Having offices in multiple cities is a great - the joys of being awake at insane hours, dealing with customers and suppliers in different geographies, dealing with government and regulations, and of course building up teams at each place. This gives one a perspective of the different geographies, especially for our specific business area.
For our Indian Fashion business, people have asked us whether it makes sense to establish the business in India, but rather than think about the obvious, we analysed the facts. In deciding the location for our business, we considered key issues, and it turned out that London is a great city for our business.
Some of the aspects that were considered are important to discuss in particular for us, and in general for people looking at the e-commerce fashion space.
Indian clothes and Indian Designers are peculiar in nature, but do have a lot of common ground with international high-end fashion. Specific talent for Indian clothes is important, but at the same time, general understanding of fashion is a great starting point.
London is home to one of the best Fashion colleges in the world - Central St. Martin's. The talent from this school and broadly, University of Arts London is impressive. The design sensibilities developed here and the quality of students that the school attracts is extremely valuable for business.
Mumbai - commercial capital of India, Bollywood's home and of course the location of choice of a lot of Indian Designers is home to one of the campuses of NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology). The institute runs courses on Fashion Design, Visual Communication, etc. People from all over India flock to the prestigious institute to pursue Bachelors and/or Masters courses.
The quality of talent in Mumbai has left us wanting for more, specific points have included information about International markets has been low, information about the latest developments related to technology and digital is preliminary at best and lastly the attitude in general seems to be one that is chasing after money only. Remuneration is important for people, as it should be, but the minute the focus is only on remuneration, the work and the approach in general becomes extremely corrupted.
For Talent, London has scored high marks. Mumbai has the advantage of being close to Indian Designers and Indian Clothes, but not much more than that.
Is there a reason for the lack of talent? One hypothesis for Mumbai can probably be attributed to attitudes over many generations. Traditionally, the perception of the Fashion Industry was that it is an area that "serious" students did not pursue. You pursued medicine, law or accountancy as a career choice in order to be successful. Art and Design have been looked down upon as areas that less talented people pursue. Unfortunately this perception might be keeping out some very talented individuals.
We shall be covering this topic over a series of posts, each highlighting a specific area related to the business. Some of the areas that are going to be covered include: Infrastructure, Related Services and Regulation