When it comes to sneakers, they are more than just sports footwear. They have become a cultural phenomenon that blends fashion, self-expression, and investment. Sneakerheads hold owning a pair of exclusive sneakers in high regard, considering it akin to owning the rarest gems in the world. The youth of India is fervently adopting this subculture, especially in the bustling metropolitan hubs of Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore. Even Kerala, a state emerging as a cultural hub, is not far behind. In this sneaker revolution in the state, LaceupIndia is leading the way.
Vishnu Unni, the founder of LaceupIndia, and his co-founder Janice Rose are at the forefront of the rising sneaker revolution in Kerala. With a combined passion for sneakers, they started LaceupIndia to pursue their dream. They were born and raised in Kuwait, and after graduating in 2014, they moved to Kochi to pursue their Bachelor’s degrees. Vishnu completed his B.com at Bharat Mata College and started working in sales and marketing. He currently handles LaceUpIndia. Janice completed her B.Tech in IT from Rajagiri Engineering College and works as a software Engineer in Kuwait while managing the business and travelling to Kochi frequently.
Janice stated, “Collecting sneakers has been a genuine passion for us, inspiring us to create a legacy with a brand that shares this love with fellow enthusiasts. For us, sneakers are more than just shoes; they’re a way of life, a culture, and a passion. As kids, we’d gaze at sneakers in stores, dreaming of owning every pair. Over time, our collection grew, embarking us on a mission to introduce this sneaker culture to our home state in India, to offer the best and most sought-after kicks and also to represent our state everywhere we go proudly.”
Vishnu developed a love for basketball at the age of 10, which sparked his interest in sneakers. Each year, he would show off his new basketball shoes to his teammates. Janice, on the other hand, has always been fascinated with fashion and sneakers. Since the age of 12, she has enjoyed wearing Converse Chuck Taylors with every outfit. Now, she even pairs her sneakers with her lehengas.
On how LaceupIndia Started
Speaking about what prompted them to start LaceupIndia, Janice shared, “Michael Jordan, the basketball legend, revolutionized the sneaker industry with his line of sneakers, and ever since then, the rise of sneakers in fashion and the significance of sneakers started booming. We personally faced struggles getting our hands on some of the rare limited-edition, and most sought-after sneakers for ourselves in India, and finding these pairs for a fair price was a difficult task. The newest pairs of Air Jordans or Yeezys would get sold out the very second it was released, quicker than you could even enter your card details. Also, it’s easy to end up in scams and end up buying fakes or first copies. The Hype sneaker collection is released in very limited stock by the sneaker brands, creating scarcity and hence increasing customer demand.
As we’ve always been passionate about sneakers, we used the lockdown during COVID-19 to take our sneaker industry research skills to the next level and took a step forward to make it easier to find these 100% authentic, exclusive kicks in India. Initially, we started out as a page sharing news on sneaker release dates, sneaker history, and insights into the sneaker world. As our personal collection started to grow, soon after, we slowly started selling these sneakers at the best price in the market as compared to other Resellers at the time because it’s not just a business for us; it’s for the love for the culture. That’s how LaceupIndia was born.”
Janice and Bishnu believe that Kerala is slowly catching up to the northern states in the sneaker game, largely due to the influence of celebrities like Dulquer Salmaan. The actor is often seen wearing hype limited edition sneakers, such as the Marina Blue Jordan 1. She further stated that people in Kerala have also started to become increasingly brand-conscious, preferring popular sneaker brands like Nike, Adidas, and New Balance, as well as streetwear brands. Streetwear fashion, hip-hop, and sneaker culture go hand in hand, and there is massive potential for these trends in Kerala.
Both Janice and Vishnu were determined to spread their love for sneakers to the people of Kerala. The thrill of acquiring limited-edition releases, tracking down rare finds, and celebrating the art and culture of sneakers was a huge part of their lifestyle, and they are passionate about sharing their knowledge with the city they love, Kochi. They firmly believe that Kerala has the potential to become a fashion hub, and they are excited to be part of this journey. Although they are based in Cochin, they have successfully shipped their products all over India and even received orders from North India.
