V Noushad launched his own brand of footwear after being part of his father’s business for over a decade. The new brand Walkaroo has now become a Rs 1500 crore turnover business.
What his father started from the ground up, rising from poverty to develop a successful footwear industry, his son has taken to a new level with his own footwear brand, Walkaroo.
After working for his father’s VKC Footwear brand for over a decade, V Noushad started Walkaroo in 2012 from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.
VKC was formed in the 1980s by his father, VKC Mammed Koya, who had previously worked as a chaiwallah and contract employee before starting VKC. VKC, situated in Kerala, began by producing hawai chappals (rubber flip-flops), then progressed to PVC and PU footwear.
What his father started from the ground up, rising from poverty to develop a successful footwear industry, his son has taken to a new level with his own footwear brand, Walkaroo, which is now a Rs 1500 crore revenue business.
After working for his father’s VKC Footwear brand for over a decade, V Noushad started Walkaroo in 2012 from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. VKC was formed in the 1980s by his father,
Noushad was born and raised in Nallalam. VKC and Fathima Bi, a homemaker, raised him in Kozhikode, along with three other siblings, an elder brother and two younger sisters.
“Our father is an out-of-school dropout.”
My father asked me what I wanted to accomplish with my life while I was in Class 7. ‘No matter what you do, do it well.’ “This pep talk transformed my life trajectory, and I decided I wanted to be a business owner like my father.
His father then began manufacturing rubber slippers under the trade name VKC in 1984.”
He sent me a textbook on rubber technology two years later and asked me to explain it.
I studied it completely, learned a lot, and became interested in science as a result “Noushad, who has a strong academic background, will play a key role in introducing PVC and PU footwear to VKC.
He attended GMUP School in Nallalam and graduated from Government Engineering College in Thrissur with a B. Tech in chemical engineering. He later completed his M. Tech in Polymer Science at Cochin University of Science and Technology (1991-93).
Noushad explains, “When I finished my B. Tech, I intended to join my father’s firm, but I immediately realised that I wouldn’t be able to provide much value. My master’s thesis was on lightweight hawai chappal.
While conducting his investigation, Noushad discovered that there wasn’t much room for lightweight hawai chappals, as PVC slippers were already popular. This led Noushad to enrol in IIT Madras, in 1995, for a Ph.D. in the field.
Despite the fact that he was unable to complete his degree, he had learned adequate information to work on PVC footwear.
He returned to Kozhikode in 1998 and joined VKC, where he helped launch their PVC footwear using imported Taiwanese machinery.
“We obtained the first mover advantage in the PVC footwear market in South India,” says Noushad, who, along with his brother Razak, began to leverage his technical knowledge to establish VKC.
The brothers launched EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) footwear in 2003, which replaced rubber soles with a softer, lighter, and more flexible material.
I purchased a map of Tamil Nadu and went to shopkeepers in each district on my own.
“They embraced our items because they were good,” Noushad says of their entry into Tamil Nadu.
The brothers debuted PU (Polyurethane) footwear in 2006.
They met a business expert two years later who advised them on how to expand their brand.
VKC’s annual revenue was approximately Rs 100 crore at the time.
“We opened warehouses in North India – Kanpur and New Delhi – and East India – Kolkata and Odisha,” Noushad explains.
They began production in Mysuru, Karnataka, in 2010, in Vapi, Gujarat, in 2011, and in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, in 2012. With increased sales, their revenue reached Rs 900 crore in FY 2013-14.