“I was born in Mumbai and raised in Dubai, U.A.E. During my childhood days, I used to visit my father’s factory quite frequently and that’s how I developed a keen eye for detail and a passion for manufacturing and building something new. I think, my true motivation to become an entrepreneur stems from the time I started working at my father’s buying agency during the early days of my career.
I had landed my first trainee job at the age of 17 in a leading International Bank before majoring in Business Studies and Accounting at Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics, Mumbai. Following which, I worked at a leading denim wear brand which is where my experience in the apparel industry comes in.
Out of luck and chance, I met my now business partner Naazneen Katrak, Founder, Mustang Socks & Accessories, who was single-handedly working on a mission to provide quality cotton socks to the Indian consumers. Way back in the 1980’s, Naazneen realised the lack of cotton socks manufactured in India and the only place you could buy them was at imported goods shops. Her own need for premier quality cotton socks made Naazneen conceive Mustang Socks & Accessories.
It was founded in 1987 by Naazneen Katrak and in the year 1997, I joined in and by 2004 we collaborated to scale the brand to achieve greater heights. The journey, since then has been extremely exciting but also with full of challenges.
The biggest challenge we faced was changing the mind-set of the people about a pair of socks that was seen just as a mere commodity. With our vision, we wanted to change this mind-set and make socks fashionable. We decided to take on this challenge one step at a time.
Today, socks are not just black, white or brown but are available in all sorts of colours and designs. Also, there were hardly any varieties and designs in socks available for women, we introduced colors and variants which took some time to evolve but is our signature now. Besides this, we have had to compete as a domestic brand with other foreign brands and that has changed the way we’re viewed or perceived by the consumers today.
Mustang today manufactures more than 1 million pairs of socks every month, and has 36 distributors across India. With a consistent and impresssive growth rate, we have tie-ups with some of the largest International Brands, Retailers and E-Retailers, including Amazon, FirstCry, Hopscotch, etc. We are also expanding to include other apparel products like scarves, vests and briefs for kids, etc. We recently launched our own e-commerce website and have also opened up our first wholesale store.
But in spite of all the challenges we overcame, watching our vision turn into reality has been one of the most beautiful part of our journey. It has been a novel, with every passing day is becoming all the more intriguing and exhilarating. We revamped a humble pair of socks from an afterthought and raised it to a pedestal, that has finally been looked at as a fashion statement. We made people rethink and change their perspective about a product that they thought couldn’t go beyond a certain limit.
Also, a different kind of wave course through your body when you get recognised for your work. To be acknowledged as the Entrepreneur of the Year in Manufacturing Business at the 5th Entrepreneur India Awards 2015 was the best feeling ever. While being in the industry for almost three decades and watching the transition happen, we know that this was all worth the effort.”