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Red Chief: The Remarkable Journey of a Kanpur Entrepreneur's 324 Crore Shoe Empire test

Manoj Gyanchandani started Red Chief in Kanpur and spread it to 16 states throughout India with 175 exclusive stores and more than 3,000 multi-brand outlets. The business generates around Rs 324 crore in revenue.

In his early 20s, Manoj Gyanchandani began an export company for leather shoes while working for his family’s company. He founded Leayan Global Private Limited in 1995 to export leather shoes to Europe. Manoj discovered two years later that the leather shoe segment of the Indian footwear market was not organised. 

He, therefore, analysed the market to launch a business to finish the export industry. He introduced the Red Chief brand in 1997 through its parent organisation, Leayan Global Private Limited, a unit of the Rs 5,500 crore multinational conglomerate RSPL.

Manoj states in a conversation, “There were no good quality men’s shoes available at an affordable price, so I decided to launch my own footwear brand, bootstrapping capital from the profits of the existing family business.”

Setting Steps in the Market

Manoj initially decided to establish himself in Kanpur. He began by displaying his goods in numerous stores with different brands all throughout the city. This persisted until 2010, when Red Chief opened multi-branded stores in additional states. The businessman opened Kanpur’s first exclusive Red Chief shop in 2011. Since that time, nobody has turned back. 

Red Chief operates 175 outlets in 16 states, including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh. Additionally, it can be found in over 3,000 multi-brand stores. According to Manoj, Red Chief rules the market in North India. The company generates a turnover of more than Rs 324 crore annually, according to filings with the Registrar of Companies (RoC).

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"The Rise of Red Chief: Building a 324 Crore Leather Shoe Brand Across India"
Image Credit : pocketpressrelease

“We manufacture around 80% of our items in-house. We have three production units spread out over Kanpur, Haridwar, and other places, as well as a fully functional leather and footwear manufacturing facility with a tannery,” says Manoj.

He continues by saying that 20% of Red Chief’s shoe line is also produced at facilities operated by third parties but with stringent quality control from the business. A pair of leather Red Chief shoes ranges from Rs 2,500 to Rs 4,000. Additionally, the brand is listed on e-commerce websites like Myntra, Flipkart, and Amazon.

Difficulties and Competition In the Journey

Manoj notes that one of the difficulties is that Indian consumers are very price-sensitive and seek out the highest quality products at reasonable prices. 

“Many brands make the error of sacrificing quality for immediate advantages. Although such a strategy by brands presents a problem for us, as a highly consumer-focused business, quality still comes first, he continues.

Red Chief has grown by branching out into the garment and accessories industries. It currently provides things like jeans, belts, wallets, deodorants, and more to meet all of the fashion and lifestyle needs of guys. Furo by Red Chief, a sports line the brand offers, has a starting price of Rs 1,800.

“Not only are we diversified with distinctive designs that set us apart from our rivals, but we also stand united in our promise to deliver nothing but the best,” says Manoj.

"Stepping into Greatness: The Red Chief Success Story of a Kanpur Entrepreneur"
Image Credit : redchief

The Path Forward

Actor Vicky Kaushal was recently chosen as Red Chief’s brand ambassador. The brand’s “Khel Gaye Chief” 360-degree advertising campaign has been running across print and digital media for the past three months. Manoj claims that both channel partners and customers are responding incredibly well to it.

The organisation intends to continue growing and expanding throughout India, with better penetration among young people.

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