End the year on a green note
Kapil Bhatia, CEO and Founder of UNIREC, a brand under the umbrella of parent company Brandstore India Pvt Ltd, talks about its founding and how the company has coped with the challenges of the pandemic. UNIREC is a brand that manufactures clothing, work clothes / uniforms from recycled PET bottles.
Tell us how 2021 has gone for business.
For the fashion industry and other businesses around the world, 2020 has changed everything. Due to the surge in COVID cases, the industry has had to move its operations offline to online and automate most of them. In such a turbulent environment, we as a fashion brand have stepped up our supply chain management and focused more on product offerings, collection reduction and profitability. Therefore, the year 2021 has been a roller coaster with the company taking a new shape and adjusting to the new normal, but we have come out better and stronger.
Highlight a key opportunity that you saw during the year and how you made the most of it.
Initially, like most clothing companies, even we started to make fabric masks more from a survival perspective than a business opportunity. However, over time we have made this business a full-fledged vertical and have sold over half a million masks since then.
In addition, with the increase in the use of disposable products like masks, gloves, PPE kits and plastic bottles, we decided to launch UNIREC, where we manufacture clothing made from recycled pet bottles. . We understand that consumer behavior in terms of using the above products will not change overnight. But, at least, the awareness to offset the use of plastic products is there now, which is why the need for sustainable products has increased.
Please explain the challenges encountered during the year and how you overcame them.
The biggest challenge we have faced this year has been the change in fashion trends. We have seen a sharp increase in the number of consumers looking for sustainable fashion. Recycled products and low-end comfy clothing became all the rage as most people stayed at home and even worked remotely. We have taken this trend into consideration and formulated strategies to meet customer demands and also respond to the transformation of the entire fashion industry.
What do you think has been the most significant trend this year in terms of consumer behavior, technology and marketing?
Comfortable clothing was by far the biggest sartorial trend this year. Formal wear saw a slowdown in the first half of the year, but as things opened up there has been huge demand in this space as consumers are ready to buy clothes they wouldn’t have bought otherwise. over the past two years.
With a new variant of COVID-19, business may again be affected. If you agree, please indicate how well prepared you are for such disruptions. What is the action plan?
With the new variant on the horizon, we’re well prepared for the same. We will continue to follow precautionary measures and government directives as we do now. In addition, if the country sees an increase in the number of cases, we plan to be aggressive online and have fewer working hours, while simultaneously waiting for the government and health officials to come up with a cure or a solution. strict precautionary plan for businesses and individuals to follow. .
This year, people were competing to shop. But do you think that in 2022 the sales (online / offline / both) will be as impressive as in 2021?
In our experience, the year 2022 will see an increase in online shopping. With a new COVID-19 variant in place, businesses as well as customers will not continue to stay at home but will find a middle way to work from home as well as in the office environment. Most importantly, industries and we plan to formulate a solid plan with supply chain, inventory management, delivery cycle, product manufacturing, etc., in place with the right customer data so that we can Serve them without any problem over the coming year and learn from our mistakes that have happened this year.