If you log on to Matos (.com), you might not find too much at the moment. Since the website launched last week, there are only five basic varieties of men’s shoes. The shoes look beautiful, no doubt. The plimsolls, something we have worn a lot in physical education classes, are stylish and available in hues we would love for more Indian men to experiment with. Even more fabulous are the Captain Jack Boat shoes (we love the denim ones) that you can wear to office, following family dinner and even a crazy late-night party. As for the Candolim Del Mer canvas slip-ons, we can totally imagine them where they belong — on the feet of a hot boy lazing coolly on the sands of Candolim beach in Goa.
But what we love more about this e-commerce venture is that it has a heart behind its business model. For every purchase you make, you directly aid a kid’s education and, hence, ‘matter to someone’, which is how the brand name was coined. “A part of the sales money goes towards buying learning kits for underprivileged kids,” says Matos’ 24 year-old founder, Samay Mehta. “These kits contain a school bag, stationery and textbooks that are relevant to the age-group and the schools they go to.”
Mehta has tied up with two Mahalaxmi-based bal mandirs and an art studio for kids, run by Bandra-based NGO Aseema. They have also partnered with a stationery brand and a publisher to source the kit’s contents.
Talks are currently on to tie up with other schools located in rural areas in Maharashtra and managed by non-governmental organisations. Till now, about 150 kits have been distributed. The inspiration for the model came to Mehta after he chanced upon the American company, Toms, which donates a pair of shoes to a person in need for every pair that it sells to customers. “I was at a family dinner when I realised how all the men at the dinner table were in really boring shoes. Online, we can cater to a big market. Toms was a big inspiration while thinking about the social good I could do with this idea,” says Napean Sea Road-based Mehta, who stumbled upon Toms while getting a degree in marketing and business entrepreneurship from a university in the United States.
Though the website currently has only men’s shoes to offer, you can soon expect more design options for men, shoes for women, and lifestyle products such as bags. Their ‘karma point’ system gets you points for every purchase, which you can then use for cash discount on future purchases. All the products aremade in India, and ensure that no animals were harmed in theprocess.