A Fair Game!
In conversation with Mr Abhishek Bariyar, an exhibitor at the 66th NGF
The 66th National Garment Fair provided a wonderful opportunity for business and networking. Both established and newly launched Brands were given a platform to showcase their Latest Collections. Kashmira Mirza and Amanda D’Souza spoke to Abhishek Bariyar of Ricochet (Vivienne Fashion Apparels Pvt Ltd.) to bring you an Exhibitor’s take on this Fair. Photographs: Vikrant Saple.
The National Garment Fair gives a platform to several clothing manufacturers and traders to not just showcase their wares but also to network and build connections. In this regard, the Apparel team spoke to Abhishek Bariyar of Ricochet to find out his views on trade fairs such as the NGF, industry trends and other market situations.
Speaking about the 66th NGF, he said, “The overall experience of the fair is excellent. This is the first time that my brand is participating in the NGF. I have attended this fair before and never seen such a good response in previous editions of the January fair. I really liked the organisation, but I wish the space allocation was such that similar categories would be clubbed together. This would make it very convenient for the buyers and visitors.”
Talking about the system of GST and its impact on the textile market and his own business, Bariyar expressed, “I have never faced any issue with GST so far. Since my company is newly launched, I have only had to deal with GST; I didn’t experience the older system of taxes. So far, I don’t think there’s any major issue with this system. Of course, every new system has its teething issues and people in India find it hard to adjust to huge changes – and this tax reformation is quite a huge change. In that respect, it may take time, but internationally, it works very well for our business.”
Regarding the boom of e-commerce – a phenomenon that many manufacturers view as a threat – Bariyar found little to worry about, “The retail market in India is full of potential. E-commerce hasn’t affected its functioning much. Everything in our retail market has its own priority, its own space. We tend to stumble a lot, we tend to start overreacting to new technologies – but e-commerce will never wipe out the space occupied by brick-and-mortar stores. This is not limited to India alone, even in the most advanced economies in the world, both brick-and-mortar outlets and e-commerce happily co-exist. The only mistake we made was to feel threatened by the discounts offered online and succumb to offer the same reductions in the real world as well. Because of this, we started bleeding. However, most players in the industry have learned their mistake and have taken advantage of the internet. My brand is available on both platforms. We should be able to emulate, anticipate but never overdo things. We should be capable of realising our errors by seeing things differently:
instead of saying ‘I sold less’, realise that you actually bought more. If the potential of the market is for 5000 pieces, you are going to sell 5000 whether or not you stocked 50,000. Had you stocked less, you would have had a better sell-through rate. This isn’t limited to India: the garment industry is such that consumers across the globe would prefer to see, feel, touch and try their products before buying them. E-commerce works well for only those products that you don’t need to see beforehand. Even abroad, for example, a girl wouldn’t buy her wedding gown online. She would have a seamstress tailor it for her. E-commerce is a great medium for runof-the-mill products, but it’s still susceptible to issues of availability and glitches – so I wouldn’t say it’s a threat to brick-and-mortar stores. There is competition for sure, but things will definitely settle down and the two will co-exist.”
Bariyar also addressed the scope of the industry for employment and suggested methods for improvement, “Development is limited to the big cities in India – Mumbai, Surat, Bengaluru, Chennai, etc. Why don’t we shift focus to UP or Bihar – which is actually where these artisans hail from? We could save on so many overheads and expenses if we built bases there, instead of having workers migrate and spend money and cause a strain on resources. If we build hubs there, the workers’ efficiency will increase; you can hire more people, if you create a unit in a place like Bihar. I advocate a localised approach, as opposed to concentrating on developed cities. ‘Make in India’ is a great concept but it will be wasted on economies that are already so well-developed. Why not create avenues in places like West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha – where these workers actually hail from? That would make a huge difference.”
THE GARMENT INDUSTRY IS SUCH THAT CONSUMERS ACROSS THE GLOBE WOULD PREFER TO SEE, FEEL, TOUCH AND TRY THEIR PRODUCTS BEFORE BUYING THEM.