Interview with Arvind Saraf

Arvind  Saraf
Arvind Saraf

What kind of technology innovations are you involved in?

We have launched a new company to build technologies for SMEs - known as Triveni Labs, where we have built the following solutions: We bring about production efficiency and inventory reduction with process mapping and improvements where raw material suppliers are tracked and managed Dashboards to monitor production better so that production is not hindered due to a small fault at any stage Analytics to aid production planning and decision making. We are also working on a Catalogue Sharing App which will allow a number of product catalogues to be sent to a large wholesaler base with a single click. Managing complete e-commerce for the product, or offering e-commerce management tools - which will make listing of products on various channels (with different format) easier. We also have an App which tracks the current location of our salesperson and even creates a Purchase Order simultaneously. Last but not the least, we are working on Virtual Trial Rooms wherein a customer can get an idea about how he/she would look like in a particular outfit.

What are the various challenges in this industry and specifically pertaining to ethnicwear? How do you deal with those?

The larger challenges that the ethnicwear industry is facing are: Expanding the market size by reaching out to the international markets: the youngsters or looking at how the industry's existing designs and manufacturing capabilities can be adapted to other product categories. Collaboratively working on identifying good buyers and vendors. The industry players are largely unorganised or semi-organised, and the industry works on credit. Most of the major brands have issues of extremely delayed payments or even defaults from their wholesalers and distributors. Unfortunately, the brands don't talk to each other much. If a forum brings together this credit and payment history information in a centralised system or a sharing mechanism, many such bad debts can be reduced. Replicas in the market. Trade marking and copyrighting is very weak in the ethnicwear industry. Printing and embroidery are easily copied and replicated at a much inferior quality. E-commerce also offers these replicamakers an easy channel to sell. The industry has to get together to fight this replica making.

Which are your strong markets?

Geographically, Triveni covers all of India. Traditionally, the North and West are our strongholds. However, metros are gradually taking up significant part of our market - largely due to the brand reinvention and preference convergence of the customers. Now, South India - especially metros such as Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad are a significant part of our volumes. Going forward, we expect Triveni's penetration in the metros to increase further - both through e-retail and wholesale. Tier II and tier III cities and towns will continue to follow the lead of the metros in that direction.

Are you planning to launch exclusive brand outlets?

We have been asked this a lot whenever we have interacted with customers or patrons. Definitely, we are keen to make our products much more accessible, and e-commerce has worked to a great extent to do that. Right now, the focus is on constant design innovation and channel development. We are exploring potential offline retail partnerships - but perhaps, the first forays we may take, there will not be exclusive brand outlets, but branded retail offerings through some of the channel partners. We are not looking at this materialising, if at all, before next year.

Lastly what are your future plans?

The plan is to constantly innovate on product and designing. More designer collaborations are in the pipeline, including them designing for us. We are very bullish about e-retail and we will be further expanding our team. We plan to start e-tailing from new portals such as Voonik, Limeroad, Fashion and You, etc. Our larger goal is to promote ethnicwear and culture seriously. We have introduced Ambassador Programme (where our own frequent customers play this part), engaging students/younger audience through Campus Ambassador Programme and various live projects, reaching out to International Audience via Triveni Saath and influencing organisations via Triveni Sang Programmes, where each and every activity or programme is diverted towards giving Indian culture its unique stand.
Published on: 11/11/2015

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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