Forging credible fashion brands – Zashed

zashed

Website – Zashed

Founder – Mithun Bhardwaj

Globalize Indian brands
Zashed came into existence to bring back the very essence of the Indian roots into the technology-led fashion industry. Though India is known for its rich cultural heritage and practices, somehow it has always been a step behind, when compared to the International fashion. These were the trails of thoughts that crossed the mind of Mithun Bharadwaj- the founder of Zashed, in conversation with an exporter.

Leading Indian fashion onto the global platform is what motivated the entrepreneur to start this fashion-tech company. In no time, Zashed is a self-funded company with an intriguing business plan and the founder claims that the thought process behind it was spontaneous. Down the line, Zashed aspires to blend fashion and technology to create robust brands on a global scale.

Amalgam of fashion trends
After extensive research, considering all the dimensions of the evolving fashion trends, Zashed began its operational tenure in 2017. With a group of passionate and skilled workforce, Zashed has an adaptable plan to create a leading fashion conglomerate by brand architecture model. It assists brands, from the novice to the veteran ones, from scratch. The company provides “one-of-a-kind” limelight to every single fashion brand.

Zashed constantly brainstorms about the kind of products that should be put up, to which its consumers can utmost relate to. This start-up brings together a wide range of styles, designed in collaboration with its network of independent designers, combining heritage with modernity, street style with understated elegance, and simplicity with playfulness.

Zashed has introduced brands in all categories such as Home Decor, Men’s Wear, Women’s Wear, Kid’s wear, Intimate Wear, Accessories, footwear, and Home Furnishing and furniture even. Monthly, it comes up with a new set of prints designed fabrics materials that are created by its association with the best of the fabric houses, mills, etc.

The “virtual-physical” shopping experience!
This fashion-based start-up claims to be moving to the e-commerce platform with gross merchandise value sales of 5.6 million USD with only seven brands, as of now. More than 13 brands are lined up, adding more than 150 percent to the growth value, in the foreseeable future.

The company is set to launch its beta version in 2020. It is looking forward to the implementation of its “ZFT-Zashed Fashion Truck” concept. In doing so, the company wants to introduce a unique customer experience digitally by incorporating an extrinsic touch of “physical shopping.” It combines comfort with style, taking into account the generation of the millennium.

To revolutionize fashion, comfort, and quality!
Zashed enjoys a vibrant, national and international customer community and plans to ship to every country in the world by expanding its reach to the global market. As it takes care of every single aspect of the brand making, the company is very much aware that it is a part of a chain that begins with farming and yarn production and ends with style. Zashed takes the responsibilities of this chain seriously and is forward-looking sensitive to the ethical and cultural considerations of India that concern both the company and many of its customers.

The founder says, ‘Incredible India’ must first be ‘Credible India!’ and, likewise, he and the company aim to create proud Indian brands that are capable to out strike in the global market.

What made you strike this business idea? What inspired you to start this company?

Mithun Bhardwaj – While on a flight to Delhi, I was thinking about his discussion with an exporter who told him that though India has given the world yoga, architecture, heritage, traditions and fashion prowess, India has long been a muse to the international fashion, the sheer amount of diversity and creativity and hard work of the artisans, weavers, craftsmen, fabrics, silhouettes and quite labor intensive and a lot of attention to detail is something that we are rich in. Having all the base and required capabilities to compete still the astonishing fact is that India doesn’t have a pool of robust fashion brands which can stand tall and compete in the global fashion world. He asked for a tissue paper from the airhostess and pen from the co-passenger and started writing his first business plan on that tissue paper and created a business plan where he can merge fashion and technology to create robust brands on a global scale. What Oyo did to hospitality industry withoutowning a single hotel, what ola did to kali pili taxi / cab industry without having its own cabs ,

Airbnb does not rent the accommodation from the host but conveys only between supply and demand. Their business model builds on the sharing economy and on the strong belief that house owners are willing to rent out free space to strangers.

That’s what Zashed is planned to do to a supplier, a brand, or a retailer in the traditional fashion industry without having its own brands.

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Also, at that point the traditional brick-n-mortar was troubled —even renowned International brands inventory holding and lack of adaptability were filing bankruptcy so it had to lead way to new-age fashion brands which millennial and Gen Z’s can relate to. And when we are talking about competing and thinking about the ability to provide rapidly the fashiontrends and change in the consumers demand, he then came up with a plan to create a leading Fashion Conglomerate by brand architecture model which we will have every kind of product line into it and every kind of category under fashion and lifestyle through different brands.

When did you start your business?

Mithun Bhardwaj – First year (2016) was for extensive R&D which was based on integrity, intensity and intelligence and to prepare the mindset of the challenges that’s going to come ahead in terms of understanding people, man management, resources, the evil and devil in people’s mind- how to curb it and to select the best personality’s alignment in both as external exporters and internal team.

In 2017 we were operational.

What does success mean to your company?

Mithun Bhardwaj – Where employees become part owners and people get inspired and a part of societal grassroot people get their daily bread with their own work rather than striving or longing for free stuff. Monetarily being EBITA positive and making the investors some money

How are you performing currently?
Mithun Bhardwaj – Amidst the pandemic we have taken two more important projects.Exporters have realized that it’s a need for an hour for them to create their own brand and cut the dependencies on the buyer.

Zashed is a self-funded- operated bootstrapped and a profitable fashion start-up moving to eCom tech with gross merchandise value (GMV) sales of $5.6 Mn (INR 42.3 Cr) with only 7 brands being pushed in the market and there are 13 + more to go be penetrating the market within the coming 2 quarters hence we are expecting > 150% growth post the market resumes.

What is the biggest risk to your company?

