s probably looking for an inspiration to start off with something like you have?” my partner asks.
“Don’t think too much. If you feel you have the right idea and it’s achievable, just do it.”
Binaifer is this one woman army who has dared to break the monotony and how! In a time when startups are the new “it” Binaifer is all out there to make a mark with her shoes.
After all, life is too short to wear the wrong shoes!
Binaifer is open to taking orders for shoes.
Vadodara, you can find Binaifer at the Weekend Window on the 31st of October and 1st of November; stall no. 42.
Ahmedabad, your turn arrives on the 25th-26-27th of December at the Weekend Window; stall no. 60.
Book the dates!
For further details on the product, you can call Binaifer: 99789 99844.