Pakistan is potential women luxury footwear market
Following are the excerpts from Daily Times interview with Mr Huzaifa:
DT: How did you start up with Insignia?
Huzaifa: The luxury or premium shoe market for Pakistani women is still a fairly ignored segment – or rather, it might be better to say that this market is still largely untapped. Women looking to buy high-end, quality shoes generally look to brands outside Pakistan. Alternatively, they’ll just buy their shoes abroad, Dubai being the closest such destination. As such, there is a lot of potential to establish and grow a premium women’s footwear brand here in Pakistan. It was keeping this potential in mind that we decided to launch Insignia as a brand that caters to this high-end market.
DT: What were some of the challenges that you faced when you started this company?
Huzaifa: The first and the foremost challenge we faced was bringing on board quality human resources. Finding the right people with the required skill sets, who could understand and cater to our target market was perhaps the most difficult part of the initial process.
DT: You became the CEO of a big company at a very young age. How does that make you feel?
Huzaifa: I would say it makes me more humble. Running a company such as Insignia is a huge responsibility. Not only in terms of establishing the brand and then growing it within the market, but also with respect to managing our people and meeting their expectations. My hope is that I am successful in meeting the expectations of both our customers and our own people – and taking the brand to new heights.
DT: What was the driving force behind Insignia?
Huzaifa: The driving force behind Insignia was and still is our passion to provide a classy, premium product to our customers. In simple terms, it is an unwavering commitment to high standards.
DT: How do you think Insignia is different than the other brands in footwear and accessories?
Huzaifa: We are the only brand that offers pure 100% premium leather products to our customers. Our styles are classy and elegant, and the designs are in line with the latest international collections. In fact, I can say with great pride that Insignia’s product portfolio is completely aligned with international trends – and that we are not even a single season behind international designs. What you’ll find in stores abroad is what you’ll see in our Insignia stores.
DT: Where do you see the brand in the next 10 years?
Huzaifa: In the next 10 years, I see Insignia’s presence expand to international markets, especially the Middle East and Asia Pacific. And, of course, Insignia will grow its domestic presence and be available in major cities across all four provinces in Pakistan.
DT: What’s in store for Insignia for this summer?
Huzaifa: Well, you’ll have to visit our stores to find out! Seriously speaking, however, Insignia’s summer collection has incorporated all the latest fashion and design trends. We selected our summer portfolio keeping in mind local tastes, as well as what design aspects are being forecast internationally for the summer season. The collection will include an excellent variety of premium leather bags, stilettos, flats, and wedges.
DT: Do you plan to incorporate menswear in Insignia in the near future?
Huzaifa: In the near future, no, there is no plan. Insignia was conceived of as a women’s footwear brand, and for now, we’d like to continue our focus on this market segment.
DT: What do you feel about all the other labels related to footwear and accessories in Pakistan?
Huzaifa: Honestly, I think this is a growing and developing market segment. I think most of the market players are performing well in their respective target markets.
DT: Tell us a bit about the creative process involved in creating footwear and accessories by Insignia?
Huzaifa: As I mentioned, we take great pride at Insignia of the fact that our designs are in line with the latest international trends. I should add that this is no easy process. Our design teams scour fashion and footwear media; they do extensive research on colours, designs, materials, embellishments. At the same time, it’s essential that our designs also meet the requirements of local taste. The final footwear collections are created keeping in mind both international trends, as well as local flavor.