Husband-wife duo quit MNC jobs to launch the world’s first-ever charcoal-made shoes – sell across India.

Leather and synthetic fibres have long been known to harm the environment. Despite that, the shoe industry continues to use both of these materials. The global market size of synthetic leather is estimated to grow to USD 66.2 billion by 2030.

Atul Mehta is an Indian entrepreneur who has decided to contribute towards changing this trend and introducing footwear that is sustainable, from its making to final delivery.

Atul Mehta, along with his wife Divya Burad Mehta, launched Solecraft, an eco-friendly footwear brand, in August 2022.

Atul and Divya are a married couple. They both are alumni of the prestigious Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. While Atul landed a job at an export house that exported high-end canvas bags to Europe, Divya started working at a multinational company.

Atul Mehta always had the wish to start his own business, but he didn’t have anything planned. 

The idea of starting a comfort-first footwear brand came to him when he saw his father dealing with foot pain while playing squash one day. Atul thought to himself that his father wore shoes from international brands, and they still fell short of providing him with the comfort he needed.

Eventually, Atul decided to start Solecraft and make it a comfortable, sustainable footwear solution. Divya refused a job at Nestle, and while pregnant, she joined her husband as a co-founder of Solecraft. 

Now, Atul is the CEO of Solecraft and looks after marketing and operations, while Divya takes care of the financial aspects of the business.

The duo began work and research on Solecraft shoes in December 2021. They made close to 70 prototypes and sent them for testing. 

In August 2022, Solecraft was officially launched as a footwear brand that offers India’s most comfortable shoes.

What makes Solecraft stand out

While other players in the footwear industry rely on leather and man-made synthetic fibres for making shoes, Solecraft uses only premium natural fibres to make shoes that are good for people as well as the environment. 

The natural fibres used by the brand include bamboo charcoal, Australian Merino wool and recycled tyres.

Not just this, the shoes are made in a manner that they take the shape of the foot after a few wears. This makes the whole experience extremely flexible and comfortable.

Let us take a look at the key features of Solecraft’s shoes.

  • They are hundred-per cent breathable.
  • They are washable and can therefore be cleaned easily.
  • The shoes are fit for all terrains.
  • The shoes are lightweight and flexible.
  • They give a relaxed barefoot feeling when you wear them.
  • The shoes are odour-resistant and ensure that feet remain fresh.
  • After a few wears, the shoes take the shape of the feet and add to comfort.

Solecraft’s shoes are unisex and cater to people between the ages of 17 and 45. They are priced at an affordable range to give everyone greater accessibility to comfortable footwear.

The shoes are completely biodegradable and recyclable. In fact, the packaging that the brand uses to deliver shoes is also made from 90 per cent post-consumer recycled cardboard.

Starting with an investment of Rupees 10 lakhs, Atul and Divya self-funded Solecraft with an additional Rupees 40 lakhs to propel the business towards the causes of comfort, flexibility, sustainability and climate protection.

Talking about what the future of Solecraft looks like, Atul Mehta said, “When we started the brand, I and Divya both wanted to do something that is impactful. We didn’t want to be labelled as just another footwear brand. As entrepreneurs, we aim to provide unique solutions to people struggling with problems related to footwear. We endeavour to disrupt the footwear industry by not only introducing but also making possible sustainable, eco-friendly shoes. The future of Solecraft is innovative and bright.”

Today, the startup brand offers its customers hundreds of loafers, joggers and runners. 

Solecraft has proudly become the world’s first brand to make shoes from charcoal fabric.

Currently, the footwear brand makes sales through its personal website and offline channels by sending the shoes for retail display and sale to multi-brand outlets across India.

Next on the list of Solecraft’s objectives is to adopt and perfect an omnichannel approach to capture and serve bigger markets and maintain steady growth. To view Solecraft’s products and buy comfortable, sustainable shoes, Click here.