Hi, I'm Nilesh Karani from Kings. This is the soul to sole series. This is episode one. Our story.
King's was started by my father in 1965. His name is Hemchand Karani. He would tell us service is the key factor of business and the customer is King in Kings. So he would tell me, Nilesh, would you buy the products that you want to deal with? If the answer is yes, then he would say, okay, do business with them.
So as we were growing up, I was greatly impressed by Hollywood stars like Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Humphrey Bogart, and Fred Astire. I bet, if you see their movies, even today, you would agree that their classic styling is as relevant, in the current day as it was back then.
I vividly remember when we were growing up, it was a novel to see mom and dad getting ready for a party.
So dad, he would take out a suit, he would take out a shirt, his neck tie, his socks, his watches, and his shoes to get ready for the occasion. One of the things I learned from that was to match your belt, your shoes and your watch strap with the same leather color.
Just like that would get ready himself. He would get us kids also ready in the same fashion. I will share some photographs with you where you can see what I really mean.
So on Fridays, it used to be a treat for us kids to watch dad. Getting ready to clean up his shoes. Ta da. To start the cleaning process, dad would pick up a shoe, alright and take his shammy, okay, wrap it around his fingers. right, take the Polish on the shammy and start applying the Polish in a circular motion throughout the shoe.
Right. We were so curious. We were like kids you know, about four or five years old, wondering what he was doing with the shoe. So once he had applied the Polish, he would leave the shoes for about 15, 20 minutes to dry up. And then he would pick up his horse hair brush and just keep on buffing the shoe and making it shine.
He would occasionally use his vapour, to wet the toes so that it could get an extra shine on the shoe.
One of the most important thing that that would do while buying shoes was that he would always buy leather sole shoes. Now that was the classic construction of shoes, which was quite normal in the seventies and the early eighties towards the 1900s and the early 2000s, we actually saw that the leather sole shoes had totally disappeared from the market. Alright. Why? Because mass production shoes had come into the market. Artificial leather had come into the market. People are wearing rubber sole shoes now because they were more cost-effective than leather soled shoes.
So if I were to ask you today, tell me the most stylist star of today's day and age. Whom can you name? I bet you won't have any. Alright, because style has gone out of fashion. So when I was trying to find leather sole shoes in Dubai, as I couldn't find any leather sole shoes or handcrafted shoes in Dubai, I used to make frequent trips to Europe where handcrafting of shoes was still very prominent and I used to get a couple of pairs from there very frequently.
So while my quest for her shoes was going on in 2018, I happened to meet a young gentleman by the name of Dhruv Bhalla in Delhi, who had started a company called 3dmlifestyle, and he was manufacturing, handcrafted, leather, soled shoes in India.
I immediately bought one pair of shoes from through and tried them for a couple of months. I was so satisfied, that I went back to Dhruv and said Dhruv, I want to distributorship of your products in Dubai. And he gladly understood that I understood what was the gap in the market, and then he readily gave me the distribution rights for the Middle East, for 3dmlifestyle shoes.
Now this was an opportunity for me to get the classic styles back into the market. And it was my duty now to educate my customers, how these shoes are real value for money and how these would last for five to ten years, if taken care of properly.
Our regular customers over a period of time, kept coming back to us, asking us for different kinds of color combinations of shoes and different models.
We were more than glad to offer them a custom shoe as they required it. However, it had a different price point and a different waiting time because it would only be that one shoe that we would produce just for him.
As we started doing more custom shoes, I started getting requests from more affluent crowd, uh, for Goodyear welted shoes and patina shoes.
For that, I had to go to Europe because the construction methods were only present there. Alright, and we tied up with factories in Spain to produce those kinds of shoes for us.
As we are in the 21st century, we have internet with the grace of God. We are able to now allow you to create shoes of your own design of your own choice on our website. You can always come to our website and create shoes of your liking. These are all custom shoes they are made in Spain and they are all handcrafted.
Handcrafted shoemaking is a traditional craft. As many may not know it is painstakingly slow and requires immense attention to detail and requires immense balance and attention.
The toe shape the lines, the symmetry, the edges, the sole the stitch and the welt, the decoration, the color, and the style, makeup, the details of the shoe. The Shoemaker has to balance them so that it's not only pleasing to the eyes, but looks dapper when worn. All those shoes are utilitarian objects, but when someone wears a bespoke shoe, see the confidence in his walk, you will also notice the way he presents himself.
There was an article I read about diamonds that were made in a laboratory. And I asked a jeweler friend of mine that, you know, these diamonds are $5, whereas you are selling diamonds, which cost thousands and thousands of dirhams. Now what's the difference between them and why should someone invest in a real diamond? Right, his answer was so nice that it stuck in my head. He said, just see the shine on the face of the person who's wearing the real diamond. And that goes with the case of bespoke shoes as well.
Thank you for watching. Have a great day ahead. Be safe. And stay tuned for more next week.
and that's the story. That's why we do what we do. I am Nilesh from Kings.