Mohamad Rahim Mottaghi Iravani (1920-2006) started his shoe business by purchasing two stores in Khayam Street near the Grand Bazaar in Tehran on 1951. He chose Standard Company as the company name and registered the name officially. Iravani started his work with two Galesh production machines which was the foundation of shoe industry in the Middle East.
Then he was able to add more stores by 1961. In the next decade the growth continued by vertical and horizontal integration in the supply chain. Melli Industrial Group consisting the new companies were stablished to produce, distribute and sell shoes and its parts. The group enjoyed a fast growing rate which turned it to the biggest producer of machine made shoes in the Middle East. Its products were sold not only in Iran but also in many regions of the world.
Iran was one of the Middle East’s fastest growing countries by that time and Melli Shoe co. of Tehran was playing a leading role in that process. Melli Shoe co. who was producing 26,000 pairs of all types of footwear including leather, rubber, canvas and plastic shoes a day, also ran a network of 200 retail footwear shops spread throughout the country. 56 shops were in Tehran, the capital. Majority of stores were placed strategically on busy streets to give maximum coverage. Melli shops were easily distinguished by a large colored neon sign depicting the company’s well-known trademark which is an elephant. Signs included moving lights, an indication to everyone that Melli was not standing still and it is always on the move. The best seller model was a Grecian type sandal with a molded single-piece plastic cross-over style upper attached to a micro-cellular sole.
Leather was boughr locally – some three million square feet a year for uppers- ingredients for plastic compounds came from ICI and rubber from Shell. Although Melli Shoe had a target of 40,000 pairs a day, it was seeking for business opportunities in machinery and materials industries as well.
Melli’s labor force was about 2000. Of those some 1,300 were laborers in the factory and 400 were salesman. 15 European experts were working in the organization, mainly on the technical side of the factory, but also in administration, purchasing and sales.
Later, during Iran-Iraq war and recently due to sanctions, National Industry Group got serious issues and thus was not able to maintain its position in the industry as before.
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