This Gurgaon based fashion tech startup is solving the challenges for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the fashion and apparel industry.
Small businesses in the fashion industry need to deal with multiple challenges, and a majority of them have been constantly grappling with drastically reduced liquidity, disrupted supply chains, and loan related challenges. Such SMEs usually lack the technical expertise to connect with brands and to communicate effortlessly, and their traditional approaches reduce their operational efficiency.
Fashinza empowers SMEs by equipping them to work directly with national and international clothing brands instead of having to depend on big exporters. They also help SMEs to manage their orders on a single platform, which becomes a single source of communication. The platform improves their own efficiency by optimizing the utilization of their resources.
The Tech Panda spoke to Abhishek Sharma, COO and Co-Founder at Fashinza, who believes apparel exports are a supply first market and there is infinite demand for reliable supply.
The vision was to democratize the fashion supply chain to make it faster, more flexible, and sustainable using technology and machine learning
“Our aim is to build Indian SMEs as reliable apparel suppliers and strengthen them both in terms of capability and capacity. We will focus more on improving demands for India’s core strengths in terms of manufacturing, which includes handiwork and embroidery, while simultaneously building new capabilities based upon the demand in the global market, like for activewear, athleisure wear, and other categories,” he says.
Origin and Inspiration
Headquartered in Gurugram, Fashinza was founded by serial entrepreneurs and IIT Delhi graduates, Sharma and Pawan Gupta in 2020. During a trip to Jaipur in 2019, both co-founders became acutely aware of the huge role played by women in the traditional apparel industry, which flourishes in Jaipur.
We wanted to work for the upliftment of an industry, which is possibly the greatest employment generator for women in the country
“The epiphany piqued our interest, and we wanted to work for the upliftment of an industry, which is possibly the greatest employment generator for women in the country. We were already familiar with the challenges faced by Indian SMEs owing to their lack of technical know-how, and we wanted to create solutions for the traditional problems that plague the apparel industry,” Sharma recalls.
They agreed that a digital intervention was long due, and this inspired them to start Fashinza.
“The vision was to democratise the fashion supply chain to make it faster, more flexible, and sustainable using technology and machine learning,” he adds.
Fashinza helps global brands to work with the lowest MOQs in the industry and have fast turnarounds. MOQs are the minimum quantity of items a manufacturer will accept for a production order.
As of January 2021, the startup has ten ethical manufacturing partners located in Jaipur and Tirupur. They have successfully raised US$2.6 million in seed round of funding from Accel Partners and Elevation Capital. They expect to raise their next round of funding soon.
We are unique in certain ways, for instance, we use a tech-driven approach to solve all supply chain problems through a single platform
“We are a manufacturing platform helping clothing brands to source their products, and we provide all round service to the brands by taking care of everything – finding manufacturers, sourcing raw materials, sampling, production, quality check and delivery – through a single digitized platform,” Sharma says.
As such, their major competitors in the industry are the buying houses and factories that sell directly to brands and agencies, which work as intermediaries. A platform, similar to theirs even though not a direct competitor, is Supply Compass.
“Our innovative approach has been extremely helpful in dealing with competitors. We are unique in certain ways, for instance, we use a tech-driven approach to solve all supply chain problems through a single platform. We cater to every individual need of customers, and we provide them with absolute control and visibility with respect to production,” he explains.
“We have simplified sourcing, making it possible to launch a new collection with a few simple clicks. We believe these factors have really endeared us to our clients,” he adds proudly.
Merging the Manufacturing and Service Sectors, Especially for MSMEs
It is common to see mergers and acquisitions in the textile and clothing sectors as the landscape of the industry undergoes changes. To survive the uncertain crises of the pandemic and to take advantage of the various schemes under the MSMEs umbrella, Sharma says that the merging of the manufacturing and service sectors is required.
“The transformation will strengthen the clothing industry: brands will definitely benefit from this since a customer-centric approach will be one of the outcomes of these mergers. At the same time, manufacturers will be at an advantage because a steady flow of demand is expected to result from such mergers,” he concludes.