Transforming the future of the fashion industry via tech using the well established textile setup of india
With digital transformation, the traditional retail market is shifting towards a digital-first, Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) model. In India, the majority of the Industry has adapted to it, but fashion has had the most dramatic shift. With the brick and mortar shops shut and huge traffic in e-Commerce platforms, consumers are opting to buy directly from brand websites. This makes a win-win scenario for both and makes D2C a popular way of shopping. But this traction comes from the efforts of brand architects, who are using multiple sources to redefine the shopping experience. While it’s still a developing segment, one Company has made a seismic presence through its valuable integrations. And it’s none other than Zashed Fashiontech.
Led by dynamic entrepreneur, Mithun Bhardwaj, the Company is an expert in helping garment exporters, textile and processing houses, entrepreneurs and visionaries establish their own D2C tech businesses and become global icons.
THE SPOTLIGHT FOR HOMEGROWN BRANDS
Zashed Fashiontech is one of the rare D2C Brand Architects specializing in maturing brands from scratch. It leverages multiple sources, technology, digital marketing and inventory management; and cohort analysis, Product Market Fit infusing business process re-engineering and Brand Sales Infrastructure – to structure a credible route that takes brands closer to customers. Eventually, this helps brands have a powerful pitch and a scalable business model to rely on. The foundation of this robust offering starts from a diligent understanding between its internal team and clients. The Company is stacked with passionate and aggressive people, fueled by merit and an approach to excel beyond possibilities.
And with such fervor, they envisage building Global Indian brands that – not only competes, but become the apex in the segment, ultimately making Zashed – an internationally acclaimed Fashion magnate. Although the vision is incorrigible, our country needs to emphasize fashion & lifestyle brands. Most of the high streets and malls are captured by International brands, and the irony is that we are the ones who manufacture most of it. Within a short span, Zashed already has 20+ concept based brands on board. And it’s mushrooming, but with a very selective clientele who matches their wavelength and believes in building a value chain.
Recently, Zashed launched a strategy to launch equity-based D2C brands In India. The goal – is to nurture to 2-4 brands a year; and they have already closed 3 with a 4th set to close in the next month.
A REBELLIOUS INCEPTION
In 2015, Mithun met an apparel exporter on a flight during a trip. Seating next to him, they had a close discussion – the exporter spoke of his rise and how it all changed over time. It was this story that planted the idea of Zashed in his mind. Rephrasing the story, he says, “He was a fun-loving person near mid-50s. He had his own export business and had a stellar excursion for 25 years, working with renowned fashion brands. But then, as the scene between manufacturers and brands changed, it all went south.
The efforts, time, money, energy, even the final margin, and value was taken by the Brands. Since the business depends on buyers, they’re running after orders exhuming their own money even after constant endeavors.” He was moved by the tale and thought of empowering the whole supply chain to come in the forefront of the value retail. The ideation to execution also had a clear analogy to disintegrate the fact that brands classify people into mass, premium, or luxury. Nonetheless, he believed that products should define people, not brands. As per him, a product, its look, and the intent should summarize what a person wants to communicate.
After deep research, he found that unifying exports with a D2C model can change the scenario and bring incremental value. D2C is one of the immensely potential business segments in India. It already projects a $100 Billion market valuation by 2025, in which $ 43.2 Billion is expected from the fashion sector. Despite its magnitude, D2C has only a 5% contribution to the economy as compared to 20% in the US. With proper technology and practices, the segment not only promises significant prospects but better customer engagement too. Inspired by the cognizance, he found Zashed in 2016.
The idea was to help homegrown brands take the global market by storm through innovative product lines. In a short period, Zashed has earned an evolving pool of global Indian brands, working in conjunction with experienced exporters for renowned fashion brands. It prioritizes every client as its first and believes in competing itself to emerge as a champion. To summarize, Zashed proposes the value for money and a guaranteed global exposure. “And whoever doesn’t understand the value proposition, we fold our hands and say – “it was nice meeting you,” adjoins Mithun.
The lion’s share of Zashed’s indomitable stature comes from its business model – known as FEBA (Fashion e-commerce Business Architecture). But what makes it so special? Mithun explains that the model works on an “Asset-Light Strategy” and helps in creating a win-win scenario for all parties involved (e.g. brands, investors). The model has many underlying unassailable protocols for data, Target revenue, PMF, Cohort analysis, the narrative of a brand, concept & design.
This imbibes a strong sense of trust and integrity from day 1 of inclusion for a D2C Brand under their panel. Moreover, it resolves one of the strenuous impediments, “what to make, how much to make and where to sell.” Also, this establishes the ‘Thought Process’, that whether or not, they’re moving ahead with the client. Since it’s an enduring process, consuming time and energy, and requires a strong mindset, Zashed makes every aspect absolutely clear at the initial level.
As a D2C architect, technology and innovation is a fundamental pillar to them. Its integration goes far beyond the business model to the organizational infrastructure. Technology helps in shaping a robust foundation. Since online/digital is evolving, fast and innovative – are key to create an expanding consumer base. Therefore, Zashed has created in-house management systems (SAPTT & STTOMP) – These are multi-tasking and serves multiple purposes. They help in managing brand milestones, manhour calculations with remote monitoring of individual timelines and work progress. Tools like 3D Pattern making is also used for a visual glimpse of the final product.
STANDING OUT OF THE CROWD
D2C is truly creating a buzz in the Indian economy. The market has witnessed funded companies hailing, from B2B manufacturing or B2B fabric converting into D2C brands. The revolution has already established 800 brands, and it is driven by the nation’s startup ecosystem. Needless to say, the growing numbers promises an immensely competitive and disruptive scenario in the next 10 years. Being bootstrapped with a self-sustaining ecosystem, Zashed – is both bold and strong. The Company is more than just unorthodox – it’s disruptive. Backed by experience and market trends, its D2C model can convert any traditional manufacturing labour-oriented setup into a D2C digital structure.
