Kartik Poply: A Visionary Entrepreneur On A Mission To Build A Robust Footwear Brand In India | CEOInsights Vendor
Kartik Poply: A Visionary Entrepreneur On A Mission To Build A Robust Footwear Brand In India

Kartik Poply: A Visionary Entrepreneur On A Mission To Build A Robust Footwear Brand In India

 Kartik Poply ,  Founder & CEO

Kartik Poply

Founder & CEO

There have been a number of transformations in the Indian footwear sector during the last few years. Initially, it was seen as a necessity, but it is now increasingly being purchased as a premium product. As people's disposable income rises, so does their desire for highend, name brand footwear. Furthermore, as the urban population becomes more conscious of the need for a healthy lifestyle, the demand for athleisure and sportswear is likely to rise. As a result of these possibilities, Kartik Poply launched Refoam, an athleisure company that offers outstanding quality and longevity while still not being overpriced.

In 2018, Kartik founded Refoam, which has expanded from a footwear manufacturer located in Delhi to an omnichannel retailer with an ever-growing customer base. Refoam combines design and function to deliver the most inexpensive line of regular and sports footwear to younger consumers. All of the products in the Refoam line have been designed to be exceedingly comfortable and to elicit a high level of intensity in the customer.

Below is an excerpt of Kartik’s exclusive interaction with CEO Insights.

What inspired you to start this venture in this niche segment of the footwear manufacturing industry and what drives you today?
For some of the world's most popular companies, my father serves as an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and imports supplies from China for them. Because of this, I was well versed in operations like how to identify vendors, what materials are in demand in India, how to deter
mine the price for all the commodities, and lastly how to sell them to the manufacturers. Therefore, shortly after completing my degree, I launched Refoam, my own company. With the guidance of my father I collaborated with various suppliers, but I was unfamiliar with where to sell my products, so we developed a distribution network and featured our products on all the marketplaces. That's how Refoam got started.

Other than Refoam, there are no Indian firms that provide such high-quality footwear products at this pricing point

How would you define Refoam as an organization and its position in the market? What is the unique proposition that your organization offers to clients?
Although several international brands have established a significant market presence across the country, there are relatively few Indian enterprises that sell highquality footwear with a stylish appearance. After spotting this gap, I decided to start Refoam, an Indian footwear firm that sells highquality products at a reasonable rate. Because the Indian footwear market is a price-sensitive one, there aren't many competitors in this particular niche. I assumed that in India if we started selling Refoam products at the price of 3000 to 5000 rupees, people would not purchase them since at the same price there are significant companies that have dominated the business for years. In other words, I wanted to provide the same high-quality items at a sensible price to Indian buyers, who often spend between 1000 and 2000 rupees for shoes. Other than Refoam, there are no Indian firms that provide such high-quality footwear products at this pricing point. When it comes to making us stand out, this is a big part of it.

How have you responded to the challenges posed by the covid-affected market and the necessity for new strategies, particularly concerning the manufacture and shipping of your products?
The largest challenge I had was certainly sourcing from China since
we used to make purchases from China and my whole inventory was obtained from there until Covid emerged. After three years of Refoam, I didn't want to risk undermining the positive image my company had built, because of China's closure. Thus, I began searching for manufacturers in India, but it was quite difficult since there were very few firms that manufactured the materials that we needed in creating our shoes. And after looking at our price most of the manufacturer’s suggested why don’t we use mediocre quality components in producing the shoes, but my objective was not to compromise on the quality of goods, and still, retain the same cost that we have been delivering from the beginning. At certain periods I believed it was impossible to develop our goods in India since we were unable to terminate our contract with the China dealers and then also were unable to locate an equivalent dealer in India. After a lengthy search, we were able to locate a suitable manufacturer in India and moved our production here.

Going forward, what are the changes in market behavior that you anticipate, and what are the opportunities that you foresee?
Post-Covid I have noticed that many Indian firms have entered the footwear sector, and they are branding aggressively, particularly on the online platforms. And what I have learned from seeing these changes is that branding and digital marketing are now the greatest priority for any organization. As a result, I believe that the market has opened up numerous opportunities for businesses like ours, and the only thing we need to do to keep our current market position and our committed client base is to continue offering highquality products at a competitive rate.

Kartik Poply, Founder & CEO, Refoam
As an entrepreneur, Kartik aims to offer young Indian customers premium footwear products that match both style and quality criteria.

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