Monday, October 17, 2016

The rise of Fast Fashion and a few slipping down in commotion!

e-commerce fashion retail players finally realized that fashion will be sold mostly through brick and mortar stores. Fashion is fun and entertainment. Place matters! 

Private labels of ShoppersStop and Lifestyles-Melange-Kangana Ranaut and many others like BIBA,

Aurelia have made fashion buying more of a touch and feel game. It is not a hardware! Fashion is a soft core product and it requires other sense organs to make decision, not just eyes. Spread and massively quick success of ZARA in India established that fashion will eventually sell through stores. Zara took 50,000 sq ft store at Kala Ghoda in Mumbai with an annual rent of Rs.30 Cr. One 50K SFT store is actually 2.5 times sale of 50 individual 1K SFT stores. High street fashion sells on high street. It always makes sense to open a large format store and I am sure Myntra would do that same as they would have their off-line stores by year-end.

I have my short experience with fashion at USPL. This is personal view. Most of the information is public or can easily be solicited. Being in recruiting , I learnt that employees, mostly senior ones write too much of so called CONFIDENTIAL information in their resumes than should have been.

Universal Sportsbiz Pvt. Ltd (USPL) got Accel Partners Rs.46 Cr. ($7.26 M) funding in Jul 2015,

Earlier Accel had invested Rs.17.25 Cr. ($2.7 M) in Jul 2012 and that was for Collectabillia .

Collectabillia  was mentioned in your story in Feb 2014 that talked about it getting support of Sachin Tendulkar. From a customer base of 150,000 in Feb of 2014, Collectabillia today has lost all steam and hardly gets an order a day! Why people do not go for such precious memorabilia? Is it too niche a taste and people may not find any value in celebrity signed products, in general? Maybe more reasons than that. Sad to know that this venture failed.

Unlike, wrogn and imara, ms.taken does not have its website. Ms.Taken is endorsed by Kriti Sanon. And this video has some substance. Guy has the right question. Start ups have even CEOs as apprentices so excuse them.

WROGN , endorsed by Virat Kohli is a youth breakaway fashion as they call it. Virat is an icon and great inspiration but when products don't match his class and promise, you feel cheated. If brand like this sells through WTF campaign on Myntra, it is shame! Liquidation is not sale. Start up product in season three and struggling with sizes, fits, color bleaching, patch bleach, stitching rip-offs, etc can be disasters. In the fast fashion age, when ZARA gets products to market in 15 days flat (all from concepts, design, manufacturing and last mile logistics), having a timeline of 4 to 5 months can be self-destructive for aspiring and emerging brands, which need to sell at least 40% stock at MRP. Actually in delayed market in massive competition, one which resorts to WTF or such liquidation of 50% stock, you may have lost it largely.

If you are not vertically integrated in fashion and call yourself high street fashion, it is timeline that matters or else you launch an outdated product. Fast fashion has moved beyond two yearly seasons (AW, SS), they have mid season and many hits , making fashion look fresh all through the season. Stores can play only limited illusion, through VMs.

USPL started with Women's ethnic brand called Spandana , endorsed by South Indian movie star Ramya . But this brand did not take off and had to be rolled back.

Imara made some quick waves through its ethnic and fusion wear. Thanks to Biba's temporary on newness slumber. It helped Imara get attention. Now Biba returns with a bang, added with Aurelia, Global Desi, W, etc and many private labels (melange by lifestyle, shristi by SS, etc), Imara is feeling the heat, through still doing better.

Commercial fashion at affordable rates often bank on Sourcing. Marketing and Design are quick things and do not have ingenuity anymore. They are equal for all. Game has shifted to Sourcing or say pricing and best vendors that you can afford to build. Small orders will always be served last.

Fashion is an interesting space to be into. Game is on..
Some will die while others will be celebrated. As said, this is not a lemonade business where one can socialise, sustain and make presence felt with just funding from FOMO VCs simply or dad's money. Big fish will always feed on tiny ones, unless they are sharks by nature!...and only sharks will create their mark and draw attention and praise...not a big mouth...arrogant start up pusher (this is a category of founders who push the cart to death)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Start up kids and the VC and HR sleep peacefully!

An interesting review title for this company: 
"they hold competition for glassdoor reviews, take reviews with a grain of salt"!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Salaried employees's gateway to the tax haven!


Everyone taxpayer hates taxes. No salaried employee likes it! They feel they are being robbed of their earning. They blame employers, they blame government and they blame HR and Finance and payroll for their Big loss! 

Have seen organisations doing all kinds of circus to devise a magical salary structure concoction that defies all laws of CBDT! Saves most on the Income Tax and employees praise the lord! 

It is possible to save lots of taxes if you approach it this way. For salaried employees, here are gateways to the tax haven! 

