Sri Lankan fashion entrepreneurs are open to vast opportunities in the digital space but will have to face a different set of challenges, a Sri Lankan entrepreneur said.
“The number of opportunities in the digital domain as an entrepreneur is enormous,” Linda Speldewinde, Founder and Managing Director, AOD International Design Campus & Sri Lanka Design Festival said.
“It is almost like living in a separate world.”
Speldewinde launched a retail fashion domain fashionmarket.lk recently, which is an online platform with a couple of apparel industry brands in Sri Lanka as well as designers from AOD.
Shopping fashion in digital space or the marriage between fashion and technology seems a promised land, a fertile breeding ground, an area ripe for innovation.
Even mobile applications have been created to shop for fashion from wherever you are.
However despite all of that, shopping fashion online does not account for a huge portion of the digital space.
“The apparel industry is the last of the industries that has still survived the digital disruption,” Ashroff Omar, Chief Executive, Brandix said.
“Apparel retail is just 10 to 15 percent online. Because still there is the element of touch feel fit which has hindered the sudden or the huge growth in online sales.”
Critics argue that physical fashion shopping are limited in terms of the number of people that they can cater to but online or digital space offer growing number of customers and the millennial generation who lives in a digital world.
Speaking about her new venture Speldewinde said,
“I got the idea, because about two and half years ago I completely stopped going into a store or shopping because I actually got so bored with it, I started shopping fashion online and I became so obsessed,” Speldewinde said.
“Once you get hooked on the habit of shopping online and you have this whole world of shops open to you,”
“Then it is very difficult to walk into that one shop and try to buy fashion from there.”
However she added that Sri Lankans are not yet ready for this kind of experience which makes the online business difficult.
“Being an entrepreneur in Sri Lanka is difficult and being an entrepreneur in digital domain is even more difficult because people here are not familiar, they are not living in the digital world and they are not living in the real world both,”