The invention of shoes was out of a practical need, but with times lost its functionality to style, comfort to social status and custom handmade to mass production. Instead of fitting in, Vrinda and Manav decided to start their own journey but with better shoes. And thus, started GUSH
meet the FOUNDERS
Two close friends, Vrinda and Manav, with a diverse background and a very distinct sense of style came together to follow their common passion to create beautiful, timeless pieces to express their love and passion for design. Together they started GUSH Shoes & Accessories
“We truly believe that everyone has their own distinct way to express style and for us the best way to do it was with shoes”.
We felt that there were a lot of homegrown women’s footwear brands but everyone was doing very similar stuff. There was a big boom when it came to bling in the market when we started off. We wanted people to realize that bling was not the only way of dressing up and hoped to bring a shift in mindset with GUSH. Gush as a brand is the amalgamation of the traditional idea of beauty with a touch of modern sensibility to create a progressive aesthetic. We collaborate with artisans to elevate, explore and expand on traditional techniques, breathing life into age-old skills. We believe in the beauty of simplicity and the play of colour, creating pieces that are unique, relatable and fun. From the very beginning, we were sure about not believing in fast fashion and that we did not want to mass produce. We employ women who have the skill to stitch, embroider and paint but are unable to find gainful work to make our packaging bags, we get all our jewellery handmade from traditional patuas.
Similarly, with men’s footwear, everything was mass produced and every second guy was forced to wear the same thing. A lot of men really wanted to move away from the usual boring options but there wasn’t enough fun and wearable stuff available. So we decided to do small fun and wearable capsule collections of shoes for men.
We have always wanted to give people an option to buy shoes that are young, affordable while being designer and unique.
Our woman patrons swear by the Nomad flats and Wedges, our All Aboard’s, Tan cross Blocks and Gypsy Loafers while The Nautica Loafers are a big favourite among men. Our Tangled Loafers are favoured by both genders.
Though Shoes are our main focus but we also do neckpieces, earrings and bags
we feet in
We make shoes for both men and women. We also give our clients options to customize the heel height, colour and fit.
We have also done various Lakme Fashion Week collaborations in the past with SVA Couture, Paridhi Jaipuria, The Pot Plant Clothing, Arunima Mahji and Aaylixir. Recently, we collaborated with Wendell Rodricks for their Bombay Times runway show. We are also doing a collaboration with Vineet Bahl for his SS18 Collection showcase at Amazon Fashion Week.
Gush means a flow of emotion. We wanted people to feel a ‘gush’ of happiness when they saw our shoes. We try our best to make our shoes as fun and cheerful as possible.
Having 3 years of past experience I (Vrinda) knew that doing exhibitions would be a good and safe avenue to launch a brand amongst the experimental crowd. We’ve built personal relationships with so many clients across the country. We still participate in a lot of pop up exhibitions all over India. We focus very strongly on social media and the power of its reach.
We stock at physical stores in Mumbai and Ahmedabad and sell on various online portals. We do have quite a few clients in London, France, Dubai, Doha
the journey so far
Being a home-grown business, we have faced various issues. Initially, our production was outsourced so dealing with karigars, maintaining quality (Each pair is handmade so there were discrepancies) and meeting deadlines was very challenging. And then when we decided to set up our own factory we had to overcome problems like setting up payment mechanisms, finding the right vendors, while keeping the best interest of our karigars in mind.
But the major challenge was making people realize our design vision for the brand. We launched at a time when the market was flooded with bling. Our focus was beyond design and was more on creating ergonomically and technically sound and comfortable shoes. People found it difficult to accept our stuff as the price point was similar to stuff which was over the top. But over the years, the same people have realized the novelty factor behind buying our products. The need for having things that are not mass produced has grown. People love the comfort we are able to provide. We make sure that people get a great post-sale service. We have now reached a point where when we travel outside Bombay for a pop-up, our customers come and tell us that they have come to an exhibition just to buy from us. People tend to reorder a lot over the phone. It is very overwhelming when your work is appreciated and that is what motivates us each day to work harder.
Our learning curve has been great and we truly feel we have come a long way and hope to keep learning from our mistakes and from our peers.
banking on each other’s strength
I, Vrinda hold a degree from the National Institute of Fashion Technology. Hence my responsibility is looking after the workshop. Manav being Business Studies graduate & a lawyer looks after the business side of things.
We both believe in starting our day with To-do lists. Helps us plan our day better. An early factory visit is a must. Vrinda usually follows the factory visit by going to multiple markets for sourcing trinkets and other raw material. I, (Manav) usually attend meetings related to our finances and brand growth. We are usually both at the office by late afternoon to attend to administration related work. A typical day ends at around 9 pm. We have a customary team meeting every Monday. We are a small team of 4 now
We are launching our new collection called ‘Wonderland’ in the next few days. We are calling the collection Wonderland as we feel that it transforms us into this space of happiness and colour – a dreamy and happy state. A lot of the elements we have used in the collection are derived from memories of us going to the carnival as children. With this collection, we are trying to move into a space of sustainability. We have completely eliminated the use of leather and minimized our use of plastics to a great extent. We are also coming up with an upcycled jewellery line from all our waste.
We strive to constantly explore new avenues to create impactful design that is environment-friendly, working hard towards minimizing our waste and increasing our product longevity.
Having experienced the perils of unprofessional outsourced production and having built our own manufacturing unit from scratch. We wish to build a space where other brands big or small can look towards us to manufacture for them in a systematic and timely manner.
Our Presence & Order
In India, our main markets would be Bombay, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Delhi, Chennai, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Pune. You will find our shoes at Creo, Aza and Ensemble in Mumbai and at Moh in Ahmedabad.