Please refer to directives from the Income Tax Department/CBDT. Check the link below-

It lists all components under benefits, salary, perquisites where employees income is exempted from Income Tax.:

For quick reference, below are sections where relief can be given to salaried employees (legally).

For easy reference, here below is what I recommend. Moreover, we need to make our BASIC COMPONENT  at least 50% of the gross. That will help on HRA part even when Basic is taxable.

Telephone Allowance
Fully Taxable

Fixed Medical Allowance
Fully Taxable


Conveyance allowance granted to meet the expenditure on conveyance in performance of duties of an office
Exempt to the extent of expenditure incurred for official purposes
Travelling allowance to meet the cost of travel on tour or on transfer
Exempt to the extent of expenditure incurred for official purposes
Daily allowance to meet the ordinary daily charges incurred by an employee on account of absence from his normal place of duty
Exempt to the extent of expenditure incurred for official purposes
Helper/Assistant allowance
Exempt to the extent of expenditure incurred for official purposes
Research allowance granted for encouraging the academic research and other professional pursuits
Exempt to the extent of expenditure incurred for official purposes
Uniform allowance
Exempt to the extent of expenditure incurred for official purposes


17(2)(viii) read with Rule 3(7)(iii)
Free food and beverages provided to the employee
 1) Fully Taxable: Free meals in excess of Rs. 50 per meal less amount paid by the employee shall be a taxable perquisite
 2) Exempt from tax: Following free meals shall be exempt from tax:
a) Food and non-alcoholic beverages provided during working hours in remote area or in an offshore installation;
b) Tea, Coffee or Non-Alcoholic beverages and Snacks during working hours are tax free perquisites;
c) Food in office premises or through non-transferable paid vouchers usable only at eating joints provided by an employer is not taxable, if cost to the employer is Rs. 50(or less) per meal.
17(2)(viii) read with Rule 3(7)(iv)
Gift or Voucher or Coupon on ceremonial occasions or otherwise provided to the employee
a) Gifts in cash or convertible into money (like gift cheque) are fully taxable
b) Gift in kind up to Rs.5,000 in aggregate per annum would be exempt, beyond which it would be taxable.

17(2)(viii) read with Rule 3(7)(vi)
Free Recreation/ Club Facilities
 a)  Expenditure incurred by the employer towards annual or periodical fee etc. (excluding initial fee to acquire corporate membership) less amount recovered from the employee is a taxable perquisite
 b)  Expenses incurred on club facilities for the official purposes are exempt from tax.
 c)  Use of health club, sports and similar facilities provided uniformly to all employees shall be exempt from tax.

Motor Car is owned by the employee
Where maintenances and running expenses including remuneration of the chauffeur are met or reimbursed by the employer.
The reimbursement is for the use of the vehicle wholly and exclusively for official purposes
Fully exempt subject to maintenance of specified documents
Fully exempt subject to maintenance of specified documents
The reimbursement is for the use of the vehicle exclusively for the personal purposes of the employee or any member of his household (taxable in case of specified employee as well as non-specified employee)
Actual expenditure incurred by the employer minus amount recovered from the employee
The reimbursement is for the use of the vehicle partly for official purposes and partly for personal purposes of the employee or any member of his household.
Actual expenditure incurred by the employer minus Rs. 1800 per month and Rs. 900 per month if chauffer is also provided minus amount recovered from employee shall be taxable value of perquisite.
Actual expenditure incurred by the employer minus Rs. 2400 per month and Rs. 900 per month if chauffer is also provided minus amount recovered from employee shall be taxable value of perquisite.


Other Educational Facilities
Taxable Value of Perquisites
Free educational facilities/ training of employees

Fully exempt

Monday, August 8, 2016

Fixes to job search through LinkedIn!

