Despite a flourishing career as a chartered accountant, Devika Srimal was always fascinated about starting her entrepreneurial journey. But she wasn’t sure about what to do until a year ago. It was only when she moved to India after living in London for six years that she realised the dearth of non-leather shoes or sandals available in the retail market. “There were fewer options and the ones that were available were from China, and the quality was always questionable. There were very few Indian makers who created shoes that are animal friendly and as an animal lover, I refused to wear leather,” Srimal (28) reveals.
A year ago, she began to plan her next step — a brand that would design footwear that is 100 per cent vegetarian. And today, Kanabis makes all sorts of shoes – boots, sandals, wedges, slip-on, flats, pumps and so on — using materials such as jute, lace, straws, PU as substitute for leather, dari (woven fabric) and canvas. “Our core animal friendly substitute for leather is canvas. Historically canvas was made from hemp, which came from the cannabis plant. Kanabis is a play on that word, and lends itself well to our canvas products. We basically wanted to do our bit to make fashion animal friendly,” Srimal says.
Each pair here is exclusively designed, has an innovative name, and a story to tell. “To give an example, there’s an old grandma saying that opposites attract. We tried that theory on our shoes- picked the rough jute and delicate lace and we got one good looking team called jute meets lace,” she adds.
Today, the brand boasts of 45 different products in six different sizes. The Delhi-based brand is available at select outlets in Chennai, Jaipur and Pune apart from a live e-commerce site. They also sell on Flipkart, Styletag and Voiletstreet. “We also take part in a lot of flea markets too,” she says.
Rs 1,700 up to Rs 3,500. At Kanabis.in. Details: 09871732976
— Nandini Kumar