This prevents brands from becoming colonized and transforms all the hard work into Runway Glamour. “We’re at the cusp of unifying the backend and the frontend, and the power we’re accruing is incredible,” asserts Mithun. After all, what’s the fun in building the already established! While building concepts from scratch, it is ensured each one is different from the previous. For that, they also invest in R&D, strategizing and planning a distinct setup. And its application extends to technology, product, fabric, market, social media, software, data etc.
Zashed isn’t just providing a service – it’s helping people evolve from plinth to paramount. Its focus is to create concept-driven scalable brands to provide more scope for related business. The D2C model has helped in social drives, specifically for labourers in manufacturing. When International businesses were pulling off contracts due to the pandemic, D2C brands didn’t stop and ensured sustainability. Such altruism and value-driven focus make Zashed – a force to reckon with.
LED BY A CHARISMATIC LEADER
“Charisma is the intangible that makes people want to follow you, to be around you, to be influenced by you.” Roger Dawson
Unified with passion and a strong vision, Mithun has always strived to become a successful leader more than a popular one. He believes in going beyond limits and drives the same influence in his company. For him, challenges are taken by some, but proper execution needs a leader. The surrounding team can contribute, connect and suggest, but eventually, a leader needs to make it happen. Having such an august leader, it’s evident Zashed commandeers an immensely powerful culture. Innovative ideas for process enhancements are key expectations from immediate or recent joiners.
Procrastination is definitely not encouraged. Board members and managers ensure that every individual is growth-driven and has the urge to learn. “If you do not know how to do the work, do it and learn, do not back off – that’s what I expect from them,” adds Mithun. His idea of a strong work culture transcends to a particular lifestyle, including work or life. People here interact about work, innovations, and targets along with power dressing, fitness, strength and a healthy lifestyle.
Alongside employees, they nurture the leaders to be dynamic. From Day 1, Zashed treats and terms a joiner as a fully-defined leader. Mithun believes a leader should possess particular energy and aura – that would make people be a part of his/her vision. He also asserts, “I read somewhere “Never take advice from someone who hasn’t done anything, never give advice to someone who thinks he knows everything “it just stuck with us and will always be”. Hence, managers are pushed to drive innovative solutions and help their team learn what they don’t know. Every leader is taught to take faster decisions. For Mithun, leadership should be at every level, and they should be curious, not skeptical.
A SUPREMELY VIGOROUS CULTURE
In the fashion industry, “Survival of the fittest” is a widely known term. It is one of the core values of Zashed. Here, it’s all about conceptualizing brands from scratch for people from different tandem of the country. It has a niche culture to ensure every brand finds value and an unorthodox opportunity. It believes in working with people driving opportunities for the company more than the company creating opportunities for its people. And everyone on board swears by the notion.
Just as clients, Zashed is extremely selective about its people and values those with the courage to transform every hurdle into a sustainable opportunity. Everyone is taught to constantly create, build and grow. Putting it simply, Zashed values people hungry for growth and learning and creates opportunities to satiate that hunger. They prefer the term ‘Personalities’ over employees.
Parallelly, the founder believes in merging their personal and professional lives to yield the best result, not disintegrate. The commander-in-chief says that segregating the two takes down the inspiration to bring out the best instead, managing both simultaneously, keeps everything more sorted and connected. Zashed follows the Silicon Valley culture (transparent, young, dynamic and definitely not for quitters). Honesty and integrity are prioritized so that people don’t hide their own inhibitions and apprehensions. The Company values expressions, whether it’s of achievement, success or failure, happiness or sadness.
People are encouraged to talk on the face and work to express, not to impress. In the end, Zashed aims to be a dynamic team relentlessly contributing to the growth of the Fashion Industry in India.
FEATHERS ON THE CAP
Despite being only 4 years in business, Zashed has established itself as the country’s sole “Brand Architects,” creating turn-key D2C brands. It is delighted to be the only company to collaborate in fashion events with Myntra and Amazon to launch new and unique D2C brands. It has vertical integration for underlying aspects with a major presence in India and the global market. Moreover, it has an in-house content creation lab. Attaining such feats, Zashed has attracted a lot of media attention. Renowned media houses like Yourstory, Silicon India, India Retailer, Apparel resources, Tribune India etc., have proudly featured Mithun and his business excursion.
Soon, the Company will be including 25 new-age D2C brands under its banner, making them a high-flyer fashion house against established names such as Inditex and Arcadia. For this, Zashed is building an AI and AR infused platform, which will solely promote and sell product lines by homegrown D2C brands.
THE ROAD AHEAD
Standing proud of its achievements, Zashed foresees to foray into tech-based product lines with a zero inventory model. Besides its innovative app, it has plans for a Phygital store in the pipeline, which will redefine the online shopping experience. And further resolve the burning issue, “How will they look when they buy a product online?” As per the founder, the platform will be a superb addition to Fashion & Lifestyle and will soon contribute to 1.5 – 2 % growth of the $100 B D2C markets. Furthermore, they are also in the process of acquiring patents for their domain technology.
Above all, they aim to be sustainable with a focus on the mentioned objectives. Zashed has also moved onto Marketing 5.0 and is striving to connect more audiences through it.
A PARTING MESSAGE FROM THE FOUNDER
“Don’t try to be the best, be the first. Ideas and innovative people are at every corner of the sub-continent. Have the courage to be the first to execute your idea. Even if you fail, learn from it and don’t be overconfident. Give everything to where you are now, just like it is your own and keep learning for new ways to improve. You’ll see, someone else is paying for your learning, so do “Shanti me Kranti”.
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