Can you please help us know your professional background?
I started as a territory sales manager with Asian Paints in 2000. I moved up the professional ladder with FMCG company Nestle then entered retail business in the apparel retail in 2004 with Arvind Brands. I later moved to ColorPlus in 2007, then landed in Pantaloons in Ahmedabad in 2008. My stint with Pantaloons exposed me to nuances of retail operations & further helped me grow to take a bigger responsibility for heading South Zone from Bangalore in 2011.
My last assignment (2012-2018) with Normak Fashions Ltd as Vice President has pushed me to review business & profitability. As an entrepreneur I started my own venture Gift Factory in 2018, which is now part of the parent company DISHA TRENDS.
Why did you choose entrepreneurship over a stable job career?
Entrepreneurship is about one’s capability of taking risks. I think my last assignment before venturing into entrepreneurship has prepared me to take higher risks, think big, work on growth parameters & keep an eye on goals. To become an entrepreneur is one of the best decisions of my entire journey.
Can you please tell us about your venture ‘DISHA TRENDS’?
DISHA TRENDS started as Retail Women clothing store in 2016 by my wife, but business got closed with heavy losses. With changing business requirements, business got a new direction. In 2018, we launched Gift Factory under DISHA TRENDS, a B2B & Trading Company for brands & clients. We developed a passion for promotions while heading retail operations at Pantaloon Retail. Gifts with Purchase (GWP) are an exciting space as it deals with consumers more at an emotional level than rational.
What is your business/ revenue model?
We are working as a buying house for many brands & corporate houses in categories of makeup accessories, travel bags, fashion jewelry & gadgets, mainly. Our aim is to reach 1,000 corporate houses, by 2023, comprising IT, FMCG, Travel & hospitality, Pharma & Retail. We devise promotional products for many brands which helps them to increase their business along with their existing core products. We take customized orders basis on new products as need generated by them. We import from countries like Thailand, Malaysia & China. We also work with Indian manufacturers for some products.
How are you different from the competition in your niche? What is your USP?
Right Product, Right Price & Timely Service, Brand Authority, Unique Aesthetic & High Quality is the key for a successful business. We are following the same. Our continued healthy relationships with all our clients are helping us to fetch repeat orders.
How are you utilizing the technology for your services and make it more user friendly?
Since its B2B mainly, we are planning to launching a user-friendly website next month (April 2021), which will be updated with a catalog of new products every month. We are currently using email marketing, G-suite, Whats App business tool, where relevant products can be mailed & sent to respective interested groups every week.
How do you plan the next growth phase of your business?
New Sectors – We are planning to reach new sectors like FMCG, Pharma & IT in next 1 year
New Markets – We are looking forward to the Middle East, South Africa, Canada , US, Srilanka & Bangladesh for our products.
New Category – Have started Food category in this year, where our exports are getting targeted in these countries too.
How do you think the industry niche in which your business operates has evolved over time? In what direction do you see the industry moving in the future?
Digitalization in these covid times have made all of us rethink our existing business model, B2B in bulk & customized products is also working in this direction to reach a higher number of clients with ease in order booking & sampling process. DISHA TRENDS is planning to adopt digitalization in this area soon.
What is the biggest challenge that your firm is facing at the moment? How do you plan to overcome it?
Major challenges are the sentiments of our clients, as most of our products are imported from China. We are also constantly looking for Indian suppliers in our product range, but the raw materials are still a challenge in our products. The other challenge is finding your ideal customer, which often takes quite a bit of legwork. When you’ve finally identified the perfect person to sell to, it makes sense to appeal to them through every aspect of your business.
India is growing as a manufacturing hub. I am sure in coming years will have good factories in India to work with.