What happens when two very different shoe sizes meet; for example a size 4 and a size 11? Soleful Shoes happens! I am talking about an online shoe company selling shoes to women with Australian sizes 4 to 5 and 10 to 11 feet.
Two young Australian Tamil women, Kuppal and Pradhima, founded Soleful Shoes in 2016, to solve their long time dilemma of finding shoes that didn’t blister their feet or leave a floppy leather mess that forcibly dragged along the streets.
The Tamil Souls Behind It:
Kuppal, a management consultant, came up with the idea of providing comfortable large size shoes at the age of 18. She strived to find a solution that was both viable and achievable within her target market. After travelling to the United States, a life changing moment impacted Kuppal’s next business adventure. She met a gentleman who had previously worked at google.org and asked him for advice regarding the qualities, characteristics and experience that she would need in order to get a job in social impact. His reply changed her life.
“Do! The space needs doers. People who jump with both feet in and just make stuff happen. Don't wait to find "the job" - that's not how stuff happens in this space. You do and make things happen - then the right job will present itself to you. Note that this is a calling, not a job”.
This was the catalyst for wanting to start a shoe business that promoted inclusion in the shoe industry while also pursuing a social purpose. At the same time, it propelled Kuppal to focus on working collaboratively with many organizations in the social sector through Deloitte.
Pradhima, a financial manager, personally struggled to find petite size shoes and at the age of 21 she decided that it would be great to have a start up that manufactured small shoes. She ran 'Teacup Shoes' for women with small feet for two years successfully. During this time she realized that there was also a market for larger women’s shoe sizes as well. One evening, both Pradhima and Kuppal came together to discuss their common ambition and Soleful Shoes came to life.
Starting up your own company comes with a lot of hurdles and uncertainties. "Knowledge is power" is a famous quote that resonates with many successful business endeavours. Without knowledge, the height of success is hindered. Kuppal ensured that her knowledge about websites met the industry standards. This was to ensure that Soleful shoes customers are given a positive and easy shopping experience. With hours and hours of research and development, solefulshoes.com.au is a proud achievement for both the girls.
While running a profit making business is of high importance, the conscience of both ladies impacted the purpose of their business. They were passionate about making a positive change in this world, and they needed to create their business to align with this notion. This is when the connection between Dress for Success and Soleful Shoes began. Now every time that you make a shoe purchase, you can donate a lightly worn pair of shoes to the charity, which empowers women to achieve economic independence. #zeroguiltshopping
Pradhima proudly remarked “Once this all came together, the brand came together beautifully and we were really proud of the end result”.
The future for Soleful Shoes
The brand is focused on taking a stand for inclusive fashion for women in Australia. They’re looking to be the go-to brand for women foot sizes under 5 or over 10. Much like the plus-size movement in Australia, these ladies are looking to redefine what’s ‘normal’ for shoe sizes and help the many women in Australia that are frustrated with the current limitations of shoe shopping locally.
Watch the Soleful Shoes interview on SBS: