Inspiration, Inception and Initiation
Our journey began among the salty sands of the longest natural beach in the world - Cox's Bazar, where our founders were born and brought up there. They grew up and moved to Dhaka, the capital city to attend University. While studying at University, they both felt the need to do something to provide for themselves, and being entrepreneurs at heart, they naturally had to . They opened one of the first online boutiques, and started selling fashionable clothes to the style conscious ladies of Dhaka City.
At that time, people in Dhaka had very limited choice when they wanted to purchase comfortable and stylish shoes. The founders recognized this gap in the market, and felt the demand for a shoe business. This was the main inspiration for starting La Mode in the year 2011.
Neither of our founders had the experience - all they had was the enthusiasm and the drive. They started visiting local shoe factories and spent their days and nights there, in order to learn how to make shoes.
Our factory was initially started in 2012, in 2 small room. The founders employed 2 artisans and trained them in the art of making handmade shoes. Always having the aim of making ethical products, the founders scoured the local markets to find ethically manufactured raw materials. When they could not find the required materials, they ordered them from China, and started the work, always keeping a lookout for new designs and innovations. The first office was situated in an apartment in Niketan, with the showroom situated inside the office.
Coincidentally, they met an Italian shoemaker in the year 2014 who really gave their shoemaking process a boost, and changed their design and thought process for the better.
Then, in 2015 the founders met a group of Chinese shoe makers who were employed as technical support staff to a few companies in Dhaka. These new friends taught our founders a lot of tips and tricks, and further helped improve the quality of our products. Our Chinese friends invited the founders to visit their organizations in China for further training. They accepted the invitation in 2017. When they returned from China, they had acquired enough technical knowledge to be able to completely revamp our product line and manufacture truly world class shoes. Even still today, we're Always focusing on innovating and improving our products.
The most difficult job was to convince the clients that the products were actually made in Bangladesh, as most clients thought that the products were made in Thailand.
We had to face many hardships as first of all, we started at a time when the e-commerce industry was very new, and a lot of people had trust issues regarding ordering products online. Another huge hurdle that we had to overcome was on how to tackles the client’s concern about sizing and exchanges.
La Mode was founded in 2011 with 2 people. We worked on the setup and documentation and started hiring workers around January 2012. The first employee was one of our artisans, who is now the manager and head artisan of our factory. Initially all the clients were handled by the founders themselves, until September 2012, when we employed our first in-house sales associate. Our first e-commerce employee was hired in 2013, on a part time basis. Then we started to expand our showrooms, going from one to two, then slowly on to create 4 showrooms around Dhaka city, and expanding the La Mode family accordingly, hiring more people in the sales team to come to our current total of 12 people. The e-commerce team was also growing in the meantime, and is now a strong team of 8 capable** individuals.
It's definitely been a journey of Inspiration, Inception and Initiation!