The year 2020 was a year of uncertainties. It hit almost every industry and did not spare the fashion world too. Unlike every year, people in 2020 did not buy things they did not need. They resorted to minimalism, and it had a profound impact on the fashion industry.
A Boston Consulting Group report predicts sales will plummet by 15% in 2021 compared to 2019. If we look back, the crisis of 2008 had a massive impact on shaping the fashion industry, and we expect COVID-19 to be no different.
None of us predicted that face masks would be one of the accessories, let alone being the essential accessory for every wardrobe, it has become. The Met Gala, one of the precursors of the newest trends in the fashion world, got cancelled in 2020, but enthusiasts quickly adapted by switching to online trends.
In 2021, some pertinent questions surround the fashion industry in the grand scheme of things and remain unanswered to date. What will the post-COVID-19 fashion world look like? Will we see a platonic shift in buying patterns? Can brands tackle the changes in sentiment? Are people moving towards treating fashion a vanity more than a necessity? Is sustainable fashion sustainable at all? Does style seem pointless to the masses now?
COVID-19 brought an abrupt end to the cyclical fashion shows
With the beginning of the 20th Century, we have experienced fashion brands coming together to showcase their latest creation. Interactions like fashion shows had been the breeding space for fashion to be delivered after some months to its customers.
Because of the pandemic, shows like Russia, London, and Shanghai fashion weeks (a costly affair of physically displaying the latest trends) shifted online. Even most brands seeking to showcase their products to the end consumers ended up conducting fashion shows with no audience or releasing documentaries.
Burberry, a luxury brand known for hosting a packed runway show with a host of celebrities, opted for a de-glammed live stream on Twitch with over 42,000 viewers.
This move has not only saved millions of dollars for the premium brands, but has showcased the feasibility of such online endeavors. Drops, a common occurrence in the pre-COVID era, are unlikely to come back at full strength in the next few years.
“Digital shows will have a much lower carbon footprint than ordinary shows because people will not be flying thousands of miles from all over the world to go to shows,” exclaimed Linda Green, a sustainability expert.
Even otherwise, some experts are mulling digital shows as a long-term proposition as it lets the product be the hero, which is often not the case with physical shows. In the latter, we often focus on the person adorning them.
But it is imperative to understand the need to amalgamate the culture and the story with the product to make the result more convincing to the eye. It is an easy guess that we will see physical fashion shows, making a comeback in 2022 or about, but digital shows’ lingering impact will entice more brands to adopt it as their staple.
Remodelling fashion habits to make them more sustainable
In 2019, A McKinsey report suggested that sustainability would be one of the critical drivers for the fashion industry. 2020 further questioned our irresponsible moves and propelled the world to adopt a more constructive approach.
Clothing, especially for those who term themselves “fashionable” has always been about validation. In the last few centuries, these people have flourished and have been useful, primarily because of their status and conspicuous consumption. Today’s scenario is entirely different. These were also considered beneficial for signalling.
The year 2020 was confusing in every sense. Online meet-ups replaced physical ones, hugs went out of fashion, and the visible status symbols were not-so-visible during the period. Also, there must have been people flaunting their Rolex on a Meet call, but the percentage of such people was negligible.
The fashion industry had not experienced such a dearth of demand previously, and all they could do is reinvent the wheel to sustain.
Given the limited scope of travelling, they quickly realized an opportunity lying in inconspicuous consumption. The reignited focus on minimalism and simplicity led to the more sustainable ideas gaining traction and finding a place in many brands’ hearts.
It led to a slew of products focussed on sustainability, hitting the market in the space of a few months. These products also boosted local businesses and led to small businesses’ resurgence who were finding it hard to sustain in the pre-COVID era. The brands also pushed farmers and others in their pipeline to take up environment-friendly initiatives, such as growing organic cotton.
Another issue that demands attention is the fashion industry responsible for utilizing 93 billion cubic metres of water annually. It includes wastage in the form of overproduction and creating of deadstock. A Reverse Resources study reports brand wasting up to 47% of available raw material.
Those acquainted with this industry are no stranger to this practice, and the pandemic was the time for them to rejig their production habits and bring in more sustainability in the mix. Brands can utilize newer and more efficient tech such as Blockchain and IoT and create a circular economy supply chain less prone to wastage.
A renewed focus on local output
With so much waste being a ritual in the fashion industry, the focus on recycling and valorization is an ordinary happening. Even though many brands engage in exporting the rejected material, local recycling endeavours are a more sustainable approach in the long run. It prevents the brands from unnecessarily high transportation costs and the resulting emissions.
The pandemic has again been an eye-opener of sorts. It showcased the missed opportunity, especially places that lack local finesse and resort to an informal economy for their needs.
The pandemic has also forced brands to an on-demand approach. It helps brands cut down on withholding costs, upfront cash needs, and reduce deadstock chances. They become far better equipped to react with the customer’s pulse and swiftly adapt to the changing conditions.
The governments all over the world have also propelled local production by introducing several measures. For example, – The Indian Government introduced #VocalforLocal and #Aatmanirbhar initiatives to boost rural production. These measures would give the necessary boost to propel the local output to garner more attention.
Fashion will see a congregation of comfort and workwear
I have come across people who could never imagine wearing casuals on a workday. I am pretty sure you have had such experiences to share too. The most significant change that Coronavirus has brought about is casualization. With workplaces shutting down and people stuck in their homes, the meetings would go on without people batting an eyelid on what the attendees wore.
It has broadened the acceptance level and supercharged the inculcation of casual wear in office lives. Even if we look into the sales figure, casual clothing was one of the bright spots for the fashion industry during the pandemic months. The brands have adapted to the change well and have shifted gears to increase their focus on comfort and clothes worn across situations.
For example, Rent the Runway, a brand staunchly known for designer workwear, has now added a “Work from Home” that includes track pants, stretch denim, rocker tees, and more.
The pandemic also blurred the lines between downtime and work. From working to burning calories to managing a kid, everything was happening without a time bracket. We were so used to it, which impacted how we see athleisure and comfort clothing. It resulted in the creation of Athleisure 2.0, an idea that covered everything and seemed comfortable across the board.
Even though we are back to a new normal, we see no reason for a reduced focus on comfort-first across all forms of clothing. “The comfort factor and a more fluid approach to work and leisure have all played their role. We’ve seen iterations of it in the past, but now, as performance fabrics become more sophisticated, they’re better adapted to bridge the gap between work and leisure.” – exclaims Jessica Harman, strategist, WGSN.
We could finally see an end of fashion seasons
There were certain aspects of the fashion industry that were in a bubble and were waiting to disintegrate. One of such terms and practices is fashion season. It seemed unviable for both the manufacturers and the end-users. But high street brands and even consumer brands were adhering to it, anyway. The major problem being unsold inventory and less-than-optimum usage of the sold items.
The past year saw a tremendous decline in demand because of the current situation resulting in the brand sitting on a stockpile of clothing with no buyers. These suffered from a loss of months and finally losing a chunk of its price tag as the year went by, and that irked brand managers.
Another major trouble with this idea was consumers finding it difficult to relate to the fashion and their pertinent worries about the short shelf life. The higher emphasis on digital marketing has also been an indirect push towards non-seasonal trends. The new-age fashionistas are more inclined towards fashion that will stand the test of time and not erode within a few months.
The pandemic has also reiterated the importance of minimalism. The obnoxiously high cost of sifting to new clothes every few days now seems to be a glaring mistake for many. The industry has traditionally followed four different seasons, which are often not in sync with the actualities.
For example, if we are experiencing winter in the USA, it can be summer in India. The growing digitization drive means brands are looking to cater to the world instead of specific regions. So they have, inadvertently, been planning to shift to something more meaningful.
Fashion designer Sanjay Garg, Founder, Raw Mango exclaims, “One should look at this opportunity as a filter to edit offerings across the globe — there is too much already out there. Following trends and seasons dissolves everything in sustainability and organic fashion. Instead, focus on innovation and explore the ways of how one can have a different voice and can sustain growth.”
