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Marc A Lewkowitz
Executive Vice-President Supima Cotton
What are the initiatives that you intend to take in India in this direction?
In India, we only wish to work with licensees. Be it spinner, weaver, knitter, garment-maker or even brands in the supply chain, we want to make sure that everything is coming through a licensed supplier. As you source our product, we track invoices to show the product moving from one to another place. We are working on a database which will enable that to happen electronically. Companies can log-in to a portal with their credentials, and keep a track of their purchased products. This will add to transparency.
We are doing DNA testing in our lab in New York, and they are putting up a facility in India, which will be huge. This might change the face of the industry, as everybody will know that they can be checked. And once this happens, if a few get caught, it will bring in a lot of changes in the supply chain. And we realise that everybody in the supply chain is pretty supportive towards this, and they actually want this checking to happen.
It takes a lot of effort to reach out to the final consumer. How do you do it?
It takes a tremendous effort to reach out to the final consumers. We do it in partnership with our brands.
I am here with Brooks Brothers who are our premier partners and one of the many brands who understand the true value of Supima. They now have seven stores in India. Brooks Brothers came to us last December, and said that they propose a 360 degree marketing campaign - both online and offline marketing. They picked two markets in the US (New York and San Francisco) and one market in Canada (Toronto) for the same because of the concentration of populous, amount of industries, consumer base and tourism. They made sure that all the people in New York see the ad of Supima and Brooks Brothers at least once or twice in a day for the entire month of March. That is an aggressive marketing campaign. It's not easy. It takes a lot of work. And in the partnership, we learned a lot of things.
Does the decline in cotton production worry you?
It's certainly gone down in the US. We are down around 25 per cent this year, because of the drought conditions. So everybody has pulled back, be it consumers, traders or manufacturers. But weather forecasts are keeping everybody optimistic. If we have sufficient rains, we might see a 50 per cent increase in the production next year. We have to be optimistic. If we are not, we should not be in the business right?
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