Social Alpha, CIIE.co, Be An Angel Network announce seed investment of USD 180K in Desi Hangover, a sustainable D2C footwear brand that has brought about prosperity in the lives of the Kolhapuri artisan community with predictable, financially rewarding livelihoods. Founded by Hitesh Kenjale, Lakshya Arora, and Abha Agarwal, Desi Hangover is showcasing Indian craftsmanship to domestic and international audiences, blending traditional styles with forward-looking footwear designs. The process innovations introduced in these rural shoemaking centres has augmented production manifold. Desi Hangover’s intervention has led to a three-time increase in remuneration for the artisan community. The start-up’s association has also encouraged women, who comprise 50% of the workforce, to become active contributors to the shoe-making process.
The Mumbai-based enterprise’s commitment to sustainability is reflected in the use of the centuries’ old vegetable tanning process that converts animal hide into usable leather. Vegetable tanning is universally regarded as an environmentally friendly option since it uses only organic substances.
India’s footwear industry is expected to grow 8 times by 2030. The domestic footwear market is estimated to reach $15.5 billion by 2022, from $10.6 billion in 2019. India is the 2nd largest producer of footwear in the world. Desi Hangover uses an omnichannel method, driving product sales through diversified online channels and offline retail partners.
Hitesh Kenjale, CEO of Desi Hangover said, “The world has not been exposed to Indian craftsmanship. The way we see it is that it has an enormous potential to become a global entity. We at Desi Hangover are building a new-age brand that showcases the hidden talent of our craft clusters to a global audience. We see immense growth potential in the offline distribution mediums. Our strong relationships built over the years will help us build a strong D2C channel supported by our offline networks. The fundraise will help us double down on the strategy.”
Commenting on the funding, Manoj Kumar, Founder and CEO, Social Alpha said, The Desi Hangover team has demonstrated that sustainability is as much about protecting Mother Earth as it is about de-risking the livelihoods of the poor and marginalised sections of the society. At Social Alpha we are proud of our portfolio companies as they continue to demonstrate business case for sustainable consumption creating triple bottom line impact.
Chintan Bakshi, Partner – Incubation at CIIE.co said, “CIIE.co, with its regional mandate through CIIE Regional Innovation Foundation, regards Indian crafts as one of its focus areas and has supported and funded start-ups in the sector. Desi Hangover was part of the second edition of the Craft Accelerator that CIIE.co conducted in 2019. Start-ups like Desi Hangover are using technology, design interventions and business model innovation to develop world class products using the traditional crafts of India.”
Thaneshwar Singh, Founder – Be An Angel Network said, “We invested in Desi Hangover as it promotes Indian traditional craftsmanship and has the potential to do so at a global level. At the Be An Angel Network, we not only want to back young entrepreneurs, but also allow young investors to invest in promising start-ups.”