Ex­porters un­der­take ini­tia­tives to sur­vive and grow in dif­fi­cult sce­nario

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Over­all, the global home fur­nish­ing mar­ket has not been very up­beat over the past few years; even in In­dia, many in­ter­nal is­sues are hurt­ing the growth of ex­porters...

Over­all, the global home fur­nish­ing mar­ket has not been very up­beat over the past few years; even in In­dia, many in­ter­nal is­sues are hurt­ing the growth of ex­porters. Though the sit­u­a­tion is dif­fi­cult, some ex­porters are tak­ing a very pro-ac­tive stance and are con­stantly tak­ing ini­tia­tives not only to sur­vive but also grow. Their ef­forts in­clude adding new prod­ucts in their prod­uct bas­kets, bring­ing down the cost by chang­ing or mix­ing value ad­di­tion tech­niques, in­creas­ing fo­cus on re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als, ex­plor­ing new mar­kets and adding more com­pli­ance/ cer­ti­fi­ca­tions… Team Ap­parel On­line ob­served such ini­tia­tives of var­i­ous ex­porters at the re­cently con­cluded Home Expo In­dia 2018 (or­ga­nized by EPCH) in Greater Noida. The fair-wit­nessed par­tic­i­pa­tion of 695 ex­porters of­fer­ing soft as well as hard goods.

The pos­i­tive ini­tia­tives be­ing un­der­taken by var­i­ous ex­porters in the home seg­ment are help­ing them to get more buy­ers and also to serve the ex­ist­ing clients bet­ter. The 25-year-old Jaipur­based com­pany Ar­ta­sia boasts of its ex­per­tise in hand em­broi­dery for high-end prod­ucts, but it is to­day of­fer­ing mix of hand em­broi­dery with ma­chine em­broi­dery to fit the prod­uct into the buyer’s price bracket. “We have to keep the prices com­pet­i­tive to sur­vive the mar­ket and this is one op­tion for the same. Ear­lier we were not fo­cus­ing much on print­ing but now it is also our strength,” says Sushma Lad­dha, Owner of the com­pany. To of­fer most of the prod­uct range un­der one roof, the com­pany re­cently started up­hol­stery, rugs and is try­ing to cre­ate a pack­age of fur­ni­ture and tex­tile for their buy­ers. Work­ing with whole­salers across the world, the com­pany has also started work­ing with buy­ing of­fices to get more or­ders, and re­cently shipped an or­der through a lo­cal buy­ing of­fice. The 100 per cent EOU, Ar­ta­sia of­fers cush­ions, quilts, cur­tains and al­lied prod­ucts. Its ca­pac­ity is nearly 25,000 pieces per month.

Adding new mar­kets and new buy­ers from ex­ist­ing mar­kets is one of the most com­mon tool for many com­pa­nies and same con­tin­ues as they are get­ting suc­cess through this route. Naveen Ka­pur has been in this busi­ness for 40 years and his four-year-old ven­ture in Noida, Good Earth In­dia, re­cently added new clients from Spain, Italy and Ger­many who placed or­ders for embroidered cush­ions and now the com­pany fur­ther plans to open an of­fice in the UK so that they can cover en­tire Amer­ica and EU in a bet­ter way. Naveen in­formed the

AO team, “I some­times ask my­self, does growth ever stop? Many of our

reg­u­lar cus­tomers have quit the line al­to­gether. But we are con­stantly tak­ing steps to over­come these chal­lenges. We are also fo­cus­ing more on de­signs as I be­lieve if you’re de­sign-ori­ented you can cater to your cus­tomers oth­er­wise the buy­ing mar­ket is very av­er­age.”

The com­pany spe­cialises in hand­looms and sur­face or­na­men­ta­tion and it has ca­pac­ity of man­u­fac­tur­ing 1,00,000 pieces a month.

One more such ex­am­ple is from

Jaipur – Ocean Home Store, renowned for its prints, ex­port­ing prod­ucts into USA, UK, France and Ja­pan, and as­so­ci­ated with brands like Ralph Lau­ren and An­thro­pol­ogy. The com­pany is ac­tively ex­plor­ing new mar­kets like Aus­tralia, Canada and also re­sort­ing to on­line busi­ness. For past two years, it is ex­pand­ing its busi­ness by work­ing on floor­ing, wo­ven cush­ion and small up­hol­stery fur­ni­ture with ex­ter­nal ven­dor sup­port from UP and Pa­ni­pat.

Jayanto Chat­ter­jee, Cre­ative Head of the com­pany shared that the or­ga­ni­za­tion is do­ing its best to grow, and more ef­forts will be taken for the same. The com­pany also has 3 stores across Jaipur to tap do­mes­tic mar­ket. As sus­tain­abil­ity is in the core of the in­dus­try, in the long run it is cost­ef­fec­tive too; few com­pa­nies are also fo­cus­ing on it by var­i­ous means. Well known Jaipur-based ex­port house Cheer Sa­gar who has larger fo­cus on its col­lec­tion, is all set to in­tro­duce re­cy­cled ma­te­rial-based prod­ucts. “There is a lot of scrap in the fac­tory that has no re­sale value, so we are pro­cess­ing it to make re­cy­cled prod­ucts, which will be a part of our cat­a­logue soon,” adds Rishika Saini, Mer­chant of the com­pany. The com­pany’s present col­lec­tion is full of pas­tel colours and em­broi­dery. It uses tra­di­tional aari em­broi­dery to up­lift the lo­cal ar­ti­sans.

On the con­trary, there are few com­pa­nies that are of the view that own ef­forts/ini­tia­tives will be fruit­ful only if the Govern­ment changes its poli­cies or sys­tems, be it de­layed re­fund of GST or other poli­cies. Gan­pat Me­hta, Co-owner, Arawali Ex­ports, Jaipur shares his opin­ion: “The mar­ket is on an all-time low and busi­ness is go­ing on as usual. It is very dif­fi­cult to get new buy­ers or suc­cess in new mar­kets. We have added new line of hand­loom throws in our col­lec­tion as its de­mand was fore­casted, but much more than that is needed.” Arawali Ex­ports is of­fer­ing a wide range of home prod­ucts and is fo­cus­ing more on com­pli­ance. The com­pany is cer­ti­fied by Sedex, Fair Trade Fo­rum In­dia, Smeta and few more agen­cies.

“Ex­port mar­ket is not gen­er­at­ing much de­mand, so the in­no­va­tion isn’t re­ally help­ing since prices are high. We have to take into ac­count these fac­tors to sur­vive. We are keep­ing lim­ited vol­ume and out­put to sus­tain this busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment. Im­po­si­tion of the

GST and no re­turns yet has jeop­ar­dised the busi­ness,” says Viresh­war Vi­jay, Senior Man­ager Mer­chan­dis­ing, The Reed and Shut­tle Com­pany, Noida. He aptly con­cludes: “In this en­vi­ron­ment there is a cost of do­ing the busi­ness and there is a cost of not do­ing the busi­ness; these times are mak­ing us choose lesser of the two evils.”

Sushma Lad­dha (L), Owner of Ar­ta­sia, with Jai Singh, Senior Mer­chant

Rishika Saini (R), Mer­chant, Cheer Sa­gar with her col­league Mamta Dixit

Gan­pat Me­hta (L), Co-owner, Arawali Ex­ports, dis­cussing the prod­ucts with the buy­ers

Viresh­war Vi­jay, Senior Man­ager Mer­chan­dis­ing, The Reed and Shut­tle Com­pany

Naveen Ka­pur,

MD, Good Earth In­dia, Noida

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