When the shoe brand Neeman’s decided to release the mickey mouse on its own

Sustainable shoe brand D2C is capitalizing on its advertising blitzkrieg, looking to rule offline retail, and not afraid of the current uncertain economic climate.

There are shoe brands and shoe brands. Neeman is the last; it’s the one who wants you to wear woolen shoes all year round. Don’t worry, the brand claims it will keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Don’t believe us? Well, to back up their claim, the brand asked actor Jim Sarbh to tell us that they use “ultra-thin material and temperature-regulating properties.”

Founded in 2018, the Hyderabad-based sustainable footwear company has made a name for itself with advertisements touting its eco-friendly shoes (sneakers, joggers, loafers and slippers) made from merino wool, PET bottles recycled as well as tires.

Many people ended up watching the ads on his social media. The brand therefore decided to remove the mickey from itself in a single advertisement.

Taran Chhabra, the founder of Neeman, tells the afaqs! that they decided to stab themselves and ask, “Okay, you watch the ads, but what next?”

The ad, made in-house, features two friends talking about Neeman’s endless number of ads and looking disenchanted. But a third friend, after watching the ads, bought a pair.

According to Chhabra, their existing customers and those who hadn’t purchased the shoes were the inspirations for the ad.

From his first campaign with comedian and actor Vir Das to those featuring cricketers Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya and celebrities like Ranvijay Singha (Roadies fame), actors Ali Fazal and Bhumi Pednekar, isn’t the phase of brand awareness over?

“These are mini campaigns for us,” Chhabra says and goes on to explain that Neeman’s was built on the pillars of comfort and durability. The brand talks about the breathability and lightness of its shoes.

“Sustainability is a bigger pillar, and within it there are multiple features that drive people to buy. Then, each month, we choose four features along with behaviors, and track them.”

Neeman’s shoes are available on his website and e-commerce sites such as Amazon, Myntra and Flipkart and the prices can range up to Rs 5,000.

According to an April 2022 Moneycontrol report, Neeman’s is in talks with institutional investors and growth funds to raise around Rs 100-120 crore in Series B funding. However, given the current high inflation economic scenario, worries of a coming recession and investors tightening their markets, is the brand looking to change its media spend?

“Not really,” Chhabra said. The media budget is under control. Neeman’s will not be affected by the current pattern of things and is not looking to cut budgets on any medium, he adds.

Chhabra wouldn’t reveal any numbers, but said “the budget could be 25-30% of the revenue they’re looking for, in terms of media money.”

It’s no wonder, then, that such enthusiasm led Neeman’s to venture into offline retail. Chhabra reveals that the brand is available in around 30 store-to-store designs, and can also be found at outlets like Shopper’s Stop, Regal and Central.

“We expect to be available in 100 to 150 of these locations in the coming months,” Chhabra mentions. Neeman’s, as of now, is only available in Subways and a few Tier I cities.

Asked about the rivals, Chhabra says: “Competition, for us, is everyone selling shoes. Our branding and storytelling is extremely strong, as shoes are not an impulse buy category. But when you’re thinking of buying, we want you to consider us.