Instead of offering a bucket load of clothes every few months, the new-age fashion designers quickly anticipate the need to make products available digitally. That way, many people will have instant access to whatever they are trying to sell. Even for brands looking to change the way the industry operated and were looking for the right opportunity, there is no better time.
Health-first is the way for the fashion industry
Probably the post-pandemic world will experience a paradigm shift in both buying patterns and how we see fashion. The pressing issues that have long been repressed have started surfacing, and the world is becoming more aware of every passing day.
The precarious situation has also forced people to look for their health first and then cater to their fashion needs. As facemasks reign high, we expect people to put more emphasis on a sustainable and ethical wardrobe that looks beautiful.
The same idea will also rule the way we choose our fashion brands. We expect the ones who foresee the shift and quickly adapt to it being the biggest winners, not only in terms of numbers but also loyalty. Given the scenario we are in, every small step towards sustainability would affect future generations’ well-being.
The move towards necessity over vanity had already begun, the introduction of the unwanted pandemic only supercharged it, and in the right way.
Private Company vs Public Company
The difference is more than literal
Do you know why you cannot buy shares of a private company?
So, can you only buy shares of a public company like ONGC, IRCTC, Indian Oil, etc.?
Then why are the shares of private companies like Infosys and Wipro listed on the stock exchange? Are these private companies to begin with?
Do you know a private company cannot have more than 200 members?
OMG! Somebody please answer all these questions.
Yes, the difference is more than literal.
Let us have a cut and dried distinction between a private and a public company.
Definition of Company
Let us take the bull by its horns and get the definitions out from the textbooks.
Companies Act 2013
A company is a legal entity that is formed by different individuals to generate profits through their commercial activities.
Majorly, a company can be classified into two strands- public company and private company.
Before knowing the difference between a public company and a private company, it is of utmost importance to check on the definitions of a public company and a private company as per the Companies Act 2013.
According to the Companies Act, 2013, a “public company” is a company which—
(a) is not a private company
(b) has a minimum paid-up share capital of five lakh rupees
According to Section 2(68) of the Companies Act, 2013, private companies are those companies whose articles of association restrict the transferability of shares and prevent the public at large from subscribing to them.
According to the Companies Act 2013, a public company has to mandate all legal proceedings which are not mentioned in the definition under Section 2(68) of the Companies Act, 2013, which pertain to a private company.
Difference Between a Public And Private Company
Let’s look at all the major pointers which differentiate a public Company and a private company.
Minimum Number of Members
In a public company, a minimum of 7 members is required to form a company; whereas a private company requires at least 2 members to form a company.
Maximum Number of Members
In a private company, a maximum of 200 members can be present to form a company; whereas in a public company there is no such restriction on the maximum number of members to form a public company.
Invitation To Public
A public company can freely invite the public for subscription, which implies it can issue a prospectus. On the other hand, a public company is prohibited from inviting the public for its share capital, which means a private company cannot issue a prospectus.
Number Of Directors
In a private company, a minimum of 2 directors is required; whereas in a public company, a minimum of 3 directors is required.
Transferability Of Shares
There is no restriction on transferability of shares in a public company; whereas in a private company there are complete restrictions on transferability of shares, through its article of association.
A public company must disclose the annual financial report; whereas for a private company, there is no such obligation to disclose their annual report to the public.
Index Of Members
In a public company, it is mandatory to maintain an index of all members in the company, whereas in a private company, it is not needed to maintain the index of its members.
The minimum paid-up capital for a private company is Rs. 1 lakhs; whereas the minimum paid-up capital for a public company is greater than that of a private company. It is Rs. 5 lakhs for a public company.
In case of a public company, it is defined that total managerial remuneration cannot exceed 11% of net profits and in the case of inadequate profit, the maximum amount to be paid is Rs. 87,500. Whereas in a private company there is no such restriction on the maximum cap for directors’ remuneration.
Quorum For Meetings
In the case of a public company, it is mandatory to have a personal presence of five members in a meeting to constitute quorum, whereas in a private company, it requires a minimum of two members to maintain a quorum for meetings.
Below is an array with a list of pointers that differentiates a public company and a private company.
|S.NO||BASIS||PUBLIC COMPANY||PRIVATE COMPANY|
|1||MINIMUM MEMBERS||AT LEAST 7 MEMBERS||AT LEAST 2MEMBERS|
|2||MAXIMUM MEMBERS||NO MAXIMUM LIMIT||CAN’T EXCEED 200 MEMBERS|
|3||INVITATION TO PUBLIC FOR SHARE CAPITAL||POSSIBLE WITH THE HELP OF PROSPECTUS||CAN’T INVITE PUBLIC FOR ITS SHARE|
|4||NUMBER OF DIRECTORS||MINIMUM OF 3 DIRECTORS||MINIMUM OF 2 DIRECTORS|
|5||TRANSFERABILITY OF SHARES||FREELY TRANSFERABLE||RESTRICTIONS ON TRANSFERABILITY|
|6||ANNUAL REPORT||COMPULSORY TO SUBMIT ANNUAL REPORT TO ROC||NOT A MANDATE TO SUBMIT ANNUAL REPORT TO ROC|
|7||INDEX OF MEMBERS||MAINTAINING INDEX OF MEMBERS IS MANDATE||NO NEED TO MAINTAIN INDEX OF MEMBERS|
|9||DIRECTORS/MANAGERIAL REMUNERATION||CANNOT EXCEED 11% OF NET PROFIT||NO LIMIT / NO RESTRICTIONS|
|10||QUORUM FOR MEETINGS||5||2|
“The best investment is in the tools of one’s own trade.”- Benjamin Franklin
It is always better to be well versed with the tools of one’s own trade and the management of the inflows and outflows.
An avid tradesman associates their trade to generate profits and simplify the trade complexities by forming a company. These differences stated above lay down the basics of companies and form a guided path for a better approach to start with a company.
Here Is Why Entrepreneurs Should Go Out and Start Networking
Don’t hide behind. Face your circles. It’s high time you start networking.
We have often watched Hindi films where protagonists aspire to be a rich men as a kid. And hence they start thinking of different business ideas to be successful.
Well, this happens in reality as well. Who doesn’t dream of starting their own business one day, right?
However, business is not as easy as eating a piece of cake. And no, you don’t need to have a Ph.D. or an MBA degree to start a business.
You just need to have clarity of thoughts; about the business idea, sales and marketing, and most importantly, NETWORKING.
Today, everyone needs everything. The circle of needs and demands has become wider. Everything in entrepreneurship is becoming more interconnected. Just like the Past, Present, and Future in the web series “Dark”.
Networking is the one and only way to get to know what’s around you. From having conversations with your parents to your fruit vendors or even your house helps, you never know what brings you to the peak of your business.
We will share our two cents to convince you enough to go out and start networking if you are a budding entrepreneur. Pardon us if these two cents become 4 or more, but you will definitely not regret reading this till the end.
Entrepreneurship And Networking
The first thing that any budding entrepreneur does, while starting their own business, is to spread the word about it.
The first set of people that they talk to are their family, friends, and even banks (for financial purposes). Although these efforts may or may not materialize into something fruitful, you learn a thing or two about the ABCs of networking.
Networking is one way to get clarity of thoughts about your business. It’s like building a blueprint of your business in mind. You not only know the industry better but also get to know the loopholes and healthy shortcuts that will save time and increase efficiency.
In the ABCs of business, “A” stands for “recognizing the needs and expectations of people around you.”
Networking is the first step to recognize the gap between demand and supply. It’s similar to providing electricity to those areas with no light, and the idea and motivation behind it.
So now that you are still reading, let’s go further and discuss the importance of networking in entrepreneurship:
Builds Trust And Respect
You may or may not earn money every day from your business. But once you earn trust and respect in the market, there is no way that people will forget you easily.
It’s a fact.
Earning money is easy.
But earning trust and respect takes more effort.
Networking with your business peers or veterans will get you noticed. Initially, you won’t find them paying heed to you, but once they do, they are never going to leave you.
People believe in aggressive marketing to increase sales and business. But try aggressive networking instead, and there will be no stopping for you in the future.
Remember, making friends in schools and colleges? It’s a similar situation in entrepreneurship, too.
Going social is one way you get confidence in networking with people in the future.
Did you ever come across someone who would go to a restaurant with you and start talking to the waiters and receptionists?
Well, you may feel awkward about it, but that’s their first step to get to know the surrounding market.
Start from a party that you attend, be it a family party or a party with friends. Join a group of your choice and listen to the conversations. Once you get the grip of it, start by putting forth your views and then turn it around to your business idea. This may look boring and slow, but slow and steady will definitely win the race.
Today, there are many millennial-made apps, like Bumble, LinkedIn, etc. that encourage people to build an entrepreneurial network in any industry of their choice. Start posting. Start swiping right to the connections that interest you.
For that matter, you can even join dating apps to build professional connections. Your first conversation about your business will be a good ice-breaker (You’ll thank us later for this pro tip).
Don’t Be Selective In Your Own Circles
A very common mistake that most “choosy” or “picky” people do, is being very selective in deciding who to network with.
Today, almost all industries are interconnected. A top-class hospital will always need catering or food services for their staff and patients. A hotel will always want to have options for good clothes vendors for room and restaurant linen.
So if you limit yourself to one or two industries, and sideline others, chances are that you may lose a lot of opportunities.
Expand yourself. Even if you are not sure about it at first. Take that first call that says “our budget is low”, when you know that you have a different area of expertise to explore.
Your Shyness And Fear Will Only Put You Behind The Race
Entrepreneurship requires you to go “out-of-your-circles” more than going “out-of-the-box”.
You are likely to face uncomfortable situations all the time. You have to become an extrovert if you are a highly introverted person. You can’t hide from people who you dislike. You can’t say goodbye to those people whom you are done working with.
Your fear, your shyness will start putting you behind the race of a successful entrepreneur.
You have to be outspoken. Pave your way and lead it too. Take others along the way and build a huge business “family”.
Remember Abhishek Bachchan in the film “Guru”?
No, you need not be exactly like him, but you are expected to know why to be like him. And take your own decisions from the existing lessons.
It’s A Long Road That Will Definitely Lead You To Your Vision
Networking is a continuous process. You don’t stop after a certain level of achievement.
Starting a business is not enough, you have to keep it running. And for that purpose, you may need to explore your potential networks.
It’s often expected from budding entrepreneurs to network only with business-minded people to start and run a business successfully. What they don’t realize is that business is made by people, for people, and with people.
So start networking – whether virtually, or face-to-face. Get that business idea in place, get started with your plans, and you will surely reach a place where you can write “successful entrepreneur” in your social media bio.
2021’s India Is Atmanirbhar: 10 Desi Unicorn Startups
With 10 startups joining the unicorn club in just 4 months of 2021, is India moving towards Atmanirbhartha?
The Many Firsts of a Fantastic First Quarter of 2021!
The Indian startup ecosystem got an impressive start in the first quarter of 2021. As per Venture Intelligence, Indian startups witnessed the highest investment in two years, and the capital flow was $4.2 billion!
This is not all.
Most of the startups saw a three-fold hike in valuation in their recent funding rounds. And among these, 10 got valued at more than $1 billion.
And hence, the Indian startup ecosystem received its new set of unicorns.
The unicorn story of 2021 is unique.
Because it is the one with many firsts.
The first health tech, social commerce, e-pharmacy, and infrastructure technology that made its way into the unicorn club.
According to the NASSCOM report, India will have 50 unicorns by the end of 2021.
But many industry experts and research firms believe that, if the current rate continues, India would easily surpass this number.
Here is the list of 10 Indian startups that gave 2021 a pleasant start.
- Digit Insurance
- Five Star Business Finance
The Beginning of Unicorn
If you know any entrepreneur personally, you may have an idea how difficult it is to raise the funds for a startup. It is definitely not a cakewalk.
The fundraising usually begins with family and friends. And as the company expands, it approaches angel investors, and then goes for the venture capitalists for the fund acquisition.
Even though it is a tough task for any startup to gain the investors’ confidence, some horses pass this race and achieve the unicorn tag.
For those who are new to the concept of unicorn, it is a startup that has a valuation of $1 billion or more in the venture capital industry. And Aileen Lee, the founder of Cowboy Ventures, coined the term ‘unicorn’ in 2013.
And since then, startups are continuously striving to attain this prestigious status.
India Didn’t Have a Great Start
When Aileen Lee coined the term ‘unicorn’ in 2013, the United States had 39 unicorns.
You may ask, what about India?
There was only one company called InMobi, the mobile-advertising services provider, that could make it to the unicorn club.
India was nowhere closer to the US in the matter of unicorns. The reasons were many:
- Limited funding
- Inadequate infrastructure
- A plethora of social and cultural challenges
- Lack of talent
- College students found entrepreneurship unappealing compared to the management jobs in large IT firms.
- The aspiring entrepreneurs often got rejected by the prospective brides and their families.
India Slowly Picked Up the Pace
Even though India’s unicorn story had a not-so-brilliant start, the current scenario looks promising.
As per Venture Intelligence data, there were only 10 unicorns until 2018, and since then, there has been the addition of 28 unicorns.
For an Indian startup, on average, it would take up to 8 years to turn into a unicorn.
India’s oldest startups, like Naukri.com, MakeMyTrip, and Justdial, which began its operation prior to 2005, took 15 years to achieve the unicorn title.
But this period has shrunk in recent times.
A recent report by Orios Venture Partners shows that the newer technology firms are hitting the billion-dollar mark in less time than their older counterparts.
The younger enterprises such as Swiggy, Rivigo, Razorpay, and Unacademy joined the unicorn club in 5 years on average. Whereas, Udaan, Ola, Electric, and Glance took just 2.4 years!
What could be the reason for this transition?
As per the Orios Venture Partners report, the reason behind the younger startups turning unicorn sooner could be:
- The prior entrepreneurship experience of the founders of these companies
- These founders know how to secure the funds more efficiently
- The growth mindset
There are two other reasons the investors from India, and all over the world, are backing the Indian startups with their funds:
- Indian startups leveraged the changing consumer behavior and quickly tweaked themselves to satisfy the needs of the customers
- These companies started functioning on the fact that “Focus on the market and the customers will ensure your growth”
Will ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ Soon Be a Reality?
India’s honorable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, raised a clarion call to the country to be self-reliant, aka Atmanirbhar in all senses.
He also outlined the five pillars of Atmanirbhar Bharat:
- Demography, and
You may ask, how startups can help in making India self-reliant?
The Indian startup ecosystem had a slow and steady evolution from one sector to the other, ranging from IT/ITES to e-commerce, deep technology to hyper delivery networks.
Today, startups also have the most favorable conditions to survive and flourish, starting from the funding, development of regulatory infrastructure, global mergers and acquisitions, the influx of global investors to internationalization.
Do you know what brought this revolution to the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem?
It is the government’s mission to get as many entrepreneurial stories as possible through its programs like Startup India, Stand up India, Digital India, and Vocal for Local.
And the unicorn forms one-tenth of new industries coming into existence every year.
The increase in the number of tech unicorns is driving the investors’ interest in India’s startup ecosystem.
According to a report by NASSCOM, the startups in the technology field alone have created 60,000 direct jobs in 2019.
These data show that, if more startups come into existence, and get support from the investors and from the government, India could see a greater spike in job opportunities.
Atmanirbhar citizens make Atmanirbhar Bharat, don’t you agree?