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  Life   More Features  02 Nov 2017  Of iconic footprints

Of iconic footprints

THE ASIAN AGE. | SWATI SHARMA
Published : Nov 2, 2017, 5:47 am IST
Updated : Nov 2, 2017, 5:47 am IST

Hollywood’s business has been built with strong values and rock solid integrity.

Ismail and Asif Ajani
 Ismail and Asif Ajani

A 71-year-old footwear brand is still thriving owing to its great customer service and excellent product quality. IT is only set to grow and evolve further with the changing times.

Hollywood Footwear owes much of its success to its history, particularly the ethics and vision of Jumnabhai Ajani and his son Sherali J. Ajani. The footwear house would not have been so iconic if it wasn’t for the quality, affordability and care — values that the Hyderabad-based brand still stands by — that go into making the footwear. And while the founder of Hollywood Footwear, Jumnabhai, may have maintained a low profile during his time, his grandsons, Ismail and Asif Ajani reveal what accounts for the legendary footwear house’s lasting success.

 

“Our grandfather and father taught us about the ethics of business. Being respectful to customers and to provide the best at affordable rates. They have always told us that never compromise on quality. I think this basic rule has made the brand Hollywood what it is today,” says Ismail, who now handles the business along with his brother Asif.

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From the time they opened a small shop near Grand Hotel, Abids, in 1946 till the 1970s when they moved to a 700 sq. ft. showroom on Abids Main Road and even now, Hollywood continues to be one of the most recognisable  footwear brands. Sharing a recent nostalgic episode, Ismail says, “One of our customers came up to the store and handed us a bill of `16 and 10 annas, with a sales tax of 8 and a half annas, generated in the year 1949 by our grandfather. The bill involved a lot of nostalgia as we saw our grandfather’s writing after many years. We thanked the customer and have kept the bill with us.”

 

“In 1972, after completing my intermediate, and without going for higher studies, I. along with my brother, started helping father in his business. During those days, there were not many patterns in shoes and people preferred comfort wear. The trend in footwear started changing from the year 1990, when people started asking for new designs, colours and patterns; women in particular started asking about heels,” shares Asif.

With the changing times, the challenge was then to become a brand that evolved consistently. “The other challenges were developing trust, providing better quality and customer satisfaction and to upgrade according to changing trends 1990 onwards,” says Ismail and Asif adds, “Further challenges were that during festivals and wedding seasons, when the demand was more and people thronged the store last minute, we had to keep our shop open for long hours into the night.” However, as entrepreneurs, it doesn’t matter what the time of the day it is.

 

All successful business have one thing in common — happy customers! Similarly for Hollywood, the customer has always driven their business model and continues to be their centre of attention. “The best thing we hear is when people often come to us saying ‘we used to come here with our parents as children, now we are coming here with our children and grandchildren’. People associate us with their families and often invite us for their family functions, weddings and events. People even come from far off places like Pune, Nagpur, Bengaluru, Vizag, Vijayawada, etc.,” shares Ismail.

Hollywood’s business has been built with strong values and rock solid integrity. “The most important aspect is that we get along really well and that energy gets transferred to the employees and associates,” says Asif. The brothers also reveal that since they work for long hours on end, the family doesn’t get to spend enough time with them. “We consider our family as our support system as without it we would have never been this successful,” they add.

 

Tags: footwear, hollywood footwear