On the kind of Sneakers they deal with
Did you know that LaceupIndia is the first store in Kerala to introduce a 100% limited-edited hype sneaker collection? LaceupIndia deals with a highly selective and authentic collection of sneakers, including limited edition and popular brands such as Air Jordan 1, Yeezys, Nike Dunks, and New Balances, along with classic and high-end designer styles. The collection varies based on availability, trends, and customer demand. They also deal in collectables and international streetwear brands such as Essentials, Off-White, Antisocial, Stussy, and Drew. The prices of these products depend on factors such as the brand, model, colour, rarity, size, and demand, with prices starting from INR 8,000 and going up to lakhs. One of their biggest sales was the Louis Vuitton trainers.
Also, Check out: Wldwst: Kerala’s First Streetwear Brand
On why Trust is important in this line of business
Vishnu and Janice’s years of experience in finding the perfect pair of sneakers, gaining knowledge about sneaker authenticity, and distinguishing between a fake and a genuine one have instilled in them a high level of confidence in their ability to locate the right sneakers. Their deep understanding of sneakers in various ways is the reason why their brand can be relied upon with utmost confidence.
“Growing up in a country with popular international sneaker stores like Footlocker, we became familiar with how an original sneaker should look. This knowledge helps us to ensure that all the sneakers we sell are genuine. In the sneaker industry, trust and legitimacy are earned through referrals, knowledge, and a good reputation. Unlike some big resellers in India that rely on celebrity endorsements, we make no false promises and provide personal customer service to address any issues.
We have quickly become a trusted source for true sneaker enthusiasts because of our commitment to genuine products and reliable service. Our community of sneaker lovers appreciates our fair prices and hassle-free delivery. We take pride in being more than just a reselling brand; we’re a community of sneaker enthusiasts who are happy to assist newcomers in finding the right pair and answering any questions they may have. Our satisfied customers speak for us in our reference posts, and we have a loyal customer base from all around India who trust us with their purchases,” Janice mentioned.
On the Challenges they face
Metropolitan cities and states such as Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore have a well-established sneaker culture with a strong community that is actively involved in building and nurturing it. This has created numerous opportunities for growth and development in this industry. However, the sneaker culture in Kerala is still in its nascent stage. Although there is a market, it is a challenge to be at the forefront of building a culture.
Janice stated that growing this kind of sneaker culture in Kerala is quite challenging as there needs to be more brand awareness. Despite its origins dating back to the 1980s in the U.S., sneaker culture in India is still a new concept and a budding marketplace, which started flourishing only in 2020. They are now endeavouring to change this with the support of our fellow sneaker enthusiasts.
On how you can place an Order with LaceupIndia
“Placing an order with Laceupindia is as simple as it can be,” says Janice. To purchase a sneaker from @laceupindia, interested buyers can send a DM to the brand’s Instagram handle. The message should include the name or picture of the desired sneaker. Alternatively, customers can browse through the brand’s feed posts and story highlights to check out the available options. In case of confusion or too many options, @laceupindia provides assistance in choosing the best sneaker based on the customer’s style and budget. The brand also plans to launch its website soon.
LaceupIndia’s primary focus is to create awareness about sneaker culture by hosting exciting sneaker events. The objective is to spread more knowledge and insights about sneakers by showcasing rare limited-edition collections. They also aim to bring together sneakerheads, collectors, enthusiasts, and anyone interested in sneakers under one roof. This will help to step up Kerala’s fashion industry.
Janice shared, “Kerala is yet to host such sneaker events, making networking in this field uncommon. We aim to change this narrative and build a legacy of passion and style. This is not just about shoes; it’s also about building a legacy of passion and style and being part of something extraordinary.”