Thursday, July 25, 2024
Beauty & FashionLifestyle

The Story of Ahmed Dulla

You probably know about Dulla Shoes, a well-known brand praised for its timeless style and exceptional durability. But are you familiar with the legacy of Dulla footwear? Genuine passion in the Nepalese business scene can be rare, but Ahmed Dulla is an exception. He is the visionary behind Dulla Shoes. Dulla Shoes began its journey on April 1, 2011. In just six years, it has become a respected and recognizable name in the footwear industry, especially in the bustling city of Kathmandu. The inspiring story of Ahmed Dulla highlights the importance of fearlessly and patiently pursuing one’s passions.

Background

The story of Ahmed Dulla begins on August 26, 1987. Being quite the mischievous youngster, he was enrolled in St. Augustine’s School Kalimpong, India to channel his energy in a positive direction. However, he didn’t particularly shine in academics. Instead, his heart belonged to basketball, and he developed a fascination with basketball shoes from a young age.

Upon completing high school, Dulla found himself without a clear direction, with his most significant aspiration being to become a taxi driver. During a casual Google search on footwear technology, his passion for basketball shoes led him to the Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) in India. At FDDI, he immersed himself in the intricacies of the footwear industry, delving into the design process and mastering knowledge about materials. This newfound expertise would ultimately pave the way for him to establish his footwear brand.

The Beginning of The Journey

Although Dulla had firmly resolved to pursue a career in shoe design, convincing his parents was no small feat. The idea of a career in shoe design carried a significant social stigma, with prevalent perceptions suggesting that shoemaking was a profession reserved for lower castes. These societal biases cast doubt on Dulla’s chosen path. However, he remained resolute and expressed his aspirations to his parents.

Initially met with resistance, Dulla’s father, a restaurateur by trade, eventually came to accept his son’s decision. The three years Dulla spent at Noida College of Footwear Technology became some of his life’s most enriching and formative days. After three years of dedicated commitment, including sorting, cutting, stitching, designing, cleaning, and coursework, Dulla successfully completed his course. 

Founding The Company

After completing his diploma, Ahmed sought practical experience through an internship in Mumbai. However, this proved challenging, leading him to consider launching his own company. Here is where the story of Ahmed Dulla takes a turn.

In 2012, armed with a modest NPR 2,00,000 loan from his father, Ahmed founded “Dulla Shoes.” As he entered the market, he faced several obstacles. Initially targeting youth, especially students, he tailored his products for young women, assuming they were more fashion-conscious. Yet, pricing posed a significant challenge, as his products proved unaffordable for the intended audience.

However, the market had different ideas. Instead of students, Dulla Shoes gained popularity among corporate and working women. Ahmed realized that students often relied on family allowances and lacked purchasing power. In contrast, working women and professionals had the means to buy quality footwear that matched their fashion preferences. Recognizing this shift, Dulla Shoes strategically pivoted toward exclusively serving women. They began crafting unique designer shoes tailored to women’s tastes and needs.

Dulla Women Shoes

The Growth

After establishing his business and pinpointing his target market, Ahmed Dulla noticed a substantial following on his Facebook page. Unlike many others, his followers were highly engaged and responsive. This motivated him to expand beyond selling just one or two pairs of shoes, leading him to the idea of limited-edition footwear.

Leveraging his Facebook page, Ahmed introduced a unique design with only a few hundred pairs of shoes available for sale. This sense of exclusivity, coupled with the positive impression Dulla had already made, garnered immediate attention. Hundreds of Facebook followers inquired about the limited edition shoes, placed pre-orders, and referred numerous potential customers. Dulla Shoes rapidly gained fame and became a prominent brand, competing successfully with other brands in Nepal.

From Dulla Shoes to The Factory Team

In an interview with The Kathmandu Post, Ahmed Dulla cited differences with investors as the reason behind his departure from Dulla Shoes—a decision he characterizes as a “difficult one.”

Following his exit from Dulla Shoes, Ahmed Dulla embarked on a new venture, founding his independent shoe company, “The Factory Team,” with the same vision and mission as his previous brand. Under this banner, Ahmed Dulla initiated the expansion of his business. He established retail outlets for ‘The Factory Team’ in various locations across Nepal. Dulla consistently releases footwear collections for both men and women, each design being limited to just one hundred pairs.

TFT Pokhara Store

The Factory Team Now

Today, Ahmed operates 8 stores in Nepal and India with plans to expand even more. What was once a NPR 2,00,000/- enterprise has now grown tenfold. His annual turnover has reached NPR 2,00,00,000/-.

Additionally, Ahmed Dulla, having achieved entrepreneurial success, regularly travels across the country, imparting inspiration to students through his stories, ideas, and insights on taking risks. His guest lectures have become highly sought-after engagements by various educational institutions in Nepal.

Luzon Technologies

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