Decoding the trends that shaped the MSME sector in 2021 and other top stories of the week

This week SMBStory also covered the stories of RedRose Garments, a 44-year-old innerwear brand and KutchiBazaar, an ecommerce platform for products procured from Kutch, Gujarat.
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2021 paved the way for several new trends. One of them being how shopping experience has changed considerably in the last 21 months.

Last year, offline stores remained shut during the lockdown, except for the ones dealing in essential items. This resulted in ecommerce growing at an all time high pace in India,with order volume increasing by 36 percent in the last quarter of 2020. From personal care, fashion, and grocery, consumers took to buying everything online.

However, as the market opened up in 2021, it didn’t take long for customers to resort back to the offline mode of shopping, flocking to stores as soon as they could. 

The pandemic also saw the rise of many D2C (direct-to-consumer) brands in India, witnessing phenomenal growth by having an ‘online-only’ sale strategy. But, entrepreneurs believe that the experience shopping will never go out of fashion, and these same D2C brands are now gearing up to foray into physical retail. Even traditional brands are aiming to expand their offline presence. 

The year 2022 is expected to shape up the physical retail market to give customers a 360-degree experience. Here are five trends that will shape offline retail in 2022 and beyond. 

Read the full story here.

Helping MSMEs become future-proof

This week, SMBStory also spoke to a couple of industry experts to understand what worked for small and medium businesses (SMBs) in 2021, and how these trends can help them become future-proof. 

Some of the trends decoded are-

  • The exponential growth of digital payments 
  • The rise of digital book-keeping and accounting solutions
  • The shift from eligibility to intent-based lending
  • The rapid increase in automation
  • The emergence of D2C and ecommerce as drivers of growth

Read the full story here.

Other stories of the week-

KutchiBazaar

Sufiyan and Juned Khatri together built an ecommerce website showcasing varied crafts of Kutch including Ajrakh, Bandhani, Batik, Shibori, and Bhujodi in the form of fabrics, suits, stoles, sarees, accessories, and home furnishings. 

Speaking to SMBStory, Juned says they procure products from Kutch artisans giving them credit for their work. 

In just over nine months, KutchiBazaar has got decent response from the market, getting around 900-950 orders a month, and Juned claims that the return rate of the customers is 10-15 percent. 

“Though the return rate is lesser compared to industry standards, as we are operating on a smaller scale in comparison to other portals, we are doing fairly well,” he adds. 

KutchiBazaar products are also sold internationally. Sufiyan asserts that they are making the best use of digital media and marketing by making videos of their products, helping customers understand how the fabric is weaved and block printing is done.

The company sources fabrics locally from India and weaves in its own facility in Ajrakhpur to make the finished product. 

KutchiBazaar’s monthly revenue is around Rs 20- Rs 25 lakh. So far, the founders have together invested Rs 50 lakh as bootstrapped capital and the company is now in talks to list its products on Amazon and Mirraw. 

Read the full story here.

RedRose Garments

Once considered a taboo topic to discuss, lingerie shopping has come a long way in India. 

Lingerie is no longer a basic need but has become a fashionable product, says Monal Vora, second-generation entrepreneur, who is currently leading the Mumbai-based women’s innerwear brand, RedRose Garments.

RedRose was started in 1977 by Chandubai Vora and his brothers — Dhiraj, Ramesh, Sailesh, and Mahesh. Monal, who joined the business in 2016, is Dhiraj’s son. 

Speaking about the inception of the company, Monal says that his uncle, Chandubai, came to Mumbai from Kutch in the early 1970s in search of better opportunities. He soon called his other brothers to the city as well. They did odd jobs to survive in the city and mostly worked in garment factories and shops. 

“Their connections in the industry grew and they also realised that there was an absence of quality women’s innerwear products in the market,” says Monal. This led to the inception of RedRose Garments. Monal says the Vora brothers invested their savings in the business, and over the years, also took loans to buy equipment and land. 

Today, RedRose manufactures and sells a variety of products such as night suits, underwear, petticoats, bathrobes, saree shapers, and more for women. It has a presence in 27,000 retail outlets and is working towards building a sizable online customer base. 

In an interaction with SMBStory, Monal highlights the company’s strategies to stay relevant after 44 years in the business.

Read the full story here.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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