Patna: The business of cleaning shoes is unheard of in India. An image of a cobbler automatically forms in our minds when we hear the words ‘shoe cleaning’. Bihar’s Shazia Qaiser has opened an unconventional business where she cleans the dirty shoes of people and makes them brand new. 

In 2016, Shazia opened Bihar’s first shoe laundry service with the name ‘Revival Shoe Laundry’. Her family and friends were full of doubts thinking about Shazia’s venture. People were concerned about the possible likelihood of running this business successfully.

In the beginning, Shazia’s business was compared with the work of street cobblers and repairers. At that time, the services were being run on ‘no loss no profit basis. Presently, the company’s annual turnover is Rs 50 lakh. 

Who is Shazia?

Shazia Qaiser is a resident of Bhagalpur. She holds a bachelor's degree in physiotherapy. In the past, she has worked for UNICEF and WHO. She is a married woman and has two children. She juggled between the responsibilities of her family and her job. She did her research to utilize her time in the best way possible and came to the conclusion of opening her own business.

Investment of Rs 3 lakh

Shazia launched her services with an investment of Rs 3 lakh and with the help of two workers. Shazia struggled to attract customers in the first few years and could not make any profits. 

People becoming more conscious about their hygiene during the pandemic aided to the growth of her business. Gradually, she gained more customers and started making profits. She shares that there plans of establishing more such outlets in different parts of the country. 

Working on new ideas

Shazia is aware of the competition in the job and business market. She knew that she needed to come up with an idea that was unique and one of a kind. She started working on her business diligently thinking that her business idea will open new opportunities for others too while making her independent. 

Shazia while studying the business market, found out that all kinds of products have repairing services but there is no such option in the footwear industry. One only knows about manufacturing companies, but there are no footwear service centres. Cobblers are skilled workers, but they are not fully equipped to provide all kinds of cleaning and repairing services. Shazia became determined to implement this model and then waited to see the response. 

Expanding the services

When Shazia started receiving good response, she introduced jacket and bags refurbishment services too. She cleans, polishes, repairs and customizes these items. Shazia mentions that initially people used to visit her shop thinking of it as a footwear shop. She used to explain the services of her shop multiple times in a day. This also helped her in promoting her business among more people.

Making a 30-lakh crore business?

Shazia shares some statistics that almost 30 lakh crore shoes are discarded every year as they cannot be reused or recycled. She believes that if it becomes possible to expand their business on a large level, and if her company manages to recycle even one percent of the shoes that go to waste, she will be able to grow her business to Rs 3-lakh crore.  

A slow and gradual change

Shazia was ready to observe little to no profit in her business. She believes that it takes time to adapt to a new way of life. People are not much aware about donating their shoes or recycling them, but the change will surely come after some perseverance. If she works with the collaboration of footwear retailers, the promotion of her business will become easier.