Keeping up with the new normal.. Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, July 15 : Brands across the world are innovating and reinventing themselves to not only cater to the new normal but also figure out new revenue streams in the tough economic scenario created by the pandemic. Which is you're seeing a surge in the variety masks available; everyone from top designers to fast fashion brands want to capitalise on the demand.

Outdoor essentials and lifestyle brand Wildcraft, has pivoted it's business to life essentials. The brand has a two-decade history being "a born in India, by India and for India brand" establishing itself as a pioneer in the outdoor and tactical gear category.

It now changes its focus from the outdoors to a new category - protective gear including masks, shields and hazmat suits, with the aim to equip and enable consumers to stay safe and step out with confidence.

IANSlife caught up with Mr Gaurav Dublish and Mr Siddharth Sood, founders, Wildcraft India Pvt Ltd, to find out details.

Read Excerpts: With the Covid-19 crisis the focus has shifted to sustainability, slow fashion and eco-consciousness. In this environment how does Wildcraft plan to limit its wastage and pollutants in manufacturing and packaging process? Dublish: Wildcraft India has the philosophy 'Leave No Trace' embedded into its DNA and has followed on this path for the past 22 years. As the company subscribed to the view that nature should not be tampered with, it has always been a big believer of reusability and has encouraged its consumers to use their products for as long as they last - which can be a lifetime.

In the current context, we already are in the middle of a health and economic crisis and the next one will soon be an environmental crisis. Considering if all of us consume disposable masks every day and throw it out then this would become a huge burden on the environment, with red flags around garbage collection and increasing impact of the virus. In such a scenario a mask such as the one offered by our brand with 95 percent filtration levels is reusable for up to 30 days; this would facilitate in reducing environmental impact significantly.

Pivoting the business to making masks / PPE/ HYPASHIELD is a financial decision in order to capitalise on the current demand. Comment Sood: Covid-19 has brought forth a new normal. This new world has compelled people to relook at their ways, their beliefs, and attitude. Wildcraft India is a brand that uses its passion as a fuel to propel itself to embrace the uncertain. Our foray into the PPE category was not a business pivoting decision but rather an extension of our tactical gear category. The brand's core philosophy has always been driven by functionality and performance.

It is positioned not as a fashion brand but as a brand that offers functionality with style. Our portfolio already includes tents, sleeping bags, rainwear and rucksacks in the tactical gear category and with the on-set of the pandemic a versatile, functionally engineered, head-to-toe product line of personal protective gear was an ideal extension of the category.

There is a shift from glocal to local, do you think consumers should support high-street brands like yours which are Indian instead of the international brands? Dublish: As part of our commitment to enable people to rekindle the explorer within, we are an Indian-born head to toe outfitter, that pursues Make in India truly in spirit, is equipping Atma-Nirbhar Bharat to set the tone for the world.

It took all of two weeks to shift your focus from engineered for outdoors to engineered for life. Is it business over the environment at Wildcraft? Sood: As mentioned earlier it is a natural extension of our tactical gear category without shifting our core ethos.

Tell us more about your collaboration with Ministry of Textile, Ministry of Health Dublish: With the advent of the virus into India, there was a huge surge in demand for respirators and hazmat suits, especially for medical professionals who stood at the frontlines, battling the pandemic day in and day out. It was at this time that we were approached by the Ministry of Textiles with an urgent requirement to assist medical professionals and provide them with the necessary gear as they combat Covid-19.

This motivated and encouraged us to take the baton and produce a product that comes with 95 percent particulate filtration efficiency at 0.3 microns and is reusable for up to 30 washes, differentiating the Wildcraft SUPERMASKTM different from any other reusable mask.

Lastly, there are winners and losers in every situation, your advice for those who manage businesses to get on the winning side of this crisis? Sood: The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on all our lives and has compelled us to relook at our beliefs, our ways and attitudes. With a new normal in front of us, there are a lot of challenges and uncertainties that would come our way, however, Wildcraft has always believed in the philosophy of embracing the uncertain.

This is the time when one needs to step out with confidence and get ready to face this new world equipped and enabled to explore any uncertainty that might come their way. And that would be our advice to every entrepreneur out there, to not let these adversities bog them down and to embrace any challenge that might come their way.

(IANSlife Features can be contacted at ianslife@ians.in)

-- The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text

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