A pair of comfortable shoes which is stylish and also within your budget can sound like a fairy tale. That is because, a pair of stylish shoes is not always comfortable, while comfortable shoes are mostly not budget-friendly.
"Step came into being to solve the problem. We are providing stylish and comfortable shoes that everyone can afford," said Shamim Kabir, the managing director of Step Footwear Limited.
Shamim grew up in a family which was involved in the local footwear industry. During a recent conversation with The Business Standard, he walked down the memory lane and talked about his motivation to establish the footwear brand.
"While I was growing up, I noticed that most shoes available in the market were uncomfortable. My first aim was to make comfortable shoes. That is when Step came to life," he said.
Shamim also said that since comfortable shoes are expensive, not everyone can afford it. So he also wanted to make sure that the shoes are within the budget of every consumer.
"When we began six years ago, we launched only one design of flip-flops in four colours. The price was Tk295 for each pair," Shamim recalled.
The flip-flops were an instant hit and sold immediately. The designs were unique and many women started using them for casual hangouts and office wears.
"Earlier, flip-flops were for use at home only. But when we launched comfortable flip-flops with improved designs in patterns, the response was beyond imagination," Shamim said.
Over the last six years, Step has launched numerous types of sandals for women, including flip-flops, wedges, belted sandals and many more.
Each of the products is different in design – some adorned with stones and beads, while others with glitter or just a lace patch.
The sandals use a squish technology which makes the soles soft and comfortable to wear. The price starts from Tk295 and goes up to Tk1,200 for any casual ladies sandal.
Besides, the company has recently launched some high-end ladies products which can be worn at any party. The price can go up to Tk2,200 or more.
Talking about shoes, Shamim said that Step Footwear focuses on everyone's needs and they have also launched shoes and sandals for men.
"Our men's collection is as diverse as the women's. We have slides, flip-flops and casual shoes for men at various price ranges," Shamim said.
Shamim said that style is changing every day and Step is evolving with the changing styles. "Earlier, men used to wear flip-flops a lot. But now, the style has changed and men are now preferring slides over flip-flops," he said.
The price of a pair of men's flip-flop is Tk695 (excluding vat). Shamim also said that casual shoes are now en vogue as men prefer semi-formal as office wear.
"Since a good pair of leather shoe is very expensive and can go beyond the budget of many people, we have launched a range of regular shoes for men, which can be worn at the office and other events."
Moreover, the footwear company has also invested in kids' shoes as well. "Children must wear good quality and comfortable shoes because otherwise, they can have permanent health problems," Shamim said.
There are various ranges for kids' footwear at Step. Moreover, the brand is now investing in backpacks as well.
The company which began with an idea currently employs 300 staff, and around one-third of them are females.
"We have over 200 counters and 50 shops around the country," Shamim informed.
When asked about export, Shamim replied that the footwear brand has entered the export business and is exporting flip-flops to Philippines, Singapore, Australia and the US.