"If you try helping others, you find code to your own success!" ----This thought crossed my mind yesterday!
 I have been meeting some of my friends and acquaintances, who are seriously looking for new job or job change but they have not been able to get any headway for quite sometime now. There is a widening gap between the cup and the lip! If you are not getting job offers, I blame you! 
Few cents to fellow job hunters. Pitch in, need your thoughts! 
1-There is much more than meets the eye! Jobs are not available on job boards-Naukri, etc! Jobs listed on LinkedIn and IIM Jobs are listings and 8 out of 10 times, you will not make any progress after you applied! Just drop these ideas, however, sharing your resume is 5 min job and that you can keep doing. But follow below steps!
2-Start with working on LinkedIn profile. Fill every section. Add company logos, mind your title!
  • Use power-trade-cheeky words, wordsmith every single sentence that you use. Add company logos, use power words.
  • Add high resolution professional photo. If you have too many companies at tail end , just drop them.
  • If you have 15 or 16 years of career and you are still a mid level manager and aim at mid -senior level manager role, highlight companies for past 6 to 8 years. Pay for wordsmithry, if you are not good at it.
  • Review other well written profiles on LinkedIn and you can collect tonnes of ideas, words, etc.
3-Ask for Recommendations on war footing, and follow up with connections who can write recommendation for you.
  • Some of them may even ask you, what you want them to highlight, send them a well-crafted write up, they can use. 
Try LinkedIn premium for at least 3 months. PREMIUM ACCOUNT AND ORANGE IN LOGO means VALUE! Use well crafted inmail and express interest in working for that company and solicit help, guidance to pursue a suitable opportunity there. 
 5-Connect with high profile professionals from your target companies. Use well written cover letter and attach curated resume that is attractive enough. Aesthetics matter. Use designing aspect to make it shine. We are in digital age. 
  • Share your profile with your qualified connections now. For highly qualified connections at that target company , share cover letter first not resume but mention, you will share if your connection asks you to share.
  • Remember, since your LinkedIn profile is well crafted and decked now, someone, who may wish to help you will share your LinkedIn profile......(and connections does not mean HR and Recruitment managers only). Share it with business people or other functional folks! 
6-Mention your email address and mobile number in your LinkedIn profile clearly. 
7-Write 2 or 3 LinkedIn posts. Not many. Make it look well structured. If you are not good at it, hire someone to do this for you. Write generic positive post.
  • Ask many of your connections to write comments and follow up so that good number of people read it, like it , comment on it! Follow up ..collect brownies! 
8-Identify 20 active and powerful connections on LinkedIn, who you will follow, like their comment, comment on their post.
  • After few weeks , write them email and solicit career advice and then you are heading for that push! 
9-Be generous. Write fantastic recommendations for your target 50 connections. Use wordsmiths for this, if you are not good at writing!
10-Send tonnes of endorsements to tonnes of your valuable contacts. 
11-Check your LinkedIn settings and allow people to know that you viewed their profile. 
12-Apply to LinkedIn jobs. View job poster's profile. Send nicely written connection request.
  • As mentioned earlier, your word resume shall capture words and spirits of your LinkedIn profile.
  • Use pdf versions only when sharing resume with companies.
  • Headhunting companies need word doc as they need to put their logos, etc. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Inspiring growth for this TA person! "HEAD OF TALENT BRANDING!"

I got a LinkedIn notification this says, ____has a new job! Yes, this person who is Head of Talent Acquisition with an Indian pharma is a now, additionally the Head of Talent Branding as well. It is same company, just LinkedIn calls it "new job!"Congratulations! You made it! Arrived! Woohoooooooo!
Note-This company has a new CHRO (sorry, Global CHRO) and everyone knows who he is! :)
Inspiring growth for this TA person! "HEAD OF TALENT BRANDING!"
Just browsed through her LinkedIn profile. Surprises galore-
A. EDUCATION TAB AT LINKEDIN-SY@@@**#S, PUNEPart time or distance PGDBA - Marketing from SY******# Pune 2003-2005, well known MBA shop in Pune!
This person was working as BD person for a small training firm during 2003-2005 as per LI profile.
Email ID is a gmail address for someone who is Head of TA and Head of Talent Branding too. You have options of keeping both your personal and company IDs on LinkedIn.
Website-Company website- Click the link and it takes you to her earlier venture (a recruitment firm's webpage). sh#t!
C. POSTS- Just 2 that of Oct, Nov 2015. They are not about Talent Branding but yes, one of them about hiring (they call it search, that way it sounds like 'rocket science')
This person must have been a great search person! This person has 30 LinkedIn recommendations and all of them are from the time of her being a search person! Not one in last 3 years from the current company. It's called search. Let's not call it recruitment, I repeat! Mind you 30 LinkedIn recommendations! Can we have some claps?
Now, how many LinkedIn recommendations, this person wrote for others?
Good question! Any guesses, as we all know there is something called GRATITUDE!
Stop counting, err...guessing! IT IS JUST 1 (ONE)! That too to a fellow recruiter from recruiting days! Sorry, "fellow search professional" from a search firm!
Disclaimer:-It is not important, who this person is, it is more important what choices are these million dollar Global CHROs making! Rat race of creating million followers on LinkedIn. nonsensical tweets, which none of their HR team members ever liked or commented, or re-tweeted. Only stunt!
हो गयी पीर पर्वत सी ,पिघलनी चाहिये
इस हिमालय से कोई ,गंगा निकलनी चाहिये
 आज ये दीवार ,परदों कि तरह ,हिलने लगी
शर्त लेकिन,थी कि ये, बुनियाद हिलनी चाहिये
 सिर्फ़ हंगामा खडा करना ,मेरा मकसद नही
सारी कोशिश, है कि ये , सूरत बदलनी चाहिये
 मेरे सीने में नही , तो तेरे सीने में सही
हो कही भी आग लेकिन, आग जलनी चाहिये ।
---Dushyant Kumar