27 Feb 2019 19:57 IST

Going back to basics may work for 7Weaves

It is imperative to improve 7Weaves’ product-value, marketing communication and distribution channel

Devendra Kumar


Mohit Upadhyay

According to a 2017 report by Global Fashion Agenda, the apparel industry’s climate impact is expected to increase 49 per cent by 2030. Enterprises like 7Weaves have much more to offer than just economic values. The concept of fair trade is widely being accepted and a conscious customer base is developing continuously.

Refine the model

A stable supply of yarn is essential for a large-scale commercial production and supply of garments to make it viable for scaling it up at a global level. Sustainable way of enhancing the scale of raw material is done by assuring the locals a stable source of income, access to knowledge and credit for their activities.

To achieve this, 7Weaves should organise rearers and spinners into a ‘cooperative’ to help each other enhance productivity and achieve scale. This cooperative can be an independent entity, however in collaboration with 7Weaves. Thus, they can source yarns from this cooperative instead of reaching out to each villager, individually.

Further, 7Weaves could explore the scope of value-addition in their finished product. Instead of supplying cloth to slow fashion industry clients, they can utilize ‘Eri silk’ for making traditional handloom sarees and shawls. The portfolio can be later expanded to handcrafted designer clothes, kids wear, etc. 7Weaves could train the local communities to make these value-added product and market it as premium slow fashionwear. Profit made from value-added products can be accounted separately and, a part of which can be shared with the labourers.

Communicating value proposition

It is imperative for 7Weaves to communicate the following unique value propositions to consumers, to offset their premium pricing and create positive brand salience.

1. Wear a better future: 7Weaves could use ‘Wear a better future’ as its tagline. This can be used as a social campaign than a marketing strategy, where it can be designed on their products. This would publicise the idea of sustainable clothing and the idea of profit-sharing to their customers.

2. Authentic, handcrafted: 7Weaves could start dispatching a certificate of authentication that verifies a 100 per cent Assam Eri silk is used in their products. The certificate must emphasise on the sustainable practice of the brand . This is in light of the pending geographic indicator approval for the Eri silk.

3. Know your dress-maker: 7Weaves can enhance customer engagement through a ‘know your dress-maker’ tag incorporated with their products. This tag will carry a description of the artisans who have worked on each dress.

4. Digital foot-print: 7Weaves needs to increase their digital media presence on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. They could use their experience on how they made the products and real-life stories of stakeholders to expand their digital presence. A website with the option to place an online order is required to reach the exisiting and potential customers.

Connecting global fashion brands: Follow these steps to market 7Weaves’s products effectively to global fashion brands —

  1. Communicate the value created for ‘slow’ fashion clients
  • Competitive pricing: The pricing of 7Weaves’s products is very competitive vis-à-vis global brands. This can be leveraged to strike favourable deals and partnerships with market leaders. 7Weaves can provide them with sourcing advantage from India at affordable rates, as well.
  • Inroads to the Indian market: 7Weaves shall propose an opportunity to tap into huge Indian and Asian market. This will be combined with huge Indian diaspora that will be positive towards 7Weaves owing to its Indian roots.
  • Authentic Eri silk from global ecological hotspot: Various attributes of product like thermal features of Eri silk to provide comfort in wide range of climate, authenticity of product, handcrafted in ecological hotspot etc need to be communicated explicitly.

2. Collaborating with fair trade organisations: 7Weaves should seek to associate with organisations such as World Fair Trade Organisation to build a strong presence and leverage —

  • Communicating value proposition of Ahimsa silk to Buddhism and Jainism prevalent areas. This would help in establishing a consumer base to further develop the brand.
  • Collaborate with fashion designers such as Sonam Dubal, who hail from Assam, to work with Eri silk. This shall lend more mainstream credibility to the brand.
  • Custom-made dresses: Participating in upcoming Berlin Fashion Week shall give a right direction for 7Weaves towards commercial acclaim. They can work with collaborators by designing custom-made dresses, which can be showcased at such exhibitions in the future.
  • Collaboration with e-commerce and retail partners: 7Weaves can partner with Amazon and Flipkart, where they have a leverage to use with the e-commerce giants’ platform and resources to sell their products.

It is most important to focus on the basics for 7Weaves to soar high. Therefore, it is imperative to improve their supplier base, product-value, marketing communication, networks and distribution channel.

(The fourth runners-up are first-year students at IIM Bangalore.)