After gaining experience in her study of Fashion Retail Management and working in tech start-ups, Devina Popat moved from England to Germany to start her own business. The mission of Trend-Tech-Trade is to redefine the way fashion retailing works by combining a seamless in-store concept that will change the behaviour of consumer purchasing. The company offers Virtual Reality booths for fashion stores that will measure assortment, advertising, and production. We asked Devina to tell us a bit more about the company‘s strategies.
FCG: Why did you move from England to Germany? And what are the differences between the countries (mindsets) so far?
Devina: I moved from England to Germany on my last salary on a one-way ticket to Berlin in order to gain firsthand experience in tech start-up hubs. I was determined to live in another country since I was born and raised in London. At the time, I had come from corporate companies working as mainly a personal assistant to managing directors. I was inspired by the drive, motivation, and determination of my previous colleagues; and with this in mind, I knew that England had served me well in terms of gaining the experience I required to take the step to move on.
I found that in England the mindset to provide opportunities was quite limited when it comes to starting a business, particularly in the fashion industry. An old saying in London is that ‘It's not what you know, it is who you know”. I was passionate about living in Berlin for a while and spontaneously woke up one morning, booked my one-way ticket, handed in my notice, and landed on the soil of Germany with no direction of knowing where to get a job. After one month, I had found myself being offered a position as an Intern in an interior design start-up where I was able to learn the fundamental routes of various department operations and strategies.
Four years on, I had gained experience in working in both real estate and fashion, having had the opportunity to work at one of the largest online retailers Zalando. I found that the opportunities, lessons that I have learned living in Germany were far greater. The difference was that in Germany, you are given the chance to learn, grow and be who you want to be without limitations. I think I learned the lesson that it is not 'who you know, but what you know'.
FCG: Could you tell us a bit more about Trend-Tech-Trade, about the mission and the concept? Do you have an example of what it will look like?
Devina: Trend-Tech-Trade is a brand new B2B retail solution for fashion stores, providing a patent-pending technology software to fashion buyers across the industry to bring their trends to the forefront to customers in-stores in which they can purchase limited-edition assortment inside this VR booth. In addition, fashion brands can upload preview campaigns and their choice of fashion models. The customer in-store will be part of the decision process. We then record this data back to the brands in order for them to measure assortment, advertising, and production costs. The booth is luxuriously designed and operated by my team. I do have an example of what it looks like, but you will have to wait until our launch in-store with our secret fashion brand that we will reveal soon.
FCG: Why do you think retail has been waiting for this concept?
Devina: I had this vision for the past 10 years and had been monitoring the trends across the fashion industry when it came to physical stores. I knew that the closure of stores was happening for many years and now more than ever, stores are closing on a global scale due to the coronavirus pandemic. I do think that retailers require this concept in order to bring a different digital solution in-store and drive a completely new sales revenue stream that will differentiate to online, increase foot traffic and bring back physical stores on a global scale.
FCG: What do you think is the key for success?
Devina: I think the key to success is determination, passion and resilience. We find ourselves working in various environments that influence how we think or who we want to be. We are shaped by our given positions in the society like we have to prove ourselves to the world. However, the only person you need to prove yourself to is you. I believe that when someone tells you that you ‘can not’, that you must think that ‘I will’. I had taken the chance during the start of the coronavirus pandemic whilst being stuck in the mountains of Spain, in a country where the strictest rules applied. I was unable to go anywhere but remain between four walls. I spent my time doing home workouts, meditation, and reading. This is where Trend-Tech-Trade was born. So, I would say that people hold the key to their success.