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Beyond the Bale : March 2016
OFF FARM 21 Establishing and maintaining strong and healthy relationships with important textile partners including Woolmark licensees is vital for AWI in its promotion of Australian wool to global markets. To this end, AWI has Key Account Managers (KAMs) strategically located across key markets in Asia, Europe and the Americas. AWI’s senior management has selected AWI’s Country Manager in India Arti Gudal as the 2015 KAM of the Year, based on an assessment of each KAM’s performance and leadership qualities. Beyond the Bale caught up with Arti to find out about her work as Country Manager for India and neighbouring countries and what she loves most about her job. HOW DO YOU HELP INCREASE THE DEMAND FOR AUSTRALIAN WOOL? We implement AWI’s global strategy in the region based on what suits this market best. We collaborate with manufacturers, retailers, buying houses and major brands, and work • AWI’s Key Account Managers (KAMs) around the world work on behalf of Australian woolgrowers to build and maintain relationships with significant industry stakeholders and inspire them to work with Australian wool. • Arti Gudal from AWI’s India office has been selected as the 2015 KAM of the Year, for excelling at developing direct business relationships with global brands, retailers, textile manufacturers and fashion designers, and demonstrating leadership within the Indian team. • With more than 120 active Woolmark licensees, India is both a key manufacturing and consumer market for Australian wool. PROMOTING AUSTRALIAN MERINO WOOL IN INDIA closely with fashion designers to support them in creating Merino wool collections. Our prime manufacturing focus in India in coming years will be to develop the market for wool in Tiruppur, which is known as the knitwear capital of India. We also aim to expand into other emerging markets in the region, such as Bhutan. From a brands' perspective we will work with local apparel brands owned by Madura, Arvind and Reliance who cater to 1.2 billion Indians, as well as major international brands including Brooks Brothers, Tommy Hilfiger and Zegna to educate the luxury Indian consumer. WHAT SORT OF MARKETING DO YOU DO IN THE REGION? Given India’s warm climate, our focus has been on Cool Wool for the past few years, collaborating with brands including Raymond, OCM and Reliance. We have communicated our key messages through runway shows, point-of- sale collateral and extensive media coverage. For instance, we worked closely with famous fashion designers Timothy Everest, Rajesh Pratap Singh and Suket Dhir to create a Cool Wool collection for Raymond – one of India's largest fabric and fashion retailers and an important Woolmark licensee. And of course, with SUKETDHIR winning the coveted International Woolmark Prize for menswear and becoming the second Indian label to take out the award, luxury wool fashion has been a great talking point. WHAT DOES PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT INVOLVE? We work closely with AWI Head Office in Sydney on product developments suited to the Indian market, such as Wool Denim, circular knit T-shirts and flat knits. We also work alongside brands such as Blackberrys and Raymond to develop or introduce wool and wool blend collections and make them commercially available. WHAT EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVES ARE YOU INVOLVED IN? We connect with brand owners and staff, hosting seminars to explain the benefits and versatility of wool and we plan to do this for all our key accounts. In conjunction with the brands, we are then able to educate the end consumer, through in-store activations, brochures and window displays. The Wool Lab sourcing guide remains a key tool which we not only present during one- on-one meetings, but also at India Fashion Forum where we are exposed to new brands and can introduce them to Merino wool. We also participate at fashion weeks through designer collaborations and support both upcoming and emerging designers. WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR ROLE? I like working across the entire wool supply chain on behalf of Australian woolgrowers. I enjoy working with brands to introduce wool into their collections. I am supported from AWI head office in Australia when challenges arise and I look forward to continuing the development of markets within India. OFF FARM 21 Arti Gudal, AWI Country Manager for India, who has been selected as AWI Key Account Manager of 2015.
In the Shops - March 2016