Entrepreneur: Bhaveen Doshi
Business Name: Lusso Lifestyle
Welcome to Entrepreneurs of India #startupstories episode 138
Bhaveen Doshi, a youngster from Mumbai, used to be a fan of high-end Italian luxury brands such as Gucci and Prada. He used to import their leather shoes and belts and sell them here in India.
As an avid follower of these brands, he wanted to know how they made their cozy leather products. The findings shocked him. He came across several videos where animals were tortured to make leather for the brands he revered. It was a traumatizing experience for an animal lover like him.
“I wanted to do something for these innocent souls who were being killed for no reason. I wanted to spread awareness about the harsh truth behind these products,” says Bhaveen.
“What could replace leather?” He thought.
After extensive research of over six months, he came up with a good alternative to leather – a combination of high-grade Polyurethane and Rexin.
He launched Lusso Lifestyle, an online footwear brand that sells cruelty-free and vegan shoes.
“Our shoes are not made out of leather, but still they nowhere compromise on the quality and are as stylish and comfortable as leather shoes,” says Bhaveen.
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
While I was planning to launch my own luxury brand in the shoe line, I discovered how leather is actually procured. It quite disturbed me. It haunted me more when I started watching videos made by PETA on Cruelty Towards Animals.
And as it’s rightly said, “Find an alternative or a solution to world problems in order to make your brand or idea successful.” I followed the same path and that’s how I am here with the concept of vegan luxury.
2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?
People are getting eco-conscious and environmental friendly all over the globe. They are finally realizing that slaughtering animals and killing them for their body parts involve severe intolerable pain.
We have realized that harming the environment is going to harm us and our future generations in return. A lot of people have turned vegan, especially in the US and the UK. So I am sure that it is the right time for this idea to exist.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
My family was very supportive in regards to starting up my own business but yes they were a little skeptical about starting a shoe brand.
I was always going to join my family business and my family wanted the same, as we didn’t have any knowledge about the industry and we couldn’t foresee the risks that will come our way, but I really wanted to do this and they have always been supportive towards my plans. Because of their support, I got the confidence to go ahead and pursue my dreams without wasting alot of time.
4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
The biggest mistake was trying to do almost everything by myself, in order to save costs. From handling clients at the store to answering queries online, from designing posts for the social media to running online Ads. From marketing to finances. From technical difficulties to solving on-ground challenges.
Everything was handled by me. Soon I realized that I should hire people for all the backend work. It took away more than 60% of the capital I had for my startup, but I became stress-free and could focus more on my main goal of developing my brand. I learnt that it is very necessary to hire a good agency who could handle almost all of your work and make your life easier.
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it?
My biggest obstacle is to switch from Neolite Sole to a TPR sole for the shoe as the latter is more durable on Indian Roads. It requires a huge investment and I am taking up this step just for a simple reason- people should not feel any difference between a leather shoe and the vegan shoe that we offer.
Overcoming it is going to be challenging as a lot of research and testing have to be done apart from the huge investment, but I am up for it.
6) What habits contribute to your success?
Business is a risky domain where you might face a lot of problems. There are some problems that have a hard time getting a solution. In such situations, you feel exhausted and just feel like giving up. But I have realized that there are hurdles in every journey and now I am able to solve every problem that comes in my way. I think this habit of solving problems effectively has contributed to my success.
Apart from that, I track my brand’s progress on a weekly basis, which helps me in making my game stronger. Also, I have a habit of celebrating even the smallest victories related to my brand. It keeps me motivated.
7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
If I had a chance, I would have created my website on Shopify instead of WordPress and probably choose Bandra as the location instead of Charni Road. Also, I would set up bigger storage space.
8) What is your favourite inspirational quote?
- Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.
- The Road To Success Is Always Under Construction.
9) Where do you find inspiration?
At home, I find inspiration in my grandfather. He is a self- made man. He is the founder of our family business. I also find inspiration in animals. I am planning to launch one whole collection revolving around animals soon.
10) What is your favourite book?
I am not really into reading books. However, I look forward to developing a good reading habit.
11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Just start it. Don’t be afraid of starting. Don’t think too much about the future.
Trust me, everything will fall in place as and when time passes.
Solve one problem at a time and stay positive always. Don’t be discouraged by bad times, everyone goes through it.
Being an entrepreneur is never easy. You have to be prepared to tackle challenges every day. However, at the core, entrepreneurship is all about solving a problem.
It wasn’t easy for Bhaveen to find an alternative to leather products to help spread awareness on animal slaughter for leather production. But he rolled up his sleeves and launched a luxury footwear brand that didn’t use leather.
His cruelty-free and vegan products not just add to the style quotient of customers, but also spread awareness about animal cruelty. Now Bhaveen is planning to launch vegan bags and wallets. We wish him all the best!
Click here to follow Lusso Lifestyle on Instagram.
Want to explore the Lusso Lifestyle collection? Click here