Kapil Khemka: A Passionate Leader Who Has Always Been Ahead Of His Time | CEOInsights Vendor
Kapil Khemka: A Passionate Leader Who Has Always Been Ahead Of His Time

Kapil Khemka: A Passionate Leader Who Has Always Been Ahead Of His Time

Kapil Khemka,   CEO

Kapil Khemka


At IITs, the leadership 'microorganism' thrives, much as some environments are superior for growing microorganisms. This claim is made in order to highlight how special IIT is as a platform for spreading the leadership quality, not to single out others.

The CEO of Airysole Footwear, Kapil Khemka, is one such terrific example. Kapil has always been a forward-thinking individual who has been passionate about enacting change. This change came after Airysole Footwear was founded with the idea that there should be a brand in the footwear outsole/component market, similar to what Intel has done for computers.

Tell us about your professional background and experiences. What inspired you to establish Airysole Footwear, and what drives you today?
I acquired my B.Tech. in Computer Science from IIT Guwahati. I graduated from IIT Guwahati in 2000 as a member of the second batch. I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so I was raised with a strong sense of business. This is where I came with the question of why couldn't `soles'' be a brand for shoes if Intel could be a name for computers? My passion for my profession and business is what motivates me right now. My brand, `Airsyole,' ought to be similar to Intel in the computer industry. I want domestic and international
businesses and customers to request shoes with the Airysole logo on them.

Could you talk about the learnings and experience that you had acquired from IIT Guwahati and how do you apply them in your current role?
Engineering was helpful to me in discovering solutions when I was in a hopeless situation. I gained knowledge from the best of my friends. In my current position, I continue to apply the same approach. In my business and career, I don't employ all of a single person's attributes. I believe in ensuring strict quality standards are maintained so as to ensure the clients and suppliers are satisfied to the fullest. I can use qualities of an Italian supplier for my advantage. Perhaps there is something admirable about a famous persona that I try to emulate. I use a person's best traits while leaving out any negative traits.

How would you define Airysole Footwear as an organization and its position in the market?
As a company, Airysole Footwear has become a standard bearer for the global sole market. Our rivals and former business partners are attempting to adopt our organisational structure. People that work with us value our efforts and way of thinking, and our standing in the market is steadily improving. Customers are expressing faith in our business. The employees in our company have received training in working with the proper dedication and leadership abilities.

Reflect on some of the major challenges you have experienced in your entrepreneurial journey so far? How did you overcome them and what did you learn from them?
In my entrepreneurial path, managing people whether they are family members, clients, suppliers, workers, or consultants has been a major issue. I overcome these obstacles by making choices based on the circumstances at hand and
the people I'm interacting with. You must routinely deal with fresh challenges presented by each day and each individual. The hardest thing in life,I've discovered, is dealing with people. Technology and machines are simpler to govern than people. The industry was used to operating with a traditional attitude, thus it was difficult to impose a new thinking on it. I may have failed in this quest, but my efforts and my luck allowed me to succeed.

In your professional journey so far, which are the milestones that have bestowed you with utmost satisfaction both personally and professionally?
The turning point in my path where everyone who had been opposed to my work mindset accepted it has given me the biggest happiness. Whether it be friends, clients, etc. Professionally, I'm happy that I introduced something new to the field, and emotionally, I feel like I lived up to my training and vision. Some of the people who didn't like the way I worked told me, “You showed us how to run a business we didn't know how” It was fulfilling.

Going forward, what are your goals that you wish to invest in and how do you plan to take them further?
I intend to make some fresh project investments that can strengthen the Airysole brand. Sustainable/eco-friendly soles are what I want to bring into the market. I wish to make an investment in the best employees who could advance our brand. Our sector is both a service sector and a business-to-business sector. I want to simplify the fashion sector for our clients. In Tamil Nadu, close to Chennai, we have established a new unit to support the export leather shoe busines.

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