- Niera Shoes has got you covered
There is an old French saying: Il faut souffrir pour être belle which roughly translates to “beauty is pain”. Well, Niera Shoes has taken it upon themselves to ensure that this saying is redundant. Their shoes are the epitome of comfort; custom made to hug your feet and frame your legs, they put your health and comfort while still allowing you to rock some killer shoes.
Brunch had a chat with Niera Shoes Founder Helanka de Silva who told us all there is to know about the brand.
What inspired you to start Niera?
The name Niera came from a combination of my name, and my wife’s name – Gimhani Wadugearachchi. NImesh + ERAndathi taken together gave us NIERA, so that’s what we went with.
It was my father who inspired me to venture into this industry and actually, our family has been involved in the shoe business for more than 30 years now. We also own several outlets islandwide, so this was a natural step for me.
With our background in shoes, my wife and I thought that we ought to catch up with the newest trends in order to elevate our brand. So we ventured into the world of online shopping. It has become one of the most well known and the easiest way for people to shop for anything, especially shoes.
With Niera, we wanted to cater to everyone with a busy lifestyle and have our shoes available at just a click away.
Since you’re a handmade brand, what is the process behind making shoes?
First, shoes are all about the quality! And we, at Niera, make it our responsibility to give the best quality of footwear for our customers while making sure that they are truly comfortable as well.
Second, all of our resources are 95% imported in order to give out the best quality products. Most importantly, we personally check the choices of our customers and create footwear according to what they desire. Simply said, we make any kind of shoes that customers describe to us; whatever your dream shoe may be, we can make it happen.
Do you design shoes and where does your inspiration for the designs come from?
It’s my wife that mostly creates new designs; she keeps up with whatever the hottest trend is at the moment, and recreates it, adding her own touch to it. The design is then sketched and given to our designers who decide what kind of colours and embellishments it should have. We then create a sample and advertise it on our Instagram and Facebook pages.
Do you offer customisable options?
We customise designs. One of the privileges we give our customers is that we let them design what they desire and we create them according to the size of their feet, preferred height of the heels, and so on. We especially cater to wedding footwear. Women who have wide feet and experience difficulty in finding their shoe size for example (size 42-46) have the benefit of contacting us and manufacturing their choice of shoes according to their respective sizes and fit.
What are some challenges you had to face with Niera?
The biggest challenge has been importing materials with the restrictions from the local authorities. We also experienced a serious staff shortage with the pandemic, so orders took some time to be made and sent out, which was an obstacle we had to overcome with the patience of our customers.
How has business been since the pandemic?
We saw a 40% increase in sales as most of the offline customers turned into online customers for shoes since no one wanted to take a chance by going out shopping and other purchases.
Do you have any plans for the future?
At the moment, we are already exporting to the Maldives and Australia. Therefore, we are planning to expand it further to more countries with our new website coming up, offering much more features and a more user-friendly experience for our customers.