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How to Start a Profitable Footwear Manufacturing Business

The footwear industry has witnessed significant growth over the years. It offers ample opportunities for entrepreneurs to venture into the footwear manufacturing business. However, starting a footwear manufacturing business requires careful planning, an understanding of the market, and adherence to industry standards. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you start your own footwear-manufacturing business.

10 Steps to Start Footwear/ Shoe Manufacturing Business

1. Research and Planning

Conduct thorough market research to understand the demand, trends, and competition in the footwear industry. Identify your target market segments, such as athletic shoes, casual footwear, formal shoes, or specialized footwear. Define your business goals, product range, and manufacturing capacity.

2. Business Registration and Legal Compliance

In starting this business, you must obtain different licenses and registrations. Find some basic requirements.

  • In India, register your business with ROC.
  • Apply for MSME Udyog Aadhaar online registration.
  • Obtain Trade License from the local Municipal authority.
  • However, this business doesn’t demand clearance from Pollution Control Board.
  • Obtain GST registration number.
  • For export, you must obtain an IEC number from the Director General of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce, Government of India.
  • Protect your brand name with Trademark registration.

3. Cost to Start a Footwear Manufacturing Business?

The investment can vary based on the scale of your operations, the type of footwear you plan to manufacture, and the location of your manufacturing unit. It can range from moderate to high, considering the costs of machinery, equipment, raw materials, and marketing activities. On average, the cost of starting a small-scale shoe manufacturing business will be in the range of Rs. 10 Lacs to Rs. 25 Lacs.

4. Arrange Funds

Prepare a comprehensive business plan that includes financial projections, investment requirements, and cash flow management. If you are short on money, secure necessary funding through self-financing, bank loans, or government schemes for small businesses. Implement robust financial management practices to monitor expenses, track revenue, and ensure profitability.

Read: Best Credit Cards in India

5. Location and Infrastructure

Choose a suitable location for your manufacturing unit, considering factors like proximity to raw material suppliers, accessibility, and infrastructure facilities. Set up a well-equipped manufacturing facility with machinery and equipment required for footwear production. In addition, ensure proper storage facilities for raw materials, inventory, and finished products.

6. Machinery & Raw Materials

Here is a list of basic machinery requirements.

  • Cutting Clicking Press and Cutting Board
  • GP 4 Machine
  • Skiving Machine
  • Upper Stitching Flat Bed Machine
  • Upper Stitching Post Bed Machine
  • Cylindrical Bed / Bending Machine
  • Sole Attaching Press
  • Grinder / Scoring Machine
  • Sole Activator
  • Zigzag Machine
  • Scoring Machine
  • Finishing Machine
  • Generator – 50 KVA
  • In conclusion, You will need to arrange for electrification.

Related: Best Small Manufacturing Business Ideas

6. Raw Material Procurement

Identify reliable suppliers for high-quality raw materials like leather, synthetic materials, soles, adhesives, and accessories. Establish long-term partnerships with suppliers to ensure a consistent supply of raw materials at competitive prices. Maintain a sufficient inventory of raw materials to meet production demands.

Find a list of basic raw materials needed to make footwear:

  • For Upper Materials: Natural Leather, Paramedics, Leather Fabrics, Textile Materials, Plastic, and Rubber Fall
  • Insole Material: Leather Board, Bontex and Other Cellulose Board, and Some Special Types of Shoe Construction Textiles
  • Outsole Material: Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Polyurethane (PU) and Thermoplastic Rubber (TPR)
  • Grinderies: Shoe Laces, Threads, Tapes, Metal Fittings, Eyelets, Buckles, Different Types of Nails/Tingles, Shanks, Rivets, Hooks Zip Fastener
  • Auxiliary Material: Adhesives, Finishing Chemicals like Latex, Polish, etc.
  • Packaging Material: Plastic Bags, Cardboard Boxes, and Corrugated Cartons.

7. Product Design and Development

Hire skilled designers or work with freelance designers to create attractive and marketable footwear designs. Develop prototypes and samples of your footwear products to assess quality, comfort, and aesthetics. Incorporate feedback from potential customers and make necessary improvements to your designs.

Read: Top Footwear Brands in India

8. Production and Quality Control

Implement efficient production processes to ensure timely manufacturing and delivery of footwear products. Set up quality control measures to ensure consistent product quality, durability, and adherence to industry standards. Conduct regular inspections and testing of raw materials, work-in-progress, and finished products.

9. Build a Skilled Workforce

Recruit and train skilled personnel for various roles in your manufacturing unit, including production workers, designers, quality control inspectors, and administrative staff. Provide ongoing training and skill development programs to enhance productivity, efficiency, and quality.

10. Marketing and Distribution

Develop a marketing strategy to promote your footwear products, including online and offline channels. Create a brand identity, logo, and packaging that align with your target market and product positioning.

Explore distribution channels like retail partnerships, e-commerce platforms, and direct-to-consumer sales. Participate in trade shows, exhibitions, and industry events to showcase your products and build connections.

It is worth mentioning in conclusion that you need to stay updated with industry trends, consumer preferences, and technological advancements in footwear manufacturing. You are required to continuously innovate your product range, incorporating new materials, designs, and technologies to stay competitive in the market.

Read: Best Shoe Brands in India

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key challenges in starting a footwear manufacturing business?

Some key challenges include sourcing high-quality raw materials, managing production costs, staying updated with market trends, and competing with established brands. Adhering to quality standards and building a strong distribution network are also important challenges.

Do I need prior experience in footwear manufacturing to start this business?

While prior experience in footwear manufacturing can be beneficial, it is not a mandatory requirement. Hiring skilled professionals, working with experienced designers, and conducting thorough research can compensate for any lack of personal experience.

Is the footwear manufacturing business profitable in India?

The footwear manufacturing industry in India has immense growth potential. It is driven by increasing disposable incomes, changing fashion trends, and a large consumer base. India’s position as a global sourcing hub for footwear presents opportunities for domestic manufacturers to tap into both domestic and international markets.

What types of footwear can be manufactured in India?

India offers the potential for manufacturing a wide range of footwear. It includes casual shoes, formal shoes, sports shoes, sandals, boots, and slippers. However, the choice of footwear depends on market demand and your target customer segment.

Where can I find suppliers for footwear manufacturing raw materials?

You can find suppliers for footwear raw materials through industry trade associations, online directories, trade fairs, and exhibitions. Connect with manufacturers and wholesalers specializing in footwear components and materials.

About Next What Business Research Team

The Editorial Staffs at NextWhatBusiness is a team of Business Consultants with years of experience in small and medium-scale manufacturing and service-based businesses.