Interview: Ms. Arushi Kalsi, Founder at Overdrive Shoes

Arushi Kalsi

An interview with Ms. Arushi Kalsi, Founder at Overdrive Shoes, a shoe brand

Welcome to this insightfull interview with Ms. Arushi Kalsi, Founder at Overdrive Shoes. Arushi Kalsi, the innovative mind behind Overdrive Shoes, embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship and creativity. With a vision to revolutionize the footwear industry, Arushi has demonstrated remarkable leadership and ingenuity in establishing her brand.

Her relentless pursuit of excellence and commitment to quality have propelled Overdrive Shoes into a renowned name in the fashion world.

Can you share the inspiration behind the creation of Overdrive Shoes? What motivated you to start this brand, especially with a focus on sustainability and women’s empowerment?

Arushi Kalsi: As third-generation exporters in the footwear industry, our journey began with a realization rooted in my personal experience studying and working in Germany. I noticed the absence of affordable high-quality footwear options in our domestic market.

This sparked the idea of offering affordable luxury, blending Italian materials and design with German engineering expertise. Our brand is deeply committed to sustainability, demonstrated through initiatives like repurposing excess leather into leather accessories and recycling office paper waste into diaries.

What sets us apart is our team of women entrepreneurs, challenge conventions by creating comfortable shoes for men. In fact, we launched our brand on Women’s Day with this innovative concept, symbolizing our commitment to breaking stereotypes and pushing boundaries in the industry.

Overdrive Shoes is described as a fusion of elegance, sustainability, and empowerment. How do these elements manifest in your brand’s products and operations?

Arushi Kalsi: From day one, we’ve embraced these principles as our guiding mottos. We strive to exemplify elegance through our Italian craftsmanship and material designs, led by our dedicated Italian head designer who is passionate about infusing art into every step.

Sustainability is paramount in our operations, championed by our German team of technicians and engineers who continuously innovate to make our shoes more sustainable. Additionally, our commitment to empowering women in India not only fosters independence but also aligns with the goals of the Make in India program.

Being part of the Metro & Metro global enterprises group, how does Overdrive Shoes align with the overarching goals and values of the parent company?

Arushi Kalsi: Overdrive operates as an extension of M&M Global Enterprises, sharing a unified vision of delivering top-quality shoes at affordable prices. Our commitment extends beyond the product itself to encompass the entire process of shoemaking.

We prioritize best practices, emphasizing not only the craftsmanship but also the well-being of our employees and the overall ecosystem. We believe that the true quality of a shoe is not just in its final form but in the meticulous process behind its creation.

This approach encompasses not only the technical aspects of footwear production but also the human motivation and vision driving the pursuit of excellence in shoemaking.

Women’s empowerment is a core aspect of your brand. How does Overdrive Shoes contribute to empowering women, both within your organization and in the wider community?

Arushi Kalsi: As previously mentioned, our team comprises passionate women entrepreneurs, serving in both managerial and labor roles. We adhere to the philosophy of learning through hands-on experience and leading by example.

Our incremental efforts towards establishing a community led by women not only contribute to its development but also serve to normalize women’s participation in the footwear manufacturing industry.

Overdrive Shoes likely has a unique target market due to its emphasis on elegance, sustainability, and empowerment. How do you approach marketing and reaching out to this specific demographic?

Arushi Kalsi: Currently, our sales operations are exclusively online, facilitated through our website and various online marketplaces. The initial response has been promising, with our customer base demonstrating traits of adventurousness, conscientiousness, and an appreciation for design and quality craftsmanship.

We engage with our audience primarily through Instagram and Facebook, leveraging these platforms to connect with our target demographic. For repeat customers, we prioritize the fundamentals of delivering well-made and comfortable shoes, ensuring a consistent and satisfying experience with our brand.

In what ways do you see Overdrive Shoes evolving in the future, both in terms of product offerings and its impact on sustainability and women’s empowerment?

Arushi Kalsi: We’re always striving to enhance our products’ design and comfort for our customers, which requires meticulous engineering. With current geopolitical tensions driving up material costs, relying entirely on imported raw materials may become impractical. Opting for local sourcing would offer both economic and sustainable benefits in the future.

In the future, Overdrive Shoes could expand its product offerings to include more sustainable materials and designs that cater to women as well. By focusing on sustainable sourcing and manufacturing practices, Overdrive can reduce its environmental impact while also empowering women through employment opportunities and fair labor practices.

Additionally, incorporating innovative technologies and design elements can further enhance the brand’s appeal and relevance in the market.

Collaboration and partnerships can be powerful tools for brands with a social mission. Are there any notable partnerships or collaborations Overdrive Shoes has engaged in to further its goals?

Arushi Kalsi: So far no partnership. Maybe in the future when we have exhausted our ideas.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to start a socially conscious brand, particularly in industries where it might be less common?

Arushi Kalsi: Sustainability isn’t just a trend—it’s the superhero cape of the modern world! For us young entrepreneurs, embracing sustainability isn’t just savvy business—it’s like giving ourselves a big, warm hug! And the coolest way to do it?

‘By simply minding our own business!’

For aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start a socially conscious brand in industries where it might be less common, my advice would be:

  • Define your mission: Clearly articulate your purpose and the social or environmental issue you aim to address through your brand. Having a clear mission will guide your decisions and resonate with like-minded customers.
  • Research your industry: Understand the landscape of your industry and identify areas where social responsibility can be integrated. Look for gaps or opportunities where your brand can make a meaningful impact.
  • Build a strong network: Surround yourself with mentors, advisors, and partners who share your values and can provide guidance and support.
  • Authenticity is key: Ensure that your commitment to social responsibility is genuine and aligned with your brand values. Authenticity builds trust with consumers and sets you apart from competitors who may engage in greenwashing or cause-related marketing without true dedication.
  • Start small, scale sustainably: Begin with manageable initiatives that align with your resources and capabilities. As your brand grows, you can gradually expand your impact and scale your efforts in a sustainable manner.
  • Measure and communicate impact: Establish metrics to track your social and environmental impact, and regularly evaluate your progress towards your goals.

Arushi Kalsi’s journey as the Founder of Overdrive Shoes serves as an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs worldwide. Her unwavering determination, coupled with her passion for innovation, has not only reshaped the footwear landscape but also exemplified the power of perseverance and vision in achieving success.

Arushi’s story underscores the importance of daring to dream big and taking bold steps towards realizing those dreams.

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