Zouk, a D2C lifestyle brand, has entered the footwear category, according to Pradeep Krishnakumar, co-founder and COO of the company.
Zouk sells vegan and cruelty-free products created in India and founded by the IIM-A husband-and-wife team of Disha Singh and Pradeep Krishnakumar. The brand’s signature line of handcrafted bags is what it is recognized for today.
Commenting on the launch of this new category, Krishnakumar said, “When we saw the market, we realized most footwear brands have very west-inspired designs. We had observed something similar in bags and hence knew we could bring out differentiated, classic products. Thus, we decided to enter the footwear space.”
He said that while India has always been a big market for footwear, COVID has caused the demand to decline over the past two years. He then shared insights on the expansion of opportunities in the footwear business. He went on to say that in the following three years, the branded direct-to-consumer market for footwear will develop as a result of the extensive consumer education that has taken place on materials, comfort, style, and the convenience of shopping from home.
Zouk is primarily an online retailer, offering products on its website and via marketplaces like Amazon, Myntra, and Ajio.
According to Krishnakumar, the company has only recently begun its offline adventure and is currently in a few boutique stores spread throughout major metros. The retailer anticipates laying the groundwork for a robust offline distribution by the end of this year.
Regarding its flagship bags category, Krishnakumar said the company had witnessed 16X growth over pre-covid levels. “Bags will continue to be our main category this year too, as we launch new products and expand our distribution and geographies,” he shared.
Last year, the company raised funds in a pre-Series A round. The founders of the direct-to-consumer companies Mamaearth, Beardo, and Wow Skin Science are among its investors, along with Titan Capital and Stellaris Venture Partners.
Regarding upcoming fundraising plans, Krishnakumar stated that although the company is well-capitalized, it is open to working with the right partners.