An entrepreneur passionate about the arts, design and community, Raaja Nemani founded BucketFeet in 2011 and serves as the company’s Chief Executive Officer. BucketFeet is a Chicagobased ecommerce and retail company that collaborates with artists from around the world to create artistdesigned footwear.
Raaja graduated from Northwestern University in 2004 and worked in finance and private equity for four years until he left to fulfill a lifelong dream to backpack around the world. While traveling in Argentina, Raaja met future BucketFeet cofounder Aaron Firestein, who was selling handdesigned shoes to travelers. Inspired by the amazing response to these shoes, Raaja saw the potential to create an innovative fashion platform and celebrate artists from all over the world. Bucketfeet was born out of this vision.
Raaja has helped build an artist network of over 20,000 artists from around the world, with shoes now selling in more than 25 countries, as well as at leading retailer locations such as Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor and Bloomingdale’s. His love of design and community is infused in every element of BucketFeet from its mission and its retail studios to the shoes themselves. Raaja aims to connect people through art and provide people with original footwear that not only stands out, but tells a story.
Growing from its retail storefront in Chicago, BucketFeet will expand to at least eight brick and mortar stores in 2015, including four locations in Asia. BucketFeet’s stores, called studios, feature different artists’ work each month, and are meant to create a fun and aspirational experience to its visitors. In early 2015, the startup announced a $7.5 million Series A funding, bringing its fundraising total to $13.3 million in the four years since launch.