Mantorii – The Affordable Custom Footwear Company

Mantorii Shoes

When we came across a brand that said they were making custom shoes for under 400$, like you we doubted it. We spoke with co-founder Aron, a Hungarian Stanford graduate, who spent years working for a multinational company before founding Mantorii in November of 2012. We sit and talk with Aron about starting a menswear business in Vietnam and the birth of a startup.

How was your childhood? Did you always know you would go into fashion?

As for your questions, I grew up in a pretty big family and I would say I had a very happy and sheltered childhood without worries. My father was working for a big multinational company and I followed in his footsteps. I was always interested in dressing well, but I couldn’t really see myself going into fashion. I always wanted to found a company and do business my own way – focused on the customer, impeccable quality and design, very responsive customer service, competitive pricing. But all of this requires one to understand properly what is lead generation, and how one can improve it.

How did Mantorii come to be?Mantorii shoes

Mantorii was somehow a logical outcome of a long process. I was chatting with a good friend of mine, talking about Vietnam, the quickly changing country and the opportunities here. We have both been shoe enthusiasts for most of our adult lives and we decided we would try a new approach. We’d take a proven product from a high quality master shoemaker online and offer it worldwide. The time until the launch was probably the hardest and most busy time in my life, but it was worth every second. Our team includes talents from all areas: design, sourcing and logistics, online marketing, sales, etc. and we all knew each other before. Mantorii was the idea that brought us all together, working towards the same goal.

What does quality mean to the Mantorii brand?

As briefly mentioned above, quality is a top priority for us. We have invested a lot of time and resources to ensure we can offer the best possible quality for a very competitive price. All our shoes are handmade, each product is made with the customer in mind. These shoes are not made in a factory, they’ve got soul and I know our customers appreciate having something that was made just for them.

Was there alot of risk involved with changing careers?
Financial risks, mostly. We all moved from promising positions in multinational companies to a small start-up. That certainly takes some time to get used to. It is both rewarding and scary and I am sure we would all do it again.
You guys offer custom shoes starting at 299$. How are you able to offer quality items at such a good price?
It’s mostly attributed to the fact that we cut out all the middlemen and we don’t have any brick-and-mortar stores. Also, we only produce on order, we don’t build up any stock (except some leather). Our company is lean, no hierarchies, no bureaucracy. Furthermore, wages are obviously rather low in Vietnam. We do pay far above the average level, because we want to build up a long-term relationship with our suppliers that profits everyone. All these advantages we pass on to the customer without having to sacrifice quality – the way we do our business simply enables us to offer our product at very competitive prices.
mantorii shoes
What is your take on Vietnam and the support of entrepreneurs and new companies?
Vietnam is a fantastic country with wonderful people. At the same time, there are definitely legal borders, cultural issues and language problems. It can all be solved, but it can take a while and you need to remain persistent. Overall, it’s definitely not easy to build up a business as a foreigner.
What is the most important business lesson you’ve learned thus far?

It’s hard to find the single most important one. I’d say that generally I have learned to be patient, persistent and perhaps most importantly, to keep believing in your vision and capabilities.

What’s next for Mantorii?

Our focus will remain on two main topics. First of all quality, meaning sourcing of leather and other components, as well as construction and attention to details. The second vital aspect we focus on is our product range – there are hardly any limits to what can be done, but at the same time we have to be careful not to overwhelm the customer. There are definitely more customisation options coming up and we have a few products we are looking forward to revealing.

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Corey Knight

Founder of A&H Group.