Chitra Aiyer 19 March, 2021
Welcome to NICE Conversations where we feature entrepreneurs and industry experts and hear their stories, have them share their learnings and benefit from their insights. Featuring business expert Anita Kathpalia, Managing Partner at ATK Consultants, as she talks about the business of craft retailing and working with artisans.
An MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, Anita has over 35 years of experience in operations, strategy and marketing from FMCG, Retail, Media, Telecom in India and Europe.
She was earlier the Chief of Markets and CFO at FabIndia where she worked on business models that provided sustained employment and income to over 12,000 craft persons and artisans. The model worked to enable sustainable socially responsible, profitable corporate activities.
She elaborates, “At FabIndia, we had a conscious business model, where we ensured that we kept the operating expense really low so that we were able to be a profitable business. We controlled ourselves at the retail end and we helped the craftspersons.”
“There was a huge amount of professionalism that was brought into the craft sector by FabIndia. It was remarkable.” Anita points out.
She highlights the importance of consistency in the retail sector. “You can’t do scale without consistency. An SKU has to be the same in all the stores. It can’t be different. No customer is going to accept that.”
As she elaborates on the multiple aspects of the crafts business – scaling up, customer relationships, working with artisans, retailing, experiences from going international and more. She shares her insights and firsthand experiences from the ground, in other words, the retail floor, on the following topics.
Anita is a NICE Friend and is part of the NICE Community.
FabIndia-Craftspersons A Symbiotic relationship
Building profitable scale, discipline and awareness
Handcrafted vs machine crafted
Ingredients of success: Team, Customers
Lessons from going international
Consistency and professionalism
Customer experience and insight
Online vs Offline
Working with artisans
Reducing leakage & pilferage
On furniture, organics and accessories
Future of crafts retailing
NICE and Brand India