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A Brand Where Sustainability Meets Quality Products: An Interview with Mr. Vasanth Kumar, DaMENSCH
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A Brand Where Sustainability Meets Quality Products: An Interview with Mr. Vasanth Kumar, DaMENSCH

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DaMENSCH - Making Sustainable Fashion Available to All

Vice President of Sourcing and Merchandising at DaMENSCH, Mr. Vasanth Kumar, talks to Fashionza about his day at work. He talks about the sourcing and supply chain challenges the brand faces, and how they are oh-so-particular about sustainability and compliance. He also shares the brand's take on managing competition, new products in the pipeline, and more. Sticking to sustainable fashion in the world of fast fashion is rare. DaMENSCH has been doing the same since its conception. Without further ado, let's take a look at the journey of Mr. Vasanth Kumar at DaMENSCH, a technology-based premium innerwear and essential wear brand.

What does your day at DaMENSCH look like as Vice President, Sourcing and Merchandising?

It is pretty challenging with so many different aspects of the business to deal with - from having the supply chain intact to ensuring deliveries, production planning, production, and weekly planning are in place.

As a part of the fashion industry, we keep upgrading our products and look forward to the daily challenges. We also closely monitor customer complaints, suggestions, and queries and attend to them promptly. For us, customer satisfaction is above all. It keeps us moving in the supply chain.

Can you tell us about the challenges you face in supply chain and sourcing, and how you overcame those?

Well, We do a lot of high-quality and technology-oriented essentials for men at DaMENSCH. Considering that, we face challenges that almost every brand comes across, including price fluctuations, being consistent on quality, and checking for consistency across the supply chain - both in terms of quality and quantity.

As far as quality is concerned, we are very selective. We have a set of quality manuals and protocols in place. Also, there is a proficient backend quality team that takes care of everything from procurement of quality raw materials to products going to the retail aisle. Keeping every aspect intact and well-maintained within a given timeline is a daily challenge for us. Then comes the price fluctuations of raw materials in the market. See! We cannot change our retail prices every time there is a change in the price of raw materials. Right? However, we have to bear the market fluctuations. It is one of the biggest challenges we face. Fortunately, we have resolved this by having long-term POs (Production Orders) and long-term commitments with our supply chain partners. It helps us hold the prices while allowing our sales or front-end team to have the products at a consistent price.

What do you think about sustainability and compliance in the apparel supply chain?

DaMENSCH is a sustainable brand. We believe the human footprint is already having an impact on the ecosystem. We try our best not to add more to it. Our recycled polyester t-shirt line is an appropriate example of this. We recycle plastic bottles into polyester fabrics to create this product range.

Moreover, we are not much into synthetic fibres. We use natural fibres, such as micro modals, Supima cotton, Tencel, and bamboo. They are sustainable, biodegradable, and, most importantly, least likely to leave any footprint.

If you see our packaging, you will see us using paper bags. We refrain from using plastic bags at any cost. Even for shipping and courier purposes, we use paper bags only. We also strictly follow certificates of sustainability for our recycled polyester and paper qualities. This is how we support sustainability. Coming to the compliance part, DaMENSCH abides by all the guidelines. In addition, we have our own set of compliance requirements. We onboard our vendors based on three rounds of compliance audits - technical audit, social audit, and ethical audit. Let me take you through this: The ethical audit ensures: Vendors do not use any illegal means to manufacture the garments Vendors are not harassing the workers Everything is in line with the Indian Labor Laws Our technical audit team takes care of the following - The process route for the garments is as per our standards All technical parameters involving the manufacturing of goods are in place When it comes to social compliance, our team monitors - If or not the vendors are paying wages to the workers If or not the workers are getting benefits such as ESI, PF, etc. Furthermore, we prefer vendors involved in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) activities.

How do you face and manage competition?

At DaMENSCH, every product we sell has its own USP. We are the first innerwear brand to introduce odour-cancellation technology. We provide a seamless customer experience through our tech-oriented products. It has been helping us retain our customers. It feels great to share that our customer retention rate is over 50%. Apart from the odour cancellation feature, our garments do not pill. Our bamboo vests are made with antimicrobial technology. Plus, they are so lightweight that people love to wear them. At DaMENSCH, we don't go by market trends. We manufacture the best products that get us going. Our technologies and techniques are well-kept, and we have been using them for more than 3.5 years now. So, it is difficult for the competition to reach us in terms of our products. If we face any other competitive scenarios, our impeccable backend team is prepared to handle it. Moreover, we have a strong R&D team that deals with price points and challenges. With multiple labs across the globe, DaMENSCH keeps on innovating.

How do you see fast fashion and cope with the rapidly changing fashion trends?

DaMENSCH is not a fast fashion brand. It's more about essentials that you wear day in and day out. We always create a product with lots of technology involvement, which in turn earns us customers. That's how we work.

How do you plan for the upcoming season?

Our backend team is always on it. We plan for our upcoming seasons in two ways. Firstly, we enhance the existing products with better technologies. And secondly, we create an entirely new range of products. All upcoming activities are managed by Mr. Gaurav Pushkar, the co-founder of DaMENSCH. Going back to your question - the next category we are targeting includes - casual sleep pants, sleep trousers, and sleep sets. It should probably hit the market in a couple of months or so.

On a final note

It was great to have Mr. Vasanth Kumar with us at Fashionza talking about the nitty-gritty of sourcing and merchandising in the fashion industry and how DaMENSCH has been enhancing the lifestyle of end users and every person involved in the process.

Key Takeaways

Long-term (Production Orders) and commitment to supply chain partners are crucial.

Sustainability helps reduce human footprints on the planet.

Be a trendsetter.

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