The Lady Boss at luxury men’s shoe franchise Vincitore Shoes not only runs the business but also designs the footwear herself
Most people watching a movie have their rapt attention on the plot and action. Nita Chauhan probably has her mind on the shoes that the actors are wearing.
As the owner and founder of Vincitore, shoes are her business. It has been in her blood since her father, RC Kishin, founded Euro Shoe Shop decades ago; and this family enterprise is where Nita’s experience in retail began at the tender age of 18. Nita learned all about the business of selling shoes as well as design. She also took shoe design classes on her own during her spare time, and has learned about all the technicalities of what it takes to make a shoe.
With over 30 years of retail experience under her belt the passionate Singaporean started her own business in 2015. Under her Vincitore Shoes label, Nita designs luxury shoes for men exclusively. The shoes are designed in Singapore, then handcrafted and manufactured in Italy, before being shipped back to Singapore for retail.
Today, 49-year-old Nita is exploring shoe and slipper designs for more regular, lifestyle purposes. You’ll find Vincitore Shoes at Millenial Walk, Mandarin Gallery, as well as the soon-to-reopen Raffles Hotel Singapore.
A Chat with Nita Chauhan – owner, founder and designer, Vincitore Shoes
Starting and owning a business is tough in itself. Staying relevant for decades and decades is nothing short of a feat. What factors do you attribute to your business’ longevity in such a competitive market?
Knowledge is power. Retail has always been seen as a job for the lesser educated, however it’s different for me. It’s a science. In order to get on top of it, I decided to master it by doing an MBA in Retail. I put myself out there with the honchos of the retail world and saw where I stood. To my surprise… I did well. My experience was my knowledge.
What are the 3 types of shoes that a man has to have in his wardrobe?
Types – Formal, Casuals, Weekend
Styles – Formals:
Many men do not know how to buy shoes for themselves. How do men understand their own feet and accept their anatomies before selecting the “right” shoes?
Very true – many men do not know they are flat footed or have fallen arches. Many of our men do not pay attention to their feet. Buying well-fitted shoes is essential to a man’s overall sense of wellbeing.
Shoes should be treated like good wine. How do you store shoes, and what do you do after a soaking in the rain – especially good leather?
Firstly, never wear the same shoes daily. Rotate your shoes.
Use shoe trees regularly, cedar wood ones.
Balm your shoes weekly.
When your shoes get wet, tilt them near the back of the refrigerator so that the warm air can dry the leather. The following day, balm the leather and apply scotch guard.
Vincitore Shoes caters mainly to the Asian man. Who are your largest customers and clients, and what types of shoe styles do they prefer?
Asian men have their feet cut out differently, they are broad and short. This means that we need to design shoes that make their feet look good. Having broad feet does not mean you need to wear ugly looking shoes.
What materials or material combinations do you like to work with when designing your shoes?
I love working with calf and suede, and various textures. I feel men’s shoes just do not have enough variety. Men, too, need to be a little more adventurous.
How do you relax after a hard day at work and what Singapore food do you enjoy?
I enjoy chilling with my boys. We usually stroll by the beach, and have breakfast somewhere nice on a Sunday morning or simply have a pizza party at home. Being a vegetarian, I love our local food anytime.
If a young student wants to design shoes and start a shoe business in Singapore what advice would you give?
My advice will always be to learn the ropes. Know what you are getting into and make sure you have explored all areas before you decide to dive in. Most importantly is your self-check – do you have what it takes to take you through?