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Devika Srimal Bapna | Founder & CEO of KANABIS

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Tell us about yourself, your background and what you do currently

I started my career at Ernst & Young, London and simultaneously qualified as a Chartered Accountant. I always had an entrepreneurial itch since I was little and found my calling when I moved back to Delhi and identified a gap in the footwear industry. After a brief stint at Deloitte, I started KANABIS– a first of its kind brand for fashionable, high quality and PETA approved Vegan footwear for women. KANABIS is available at select stores, exhibitions/trunk shows and online at www.kanabis.in and all leading marketplaces. I am a graduate from Uni. Of Warwick, UK and MBA from Duke University, USA. I am also a teacher at Young Entrepreneurs Academy and mentor at StartupEd.

When I am not selling shoes, I enjoy travelling, practicing dance (Bharatanatyam) or playing with dogs J

Tell us about any current projects or initiatives you wish to promote

As an animal lover and PETA volunteer, I gave up leather few years ago and had a tough time finding good non-leather shoes that were stylish, good quality and affordable. I noticed the unstructured footwear industry in India- we either have the non-Indian players that are expensive and mostly do leather shoes or the unorganized/unbranded segment where quality, price, make etc. is questionable. It was almost a light-bulb moment when I thought ‘what the heck, I should start my own brand!’ And KANABIS was born.


KANABIS is a play on the word Cannabis (aka marijuana!) since we use canvas as a core component instead of leather in our shoes and canvas was historically made from hemp that came from cannabis. All our products are made of high quality canvas, fabric and other leather substitutes keeping compassion for animals as a core value of the business. The designs are exclusive and tastefully crafted with a careful mix of fabrics for the right look and comfort. We keep a close eye on the current and upcoming trends in fashion. Each shoe also has a quirky name that tells a story about it. We are available offline at exhibitions/trunk shows and multi brand stores across the country. We are also available online at www.kanabis.in and all leading marketplaces.

What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?

Challenges, you ask? Phew…plenty and counting! I don’t come from a fashion/footwear background. From London to Delhi, finance to fashion, big corporate to a start up- life had taken a 180! Building a team, running a company, learning to sell, promoting and marketing a consumer brand has been exciting, challenging and rife with learnings.

What has been your greatest achievement personally?

Starting KANABIS and receiving such positive response that now we have repeat customers and orders from overseas as well, is very encouraging. And knowing that with each pair of KANABIS, we are helping save an animal’s life is deeply satisfying J

If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?

I toyed with many ideas before I landed on KANABIS. So probably, would have started another venture.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

I am fortunate to be born in a family of high achievers, where dreams and ambitions are supported and one draws inspiration from the other.

I admire a number of entrepreneurs- liked of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk who are great visionaries. From the world of fashion, Stella McCartney for creating a vegan brand.

What does the future hold for you?

Lots of shoes! And along with that success would be sweet! Our aim is to expand our product offering and customer base and build a strong, sustainable, animal friendly brand.







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