By Muhammad Riaz Usman-The She Factor Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Entrepreneur Gomathy Ramaswamy says that the dynamics of her business have changed a lot over the years and she has shifted her focus to sustainable fashion. She says, "Just like the food we consume needs to be organic, the clothes we wear also need to be organic and sustainable."
Passionate for adventure sports and believing in the philosophy of living life to the fullest, Gomathy Ramaswamy, founder and managing director of Concord Ventures Group, has been living in the UAE for past 22 years.
Her stint with entrepreneurship began when she first moved to the UAE in 1997, helping her husband set up a garments business. Since then, there has been no looking back.
"The company was established in 1998. The idea was to provide fast fashion solutions to our customers. The trends seen on fashion shows were translated to saleable goods in-store within 60 to 75 days. We were one of the first companies to provide this services to high-street brands in Europe," Gomathy recalls.
Catering to mid and premium brands like Next, Zara, H&M, Lypsy and several other private labels, Gomathy's Concord Ventures Group has now been a one-stop-shop-solution for retails brands.
The UAE-based group, which started as a 10-member team, now employ more than 2,000 people and has a presence in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, China and London. Right from designing to sourcing, manufacturing and shipping the group offers apparels and garments for men, women and children.
"The UAE is developing to be a fashion capital and our strategy here is to provide design and manufacturing solutions to established and upcoming local and regional designers," Gomathy says.
She says that the dynamics of the business has changed a lot over the years and she has shifted her focus to sustainable fashion.
"We are proficient in sourcing sustainable, recycled and eco-friendly fabrics. Outside the UAE we have bigger and volume-based manufacturing units. And most of our factories are environment-friendly and support rural employment," she says. "Sustainable fashion is the way forward as slowly but steadily the world is moving towards a more conscious consumption of consumer goods including clothing. Just like the food we consume needs to be organic, the clothes we wear also needs to be organic and sustainable. We are working towards providing a comprehensive solution to this need of sustainable fashion," she explains.
"The clothing industry is the second-largest polluting industry in the world. And with the impending damage this does to the environment it is very important that we as active partners in this supply chain become conscious of this fact and do our bit to reduce and eliminate the pollution," Gomathy continues.
"Hence, we are moving towards conscious sourcing from responsible sources, manufacturing only through audited and compliant units and offering more sustainable and ecofriendly clothing range to our customers."
Gomathy believes that the UAE offers a very conducive environment for startup companies.
"The process of setting up a company is very simple and quick and hassle-free. The infrastructure and facilities are world class. The strategic location, very low taxation, tech support are great encouragements for setting up startups here," she says.
In near future, Gomathy is planning to explore the opportunities in the e-commerce sector.
"This is where our industry is going to be focused in the next few years. Brick and mortar stores are rapidly being replaced by online stores. This is a sector where even though we are already present, we want to invest, grow and establish ourselves well within the next two to three years," she says.
Advising young entrepreneurs Gomathy says mentoring is the most crucial part of entrepreneurial journey.
"Being an entrepreneur is very exciting and also very challenging at the same time," she says.
"Many a times we are fighting a very lonely battle. And only a fellow entrepreneur can relate and understand how the journey is. This is where the Entrepreneurs' Organisation plays a very important role in my entrepreneurial journey. Since I have joined EO, it has become my support system, mentoring space and second family." --