A woman with good shoes is never ugly. – Coco Chanel
I have a confession to make.
My name is Ritu, and I am a shoe-o-holic. I own too many of them and I can never have enough of them! So it’s no wonder that I started a shoe brand, right?
However, growing up I didn’t always know that my soul belonged solely to soles!
Sure, I loved fashion and believed in not only wearing a great outfit, but dressing up my feet, but didn’t know what I could do in this field with a Business degree. So I started working in branding for a tea company. It was a great role, and I learnt a lot, and I enjoyed being financially independent. But something was missing.
Oh I forgot to mention my dad had a wholesale footwear business, and after some time he insisted I join him. I was reluctant to work in the family business, but I thought why not give it a try? I was surprised at how much I enjoyed working in the family business – I was surrounded by shoes and the bonus was that I got to travel the world to procure them!
I was truly enjoying what I was doing, until I was walking around at Canton Fair in China, one of the biggest wholesale fair in the world, and a supplier tried to lure me to his stall with shoes made with genuine ‘cow’ leather, ‘pig’ leather etc.
Just like a non-vegetarian doesn’t realize that the meat on his plate is actually an animal, I didn’t realize that the fancy shoes I was wearing were made out of an actual, dead animal’s skin! This was deeply disturbing to me.
I was in a great moral dilemma when this realization dawned on me. Sure, I enjoyed fashion, but I was also proud of being a vegetarian and an animal lover. So was I living a lie all my life? Could I call myself a vegetarian if I wore leather? Would I have to give up wearing great pair of shoes now? Did loving animals meant the death of my style?
Shoes were not only a symbol of style for me, they were also a source of comfort and confidence for me. During this period, due to a health condition, I had drastically gained weight. I couldn’t recognize myself in the mirror, and day by day it became clear that the old me was gone, and I had to learn to accept the new me. When clothes failed me, my shoes gave me the confidence to carry on. They held me, and carried me, and didn’t judge me about my weight. I was struggling with self-confidence, but I knew I could instantly transform any outfit with a great pair of shoes! As Coco Chanel rightly said, “A woman with good shoes is never ugly”.
So I knew I had to do something. I didn’t want to compromise on my style, nor compromise on my ethics. And I was sure there were many more like me, that believed that we don’t need to be cruel to animals to be stylish.
Hence, Senso was born – India’s first cruelty-free footwear brand. Our mission is to provide our customers with different footwear options that are not only stylish, but comfortable too – and saving animals at the same time! All our products, be it for women or men, are handcrafted with love and compassion.
I created the brand Senso Vegetarian Shoes, back in 2012, in the hope to educate people about animal friendly fashionable footwear & to show them that you do not have to give up on quality, style or comfort by giving up leather footwear. You can get equally stylish vegan footwear if not better.
The word “Senso” is coined out of sensitivity towards animals. Staying true to our brand philosophy, all our footwear, be it for ladies or men, is handcrafted with love & compassion. We put our heart and soul into every design we make. It is about saving animals for us! Every life matters.