Tarun Oblum is a young entrepreneur from the city who owns Oblum, the handcrafted luxury footwear. The man considers himself to be a craftsman more than a shoe designer as he loves making a well-designed shoe and none of his designs are ‘just a product’ for him.
The young designer started off his journey as the sole craftsman who handcrafted small leather goods by himself in his workshop and sold them to friends and family for five months. And, it was all before he started shoemaking. Sharing his journey and the venture, Tarun throws some light on a few main chapters of his career.
Opportunities & inspiration
Tarun says that his mother has been the inspiration in his life since childhood — an artist in her own right. “I chose to study product design and development in footwear as by the time I had finished my degree in Bengaluru, I had stockpiled a significant number of shoes,” Tarun shares.
He spent all his time following the latest sneaker trends and considers himself lucky to be sent to Milan for a short diploma in footwear design, It was to see if he had a future in design and making or not.
About the idea
Though he has always had fascination for shoes, he did not foresee his future as a shoemaker or designer while growing up. While studying footwear in Milan, he, surprisingly, designed a women’s collection for his final portfolio. “This got me into London where I spent my first year designing women’s footwear but my calling came in making classic men’s footwear. The tools, the history, the craft, my tutors, London and the great St Jermyn Street inspired me to stick to traditional shoemaking and leather craft,” he adds.
And, during his final year at college, the designer decided to start OBLUM and begin his own venture.
The journey so far
Be it any career, the highs and lows are common and this has been part of Tarun’s venture as well. Tarun shares that there have been ups and downs in the business — while highs are inspiring, the lows give him stories to tell in the future.
Talking about the scenario of shoemaking in India, he says, “It is a dying art here and one of the main reasons is tanneries as they only want to work with big factories and the right tools are impossible to find.” He has also faced this situation during the initial stages of his career but says he has nothing to complaint about.
At present, his main focus is to standardise the process and stabilise the management. The venture has now decided to launch a range of handcrafted accessories and bespoke footwear for women.