a pair of shoes?
As a rule of thumb, customisation is always better than standardisation. You are unique. No one is like you; you need things according to your very specific needs and desires. We can easily picture ourselves walking to a tailor and ordering a suit but how many of us have thought of wearing custom-made shoes?
Shoes define a man. It reflects your style and personality. You can tell a lot about the next person by lowering your eyes to the ground. Shoes are a very important part of the attire indeed.
However, finding a perfect pair seems like an ordeal. One might seem good but won't fit; another might have a buckle you wouldn't prefer on an otherwise perfect pair and so on.
Dhanmondi Road #8A (Old #15), the street that leads to Rayer Bazaar, provides an alternative to buying readymade shoes. The street -- narrow and filled with rickshaws at all times -- can become a haven for you.
The shops offer both readymade as well as customised shoes. You can browse through the shelves, and if you like something, you might as well buy it but you also have the option of customising it.
For example, you may come across a shoe you like that does not fit. So, you ask the shopkeeper to make a pair for you. Or, you find the shoes for you to buy but think a particular design on it would make it more worthy. All you have to do is explain it to him.
The shops offer flexibility. Let's say you have seen a shoe in a fashion magazine and fancy wearing it. All you need to do is simply bring the magazine to the shopkeeper and tell him what you want.
It is likely that the shop will be able to make it but if the shape is extremely out of the ordinary, many shops may refuse to do the task as they may not have the tools to make shoes of that different a shape.
What these shops are doing is known as mass customisation in marketing. It's not mass production, nor is it strictly customisation. It is rather customisation for the masses if you will, where management, production and marketing techniques are used to provide immense flexibility in the goods produced to cater to the customers' unique needs.
The quality of the shoes and sandals is quite good. Most of the shoes are made in Bangladesh. Some are from other countries like China but the selling point of the market is geared towards Bangladeshi shoes.
“People come here to buy shoes made in Bangladesh. That's what they are looking for when they come to this market,” one of the shopkeepers said.
Interestingly, this shoe market is not as well-known as other places like Elephant Road.
“Not very many people know about this place, compared to bigger shopping experiences like Elephant Road. However, those who do know about us understand the value we provide, and therefore they always keep coming back,” another shopkeeper said.
You'll find shoes and sandals mostly; sneakers are hard to come by. And, bad news for the ladies -- this market caters to men only.
Going deeper into the street, you will find Rayer Bazaar.
The place is dingy and you will probably think there won't be anything good there. This market basically sells only readymade shoes; you can't “order” shoes. The shops buy shoes in bulk from places such as Gulistan and resell it to you. A few can have their own factories too. There are also shoes from China and Burma.
The market is filled with sandals too, for both men and women. Prices are very cheap, given that you know how to bargain but this shopping centre is not a hub for shoes and sandals. However, given the attractive prices, visiting it will not be a bad idea.
By M H Haider
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed