Clovia CEO on overcoming hurdles to ensure hyper business growth

By 2019, the women’s innerwear business will increase to 18% CAGR, making it the fastest-growing segment with a $9 billion opportunity.

During the Be Unstoppable, an HP for Business launch, Pankaj Vermani, MD and CEO, Clovia, shared his journey about how it began as a startup, and has now become a big name in women’s innerwear fashion.

The women innerwear fashion is not some regular apparel. It is a crazy numbers of sizes, and based on multiple body types. This is a big market, and a very challenging category of women’s fashion. By 2019, the women’s innerwear business will increase to 18% CAGR, making it the fastest-growing segment with a $9 billion opportunity.

The traditional ‘manufacturer mindset’ approach focuses only on few sizes and fits to manage working capital (inventory). It passes through a majority of margins in distribution, and also depends on the retailer for sales and consumer feedback (red alert). The traditional manufacturers try the shirt-approach on innerwear, and hit the ceiling fast. Also, they deal with cut-sizes and leftovers to further eat into your margins.

Web and use-of-tech changed traditional mindset

There are a lot of variations tried by Clovia. These are:

  • Making a lot of solutions and sizes for different body types
  • Tracking sales, and feedback from over 20 consumer aspects tracked.
  • Data fed into a replenishment engine.
  • Staying closer to the customer and listing to her.
  • Learn from the Internet and implement everywhere.
  • Develop tools to help the consumer make the right choices.

Here are the steps to follow: 

Get the right team and delegate: Having a good team is primary to drive your business. A strong team is the foundation of any business, and accountable for the success and smooth running of the company.

Have a crazy, positive attitude and positive people around you: Clovia has followed a process map, believing that it will work out, included planning, pricing and designing, quality assurance, production, warehousing and logistics, sales, and CRM/feedback.

Play to your strength and pick your battles: Affordable, premium fashion solution is at the back of technology. Clovia made a tech stack: from production management to reporting engines, including the frontend and feedback engine, further eliminating barriers to scale.

Have the right network or make one ASAP: Multiple battles lead to multiple expertise. Clovia now has an exclusive brand outlet with multi-brand outlets across the country through various channels like Myntra, Jabong, Amazon, Nykaa, Flipkart, etc.

Think big, and you can only get as far as you plan to: Thinking big is the key to accomplishing your biggest or most complicated goals. Just know where to start. 

Don’t burn out: Play the long-term game and enjoy what you do.

Always have a plan B: In case of pre-EMT cashflow challenges, be ready with a backup plan, if/when they come.

Vermani concluded, “Keep digging, till you find your gold, but be smart enough to know when to stop and pivot.”

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