It is often said that “she believed she could, so she did”. This same situation can be applied to the pair of patolas, who are running one of the most exquisite business of hand-made footwear. This is the story of Pair Patola, the company that is known for its rich quality, hand-made expertise, concept and theme driven designs of footwear.
Pair Patola was started back in November 2016 by two empowering women named Visakha Shah and Hemina Bagaria based out of Ahmedabad. Both of them were working together at an MNC. Eventually they used to have lunch, shifts and their work sessions together and there they started bonding. Visakha and Hemina started sharing their likes and dislikes with each other and gradually realised that their opinions lie in almost the same quadrant. Their friendship was cherishing and so special that they progressively became close family friends.
Both the girls were such good friends that they used to go shopping together every now and then. But both of them used to undergo the same struggle while shopping for footwear i.e. the perfect size fitting them just accurately. As Visakha’s footwear size was very small and Hemina’s footwear size was comparatively large, their quest for the perfect fit never fitted their preference. One day while at work, both of them were feeling a bit low and were discussing their monotonous work profile and demanding description and how they never find their right shoes. Right then, they thought of making a pair of shoes for themselves and finding a solution to one of the problems in their life.
They curated few designs for their own pair of shoes, tried them out and it passed with flying colours- just like the beautiful colours that Pair Patola still uses in its unique designs. They used to wear those pair of shoes to everywhere they could, be it office or dinner or a party. The designs, detailing, and colour scheme was so unique that eventually it was grabbing everyone’s attention. On revealing that the makers of those beauties were the two girls themselves, their friends and relatives started asking them to make the same for them as well. Those shoes were attracting so much commendation that it gave an idea to the pair to finally acclaim their designs with the concept of remembrance, and launch it as a brand for once and all. And this gave birth to the idea of starting the startling brand of Pair Patola.
They used to make the designs themselves at home and gradually approached the cobblers for further turning those designs into actuality. At present, they have two workshops- one workshop houses all the operations related to manufacturing while the other acts as a factory outlet which can be visited by customers for viewing their products.
Mrs. Bagaria has a strong reliance on astrology, and she insisted that they both (Vishakha & Hemina) get their kundalis matched before starting up with the partnership backing up Pair Patola. And since they were always on and for the same motive, their kundalis matched and it was the perfect pair for that occasion approved by the deities! She also got a letter preference from the astrologer as “P”. After a lot of brainstorming along with the help of an agency they came up with Pair Patola, “Pair” signifying a pair of shoes and “Patola” signifying tantalising and fashionable women. And thus, Pair Patola. They came with the funkiest brand name, giving those regular pair of shoes a twist of Delhi.
Pair Patola identifies itself on the basis of the services it offers. Their shoes are not based on basic designs in parallel with the trend but on specific concepts and theme, which they further electrify with their creative designs. Each time as pristine and original, ready to introduce the new fashion trend. They have concepts like Drama Queen, Boss Lady, Travel Wanderlust and many more.
They even offer customisation i.e. your creativity and they design it, for you. Customisation as service offering for their customers is their specialty and it is their USP. The prices are reasonable as compared to the effort that goes in manufacturing each and every pair as it is hand made. This further guarantees the top-notch quality.
Up till now, Pair Patola has collaborated with Inaaya & Co. which is a clothing brand. They produced some limited edition up cycled pairs of Pair Patolas along with Inaaya & Co. Further they also collaborated with Crazylilmum. Recently they collaborated with celebrated online blogger Biological Mom on the occasion of Mother’s Day. Many of the prominent personalities gave Pair Patola shoutout not because they collaborated with them but because they loved their product so much that they are still their loyal customers. They further got shoutouts for their incredible product and service offering from personalities like are like Juhi Godambe (blogger), the notable singer Neha Bhasin (playback singer for songs like Jag Ghoomeya) and actress Parul Gulati. They further plan to extend their collaborations with embroidery experts as they have a new design range under construction.
But this entire vibrant journey was not always facile. In order to reach the mountain top, one has to undergo the grittiest climb. Without having a history in the fashion industry, it was difficult for them to understand the dynamic pattern of this industry followed by its latest trends and remaining up to date and a step ahead in order to please their customers. It was a start-up with the lead falling on those two women only, responsible for all the operations of the brand till date. As they both were equally involved in their corporate careers and had a 10-hour shift for all the seven days, managing Pair Patola was becoming difficult. But it was never impossible for these two boss ladies. Later on, Hemina was gifted with the divine blessing of motherhood and was bound to give the attention to her child, which her child deserved. Meanwhile, Visakha had to follow up all alone on all the exhibitions and meeting of Pair Patola. As always being habitual of working in a pair, it was different for her. Hemina still managed to handle the majority of the operations from home. Visakha also left her job 6 months ago as she felt saturated with work routine, the male domination in her work culture was overshadowing her passion and as Hemina was on maternity leave too.
Reviewing the current Covid-19 situation, it has definitely affected the business worldwide and thereby Pair Patola is a part sufferer too. Due to sudden arrival of Corona, their various exhibitions got cancelled, they had issues with selling the existing stock and many of their events got cancelled. They have stocks piled up, but not aware of where to sell and how in this current situation.
Pair Patola is still paying its workers as they say, they are their backbones. They are planning to launch a new range of affordable shoes available at a lesser price than the existing range so that it adjusts with the demand and disposing of their customers post lockdown. They are also organizing giveaways which would further help them increase their visibility. This entire business fraternity is suffering at present, so they are supporting each other by giving them shoutouts as all of them are now a part of the struggle and everyone is now wearing each other’s shoes!
The pair says that it has always been a bit difficult for them to overcome the concept of male domination and survive in a symbiotic relationship with all, as opinions from females are generally not welcomed. It is often first asked about the whereabouts of a female worker’s promotion-marriage-pregnancy. And thus, they have evolved themselves as boss ladies of this industry.
They never envied their competitors but praised their pace, and inculcated the learnings to their own pace. They know where they want to be and how they are going to reach, and thus they never follow their competitors but rather praise their presence as it further helps them to work more efficiently. According to them, it is good to have competitors.
In coming 5 years they want to mark their physical presence on the map of each major Indian cities and launch their own website. These two ladies prove that “everyone can have fun”, and at their own pace. It just takes your love, admiration and passion to make your dream come true but obviously seasoned with hard work, sheer will and determination. Their story portrays how two segments of woman, one about to get married and the other a blessed mother can together create wonders if they want to. Pair Patola has a following of above 9k on Instagram. So, visit their Instagram today and pre-order those amazing hand-made quirky pairs of footwear and become a part of the patola squad. Never let your passion fade away. You never know, tomorrow it can become the fuel for your happiness!
- Team Satyavachan