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Lessons To Learn: Best and worst decisions of fashion CEOs

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In a world where customers are shifting a significant portion of their purchases from offline to mobile and online channels, the mantra for retailers is to embrace the change and capitalise on the virtues of digital commerce while maintaining their entity offline. The online medium has opened up huge new markets for businesses around the world. While e-commerce is a highly profitable industry, it has to be noted that launching both online and offline store and growing at both the mediums are two very different things.

IndiaRetailing spoke to CEOs to fashion retail, what were their best and worst decisions of their professional career which helped them to reach new heights. To get more such insights visit 20th India Fashion Forum.

Kishore Biyani, Chairman, Future Group

Best Decision of Your Professional Career – My best decision till date has been to keep moving with the flow.

Biggest Regret of Your Professional Career – One mistake that I always blame myself for is doing too many things at the same time, adding up too many variables in business and in life.

Salesh Grover, Business Head, OSL Luxury Collections Pvt. Ltd. – Corneliani

Best Decision of Your Professional Career – The best decision was the inception of OSL Luxury. In year 2012, OSL Company expanded and ventured into the Luxury Retail Segment with Corneliani SPA under the guidance of Chandan Mishra (Director – OSL Luxury Collections). Corneliani has grown into one of the world’s leading luxury menswear labels.

Biggest Regret of Your Professional Career – Every opportunity lost was a new lesson and growth opportunity for me.

Retail Stores Where You Shop From – I’m not too fussy about brands; I buy whatever I like and whatever catches my attention. My wardrobe ranges from premium to luxury. I love wearing formals and have wide selections of colors, fits, buttons etc. in my closet.

Anupam Bansal, MD Retail, Liberty Shoes

Best Decision of Your Professional Career – The best decision that we have taken till now is by ameliorating Healer, Leap 7X and Lucy & Luke. We have upgraded these brands to make my brand younger and comfortable. Apart from this, we fought with the challenges and have started approaching younger customers by making more youth-centric products.

Biggest Regret of Your Professional Career – We started making youth-friendly products very late and this is the biggest regret of my professional career. I personally think we could have done this earlier.

Retail Stores Where You Shop From – Berluti and Cole Haan are my personal favorite as these brands balance comfort and fashion really well.

Narinder Singh Dhingra, Chief Managing Director, Numero Uno

Best Decision of Your Professional Career – Getting into the denim business and establishing our own Indian brand ‘Numero Uno’ is one the best decisions of my life.

Biggest Regret of Your Professional Career – As we are more into menswear, we should have taken the women’s fashion more seriously. However, we are working to improve it and are launching new segments.

Retail Stores Where You Shop From – There is not ‘one’ store that I enjoy shopping from. I love the Double RL store in London but I enjoy buying off the street as well. It’s all about experiencing a joy that can come for many reasons and not just one.

Harkirat Singh, Managing Director, Aero Club (The maker of Woodland & WOODS)

Best Decision of Your Professional Career – The best decision of my life is to religiously work towards building a strong, motivated and happy team. You will be surprised in how many wondrous ways can a robust team advice and support you along with the brand.

Biggest Regret of Your Professional Career – Well I wouldn’t say regrets but I believe there is always scope for improvement. Even after successful completion of a task/activity/project, I always look back and see how we could have possibly done it better. This helps to plan better for future.

Retail Stores Where You Shop From – My personal liking and professional working has given me a passion to travel and shop and I have travelled across the globe and experienced a variety of shopping/ retail experiences. I have enjoyed traveling to places like Grand Bazaar, Istanbul (world’s largest and the oldest covered market). I also love traveling to select streets known for designer offerings across LA, Italy and France and shop exclusive products.

On domestic front, we keep improving the retail experience across the network of our stores and believe that to be one of the best.

Nathasha AR Kumar, Founder, Vajor

Best Decision of Your Professional Career – At the age of 17, I decided to embark on a journey to become an entrepreneur. That was the best decision of my life when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer used to be “A Business Woman”.

Biggest Regret of Your Professional Career – Not thinking about scale in early years of life. I realised my dreams, goals and targets were not big enough! I came from a thought that ‘Small is Beautiful’.

When I started growing in my entrepreneurial journey, my thoughts and plans were as big as the world I had built for myself. As I kept going ahead on my journey, I realised the world I had built had to expand towards becoming a universe.

Retail Stores Where You Shop From – Forest Essentials, because it’s one of the very few homegrown brands which has set high-standards in luxury ayurveda and the products are very high in quality.

Muji, for its 360 degree approach. The seamlessness of the brand comes from their scientific and design approach towards everything. From creation to operations and retail. They think about their consumer experience in detail and deliver.

Sachi Maker, Vice-President, Traworld

Best Decision of Your Professional Career – It is extremely essential for everyone to work and understand the ground level issues. I embraced that myself, to ensure that I was geared up for success, the right way. My first job was of a housekeeping assistant, which made me learn how to make beds, clean washrooms and provide top notch hospitality at the most basic level. This ‘basic’ and bottom level experience taught me a lot of things, and it definitely strengthened my relationship with peers, built my ground level communication and trained me to be an efficient leader. What you learn on that level, is what essentially makes you stronger when you reach great heights.

Biggest Regret of Your Professional Career – I have been a working woman since the time I graduated. My personal decision to halt my professional life to participate in my wedding preparations was something I feel I didn’t have to do. I lost 9 months of learning experience, and for me, learning is the most important attribute to any successful human being. Every day is a learning lesson, and although the wedding planning was a tedious task, I’m sure I could have managed that with my work smoothly.

Retail Stores Where You Shop From – I am a huge fan of Miniso. I think it has the best of both worlds, in terms of its products and the age group it targets. Its visual merchandising is extremely relatable and exactly on-point for the millennials and the times we live in today. A local favourite of mine is Sabyasachi. The vibe of the store instantly transports you to a different era of timelessness and vintage days. The use of deep reds and classic chandeliers, captivates you and makes you appreciate the brand even more and it’s attention to detail is also worth mentioning.

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