Empowering Lives of Young Artists - F-Gali
Posted on 7 May, 2016 by Team Wishberry
Co-Founders of F-Gali: Shakeef Khan and Sujeet Madhogaria
During his college days, Shakeef Khan, was always on the hunt to wear something exclusive, trendy and affordable. It was easy to find something of the right fit and taste within a budget in apparels, but extremely difficult when it came to shoes. Shoes with great designs were expensive, and less expensive shoes didn’t look stylish enough. While shopping, a pair of shoes designed by an artist caught Shakeef’s attention - these shoes were quirky, stylish and most importantly reasonably priced. This encouraged him to create Yute.in, a platform for the artists to sell footwear designed by them to the youth at affordable prices.
Sujeet Madhogaria's artist design footwear brand F-Gali, launched two years back, was one of the bestsellers on Shakeef's Yute.in.
Impressed by Sujeet's designs and inspired by the impact he was creating in the lives of the artists, Shakeef offered to merge Yute into F-Gali.
This year, Sujeet's artist design footwear collection got supplemented with Shakeef's well-developed online retail front, an existing customer base and operational logistics with this merger. Keeping in mind the core purpose of offering affordable stylish footwear to the youth, the duo also laid significant focus on continuing Sujeet’s work of empowering the lives of young artists through F-Gali.
Empowering the Artists
This unique footwear brand came in as a medium for young artists, primarily aged in their early twenties, to make a part-time living out of their talent. Most of them pursuing art academically, could now use their free time to make an extra buck through their creative designs. However, this just didn't turn out to be about the money for them. These artists also got fuelled with immense self-confidence every single time they saw an overwhelming response for the shoes manifesting their designs.
As word spread, F-Gali also started to attract struggling but well experienced, and enormously talented artists.
Today, after two years of its existence, the youth-centric brand boasts of working with more than 45 artists.
These include students working to use their free time more efficiently, budding artists to support their expenses and established professionals working out of sheer passion.
The designs are showcased to the consumers on the website and post receiving the order, these designs are hand-painted by the artists on the shoes. The artists receive an upfront fee for their design and approx. 15% commission from the selling price, for hand-painting every shoe. In its two years of existence, since the time Sujeet founded the brand in 2014, F-Gali has sold more than 8000 pairs. This has enabled approx. INR 18 Lakhs being passed on to the artists over and above the upfront fees for their designs.
Using Crowdfunding to Scale-up
Hand painting every shoe gets very tedious and time consuming, making it difficult for the brand to meet the increasing demand. Hence, Shakeef and Sujeet took to crowdfunding on Wishberry for scaling up the production. They raised INR 7 Lakhs through this initiative for digitally printing the designs and mass manufacturing the shoes. 35 designs were put in place by 15 artists for pre-orders on the crowdfunding campaign. Funds raised through these pre-orders will be used to digitally print 35 designs across the first manufacturing lot of 5000 shoes. Backers will receive the shoes with the design of their choice by November this year.
The outreach of the campaign started off by building an apt story which would instantly connect with the potential backers. Post finalizing on this story, the pitch video and the content on the campaign page were put in place. The campaign started-off on a high with INR 1 Lakh coming-in from friends and family in the first 48 hours itself. Email, blogs, social media (Facebook) and PR were constantly being used to reach out to people with the campaign.
A staggering 30% of the funding came-in from offline events, with one fashion brand owner contributing INR 1.5 Lakhs post coming across the duo in one of these events.
The campaign managed to attract 30% of the funding from international backers and 3% from anonymous funders.
This in turn increased production and digital printing which would also mean more compensation for the artists with lesser efforts. The new remuneration model will include 1% commission on every shoe sold (reduced from 15% due to increase in volumes and elimination of the effort of hand-painting) in addition to the upfront design fees. Design stories of the artist will be included along with each and every pair of shoe delivered to the consumer and bringing the artists into the limelight.
In the next 5 years, F-Gali plans to make a difference to the lives of 1000 artists by reaching out with their stories to more than a million buyers.