The current pandemic has plunged the world in social, economic and emotional distress that is proving difficult for the world to come out of. Millions of brands across industries are facing insurmountable problems, while thousands will be forced to shut down in the near future including large brands like JCPenny or Neiman. Many will get by with reducing stores or reducing manpower. In the lurch are millions of people having lost a friend / family member or those that have lost their livelihood and face an uncertain future. After this difficult time, restarting a fashion business is not going to be easy for fashion retailers.
In these difficult times, how do small store owners or fashion brands go about restart their fashion business?
1. Everybody will not survive
Harsh as it may sound, the plain reality is that everybody plunged in the economic crisis facing the whole world, will not get through without some form of pain! Some will survive, some won't! In all probability business will never be 'normal' again! Realise that and move on!
2. Back to Basics
In any difficult situation, it is important to take a step back and look at your business from a distance. Why did you start it in the first place? Are you still having fun and enjoy doing what you do? Has the world around you changed? Would you like to let go of some of the baggage that's got accumulated along the way and focus on lesser, more profitable areas that add maximum value for your customers and fulfil your mission as well?
3. People you like
Work with people you like. It just makes things hell of a lot easier, whether they are customers, suppliers or people in the supply chain. If you're stuck in a rut, not enjoying the kind of people you have to interact with, to get your job done, now may be the chance to develop new relationships.
4. Build Sustainable
Do not delude yourself that the Corona Virus problem is the biggest problem faced by humanity. We were standing on the brink of an imminent ecological disaster since several years if not decades. This is nowhere lessened and unless all industries including ours starts focusing on environment friendly initiatives and ways in which to live with-nature rather than off-nature, we are anyway soon doomed. So what can your business do about this? If you make a stand now, you have a better chance to succeed than others.
5. Embrace Technology
Well even if you aren't tech savvy, there are millions of people to help you on platforms like Fiverr. Wix, Shopify etc make it super easy for you to open an e-commerce store. Marketing, Analytics, Payment gateways, Delivery channels have all become tech driven already and you need Zero tech knowledge to use them, so Do!
6. Strengthen your supply chain
If you've been only buying from one place or country, it is time to look for alternatives, strike up a few conversations and de-risk your supply chain. Many sites already offer you a chance to upload your designs and get a free quote so no harm in checking and getting to know other suppliers in other regions, that you could work with.
7. Collaborate rather than compete
I believe the current situation will call for all countries, communities, brands and companies to realise that the 'winner takes all' mentality of the new age startups, bloated with private equity funds and spouting global wisdom at every chance is done and dusted. This will now be a time for smaller, healthier, friendlier, more customer centric companies and a return to the good old way of doing business, but with modern tools and systems.
8. Vocal for Local
The Indian Prime Minister recently announced a strategy for promoting local manufacturing and purchases but I think India is not the only country that needs to think like that. We have made manufacturing a dirty word, creating factories wherever there is cheap labour and 'ease of doing business' tag also seems to mean the 'ease of sprouting sweatshops'. Covid 19 is just one among the many ways in which we realise that we cannot immune ourselves in a highly networked and interconnected world!
Lastly I want to reassure you that we're all in this together. Nobody is going to be left without being affected in some way or the other. So if you need any advise, help or just to share something, do leave a comment or reach out and I'll be happy to help.
Thanks for reading