A Fair Game!

Apparel - - Contents -

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.

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