Shut Out by the Price Point of Popular Sneakers, Akshar Bonu Created The Custom Movement and Stepped in, Holding the Door Open for Everyone

  • Updated
Akshar Bonu

After arriving in the US for college, Akshar Bonu discovered that sneakers, something he had loved his entire life, had an entirely different culture around them. While kids on campus were buying limited-edition kicks for insane amounts of money, Akshar Bonu quite literally could not afford to take part in the excitement.

Growing up in the Philippines and attending a school with a strict uniform policy, Akshar didn't have much room to showcase his personal style, but with the entrepreneurial spirit he's always had, he found a loophole: sneakers. His school didn't regulate footwear, so his love affair with self-expression through footwear began at an early age.

Bringing the same creative problem-solving that he cultivated as a child when Akshar felt excluded from the sneaker movement in college, he decided to build his own entryway: The Custom Movement.

The Sneaker Industry Needed a Disruption

Feeling as though finances should never be a barrier to self-expression, Akshar started The Custom Movement, an online marketplace allowing sneaker-lovers and creatives to find one another and build the perfect sneakers. The Custom Movement is more than a custom sneaker company; it's a global movement that reinvigorates art, champions individuality, and gives artists the space to create while making money.

Though there are some brands that allow customization on colors or even design, these customizations are limited to what machines can do. The Custom Movement allows for limitless customization on a global scale. There is no limit to the number of countries, artists, or styles represented on the platform; it's truly a global solution that all started with one man's desire to remove a barrier for consumers and artists to democratize the sneaker industry.

Standing Out from the Crowd

If it's not already clear, making a statement and standing out as an individual has always been important to Akshar, but The Custom Movement created a space where an unlimited number of people can stand out, express themselves, and buy and sell art. Though the platform's success has already become clear, there are a few reasons that The Custom Movement has such a great impact: diversity, radical customization, and the support of independent artists.

One of Akshar's favorite parts of the platform is that any artist from anywhere in the world can start selling their art on the platform. An 18-year-old in Florida has the same opportunity as a 30-year-old in Dubai, though their offerings might greatly vary. Instead of limiting sneaker design only to those who got hired by large companies, The Custom Movement democratizes design, supporting the true meaning of art and empowering global creativity.

Because of the radical support of artists and their designs, The Custom Movement has revolutionized the sneaker industry by dramatically increasing consumer choice for expression through their footwear. The world needs more art, not less, and creatives all over the world need a way to show the importance of their craft.

Creators Need a Platform

Standing up to any well-established industry is difficult, and historically, individual creators haven't been able to compete against large players. The Custom Movement is the answer to a problem that spans far beyond the sneaker industry. By bringing artists together on one platform, Akshar Bonu propelled a movement that has changed the industry: just ask the million plus social media followers The Custom Movement has across platforms, their millions of users around the world or their numerous celebrity collaborations.

So widespread has been the growth of customizing that even Disney released a movie about a sneaker customizer earlier this year called Sneakerella.

In recognition of his work, Akshar was honored as one of the Forbes 30 Under 30 in Retail & E-Commerce, was admitted to Y Combinator's prestigious program for elite companies worth cumulatively over 400 billion dollars, and most recently received the "Entrepreneur of the Year" Indian Achievers' Award and "Business Leader of the Year" Award by the International Achievements Research Center.

Art deserves to have a space to live, and while many large companies have taken up that space instead, The Custom Movement has taken it back. Though it started as a custom sneaker marketplace, TCM is branching out into various product offerings, and we can't wait to see how it continues to allow independent artists to transform industries all over the world.

This article was first published on June 18, 2022
READ MORE