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INTERVIEW WITH NIKUNJ MARVANIA OF AWL & SUNDRY
A BRAND BORN OUT OF THE FRUSTRATION OF NOT BEING ABLE TO FIND AFFORDABLE QUALITY SHOES
You wouldn't think twice about getting a bespoke suit or tailor made sports jacket, so why should your shoes be any different? To answer this very question, I caught up with Nikunj Marvania, the founder of New York based bespoke shoe brand, Awl & Sundry.
Bespoke tailoring has been around for a long time, bespoke shoes are a different kettle of fish. What was the ethos behind creating Awl & Sundry?
"Bespoke shoemakers have been around for decades as well. Unfortunately, due to their business model and high cost associated with it, they were only accessible to the ultra-rich. Awl & Sundry’s mission is to democratise the luxury of artisan men’s fashion by encouraging, facilitating and enhancing the creative role of the customer via a customised and affordable online shopping experience."
You're very passionate about Awl & Sundry. What’s your background in the industry?
"Yes, we absolutely love our shoes. My background is in finance. Prior to founding Awl & Sundry I was working in the financial services industry for just over two years."
That’s quite a unique change! Finance to fashion? How did that come about?
"It started with the frustration of not being able to find a great pair of shoe within a decent price range. Eventually my search for the perfect pair lead me to research the industry which then translated to traveling to different countries to understand the shoe making process. The more research I did the more excited and passionate I got about the prospect of building a brand which could revolutionise the way men shop for shoes."
The current collection online gives the buyer the possibility of different combinations, do you plan on expanding this even further with new styles in the future?
"Yes, currently we offer more than 2 billion design variations. We have plans to add different styles in the near future. Also, we are working on adding additional customisation for our existing styles. For instance, more options for soles."
What is your favorite combination from the collection?
"This is a difficult question to answer. There are many designs that I love. It really depends on the occasion. My favorite for the summer is a monk with dark brown suede leather."
What's next for you and Awl & Sundry?
"We don’t have any set plans for the company. Our complete focus is on making beautiful shoes that our customers love. We take customer experience very seriously. In that way, we are a little different than most brands out there. All our decisions start with one question, “Will this (change/product) enhance the customer experience?” If the answer to this question is "yes" then we explore that option further."
For such a young company, quality and craftsmanship is something that comes in droves with each pair of shoes. The leather is beautiful, the stitching is intricate, the soles are chunky -heck, even the shoe trees are of excellent quality
"And coming in at a reasonable price, look out for big things from this brand. I mean, who doesn’t love a monogrammed shoe, right?!"