Mithun Bhardwaj – Not working as per the targets and individual responsibilities.

What are your plans for the funding?

Mithun Bhardwaj – We didn’t feel that initially funding is the right answer for our business model. Initial years we wanted our business to focus on balancing growth and we didn’t want to depend on an external funding. We wanted to analyze the risks involved. We did our break even in the very first quarter and been profitable since then and now probably looking at raising funds for the next expansion in terms of building tech starting with our own platform and also a completely different concept which will give a customer an edge over buying products in the comfort and safety of their homes but not digitally but physically. Its concept is called “ZFT- Zashed Fashion Truck” digitally integrated with the app, it’s at beta stage and shall be launched in FY20.

What is the biggest challenge you faced during your start-up setup?

Mithun Bhardwaj – A diverse team with different skill sets who has the same vision and that can incorporate in their actions.

We are a heavily populated country with unemployment being a concern still getting the right talent under one roof is a major challenge and the most important challenge is the mindset of the people. “They know it all” thought process of the young people, “they have done it all” attitude. We found more “know-it-all” rather “learn-it-all”. A know-it-all was not open to new things because their belief is that they already know everything they need to know. This became a source of conflict as their view is that they’re right.

We were looking for A learn-it-all mindset that if they don’t unlearn what is now irrelevant and make room for new knowledge, they will get left behind.

What was expected was to empty the cup, a full cup cannot be filled with new ideas or good things.

What does growth mean to you and your business?

Mithun Bhardwaj – ‘Incredible India’ needs to first be ‘Credible India’.
We are creating Proud Indian brands which can sizzle and be on the shelves globally.

How does your product stand different from others in the market?

Mithun Bhardwaj – Zashed builds brands from scratch till maturity so every single aspect of brand making is done by us.

We are the only brand architects in the country.

 Every aspect that you can think of to create a brand is taken care from our end. Right from the brand name, designing, creating the inspiration of the brand, sourcing of fabric, fabrication, market penetration, data crunching, planning the sales, bringing the products in the omni-channel and achieving the targeted sales.

For most brands, getting hold of the right value chain is a major challenge initially. Setting up a good manufacturing unit of your own is good investment of time, money, energy. Though with us, such entry level barriers are already nullified. Working with multiple brands gives an edge in reducing cost of sourcing to a high extent. Zashed identifies the core strength of the export unit and leverage it to ensure maximum customer satisfaction as a mean to build long-term competitive advantage. Zashed takes the brand into the D2C market while offering the customer an artistic collection by having the right hold on the unique fabric sourcing, constant print developments much quicker, differentiated story line, faster collection and quick new ness which is 10-12 drops in 12 months per brand.

Zashed’sone of its kind Fashion Business Conglomerate dared to be different by combining design and data and exceling the art of brand building. We have redefined fashion and shopping in every sense.

Where are your start-up services spread?

Creating a secular brand isn’t an easy target to go after. We need to narrow down. We cannot create a product for everyone and neither do we dream to have these brands in the whole world’s wardrobe. It’s a simple thought process, if you buy it, this one should be one of the best in your closet and you cannot resist buying it again. Zashed is also looking at amplifying the brands’ voices through never thought of design & R&D processes.

We have plans to take the brands glocal.

Zashed has introduced brands in all the categories such as Home Décor, Men’s Wear, Women’s Wear, Kid’s wear, Intimate Wear, Accessories, footwear and Home Furnishing and furniture even. Every month new set of prints designs fabrics materials are created courtesy our association with the best of the fabric houses, mills etc.

What does it feel to be the founder of your start-up? How does it feel getting up every morning and getting on to work?

Mithun Bhardwaj – You feel alienated and inspired at the same time. Every morning is a challenge and something to look forward to. Being an entrepreneur is all about experiencing ups and downs both daily and over time but it also involves learning how to navigate them so you still attain success in the end.

Where do you see your business standing in the next 5 years?

  • Zashed will launch its state-of-the-art content creation lab/studio with an inhouse swimming pool to do a swim suit shoot or an underwater shoot or a whole bed room set for home furnishing shoot, a gaming room for sportswear or a terrace to give it a feel of an outdoor shoot, a space to create amazing set of images or videos without walking out for an outdoor shoot with the facilities build inhouse; this studio is the first of its kind and will be operational by the beginning of Aug’2020 depending on the Covid-19 situation, not to forget. Upcoming selective fashion and lifestyle influencers will get a chance to create their digital content and will be promoted on our upcoming platform.
  • Aiming to penetrate more than 50 plus curated brands in the next 1.5 years; Zashed is aspiring to see the company to be the top fashion and lifestyle Conglomerate of the country in the next five years being continued to work on inventory light strategy 
  • Zashed is all set to launch its own e-commerce app for B2B and B2C which will include all the in-house created labels; it will be an interactive content lead platform integrated with ZFT
  • We were already working on a concept and now the plan has taken the speed with all this time in hand. Implementing ZFT concept will incorporate the powerful trends in consumer shopping. This will help provide upselling opportunities at the right-place & right-time. ZFT will give customers ease of having touch and feel of retail but with the comfort of digital experience.
  • Zashed is all set to launch its own e-commerce app which will include all the in-house created labels; Zashed is emerging to become an online-to-offline platform for high-end fashion;

With US$ 200 billion by 2026, the offline plus online push Zashed fashion labels will continue to enchant the international customers.

Who support you to stand this business and how?

Mithun Bhardwaj – Me myself. No dependency, expectations as when the sun hides behind the clouds even your own shadow leaves you.

Independence as an entrepreneur is as much a gift as it is a burden. You generally get to make your own hours, but at the same time you must be self-motivated, there is no one to push you but yourself. Essentially, just like in life, you get what you give.

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