Denimsandjeans Virtual: Interview with Sandeep Agarwal
Trade shows are playing an important role in our industry as they bridge the gap between brands and suppliers (and ultimately consumers). Traditionally, these companies organize huge shows that attract denim professionals from all over the world. While this is unthinkable at the moment, given the context of COVID-19, Denimsandjeans is one event which is getting creative and adapting in this new climate.
The Indian-based company, which traditionally organizes trade shows all around Asia, is by founder and owner Sandeep Agarwal. Denimsandjeans developed a new online platform allowing our beloved industry to continue doing business during these tough times.
We reached out to Sandeep in order to get to know more about this unique and recently developed concept. Sandeep, who was so kind enough to answer our questions, gave us an introduction to the Denimsandjeans Virtual Trade Show, which you can find out more about below.
Robin Denim (RD): Dear Sandeep, can you please start by introducing yourself?
Sandeep Agarwal (SA): I am now passed the half century mark at 51 and am deeply interested in spirituality and technology. I learnt coding at the age of 36 and created Denimsandjeans.com and some other platforms. In fact, I created a large trading portal for the textile industry – but I think it was too early. I am also a blue blood with over 27 years association with denim. Started my career in denim and I’m still there!
RD: For someone who doesn’t know, what is Denimsandjeans?
SA: Denimsandjeans was initially launched as a website in 2007 to serve global denim industry when there was hardly anything online for us. It then progressed and transformed into trade shows in different countries. And now its also an online platform for virtual shows and industry networking.
RD: Pre-COVID, you organized trade shows in different countries in Asia, what made these shows different than other trade shows in the industry?
SA: We focused on shows in sourcing locations like Bangladesh, Vietnam and India. Most shows were focused on market locations. I think this gave a different flavor to our shows as we captured the buyers who wanted to travel to sourcing locations. But we recently expanded to Japan as we felt that it was an important destination ignored by all shows.
RD: The moment you wanted to branch out to Japan, with a unique show in Tokyo planned early March, COVID-19 popped up and ruined these plans (at least for this year). In answer to the ongoing situation you introduced the Denimsandjeans Virtual Show. Could you walk us through the online concept?
SA: Japan is a dream project which we had to unfortunately postpone due to COVID-19. But I think it will be coming back next year and I have high hopes with it. A virtual show was something we had to think of when we found ourselves ‘caged’! There had to be a way that the industry could continue networking and stay connected. So, we thought of virtual show concept which could be as close as possible to a physical show with live meetings, booths, trend areas, expert talks and also a lounge where visitors can talk and network!
RD: For the first edition of the Virtual Show – which took place on July 22nd and 23rd – you have managed to bring some major denim mills on board and the show has a promising lineup. How are you feeling about the first edition of the show?
SA: This show enabled visitors and suppliers to have face to face meetings in private virtual rooms. We replicated all elements of a tradeshow- whether it’s a trend area, expert talks, an exhibition area and even a lounge area where visitors can chat and relax. Group meetings can be held between suppliers and buyers and exhibitors can use various tools to showcase their products by screen sharing. Companies who are on our DE Brands platform can easily use their showrooms to show products to visiting buyers. It has caught on very well and we are in our second edition.
RD: The second edition of the Denimsandjeans Virtual Show will be on the 14th and 15th of October. What are you most looking forward to about the upcoming show?
SA: We’re looking forward to having more visitors, more organized meetings (many of which are pre-scheduled), buyers from the US, Europe and other places, some great talks and much more. I am really hoping to fill the vacuum of no networking with some great interactions coming up here.
RD: Sounds great Sandeep. The theme for the upcoming show is ‘CLOUD SOURCING’. Can you explain this term and describe how it will be realized at the show?
SA: Well the idea was to bring into focus that there can be a virtual place in the ‘Cloud’ where our industry can be found, and sourcing and marketing activities can be performed. It is meant to reinforce that this is possible and can be hugely beneficial.
RD: As Denimsandjeans is a B2B event, fabric sales are likely central to the activity at the show. What else can be found at Denimsandjeans Virtual Show?
SA: Fabric is always so important at our shows! But also other supply chain parts related to chemicals, technology, accessories and much more play a huge part. Aside from this, the trend area is going to be great and we play various trends on stage too. These trends are under various categories and exhibitors’ products are shown in each category. Plus, we will bring designer trends for 2021 and showcase them on stage in the platform.
RD: What do you think of the introduction of online trade shows in general? Will it be the future of trade shows in our industry? Or is it just to survive the ongoing COVID-19 crisis?
SA: I think physical shows can never be replaced. They may have to reinvent themselves in some ways, but they will continue. For virtual shows, COVID-19 has made a huge difference in how they will go. But for at least a year, I think they will be strong and central to our industry.
RD: How do you see the industry’s future? Can you see any benefits for the industry in the aftermath of COVID-19?
SA: I see that COVID-19 has brought an increased focus on wastage in our industry – whether it is in development processes, production, sales, or even in consumption. We are starting to learn how to really remove this and become leaner, faster, more agile and more environment and pocket friendly. We don’t need to travel so much. We have learnt that many things we did which were seen as indispensable are not actually so. We can survive with much less and do better quality work and products. We can be faster with various technologies and can be closer to ‘on demand production’ which does not require us to fill up landfills.
I am sure these learnings will stay after COVID-19 and we will be better human beings, have a better industry in the long run and have better consumers.
RD: Who is the Denimsandjeans Virtual Show aimed at? And how can we join?
SA: Denimsandjeans Virtual is for the sourcing and design community from the denim industry and all those who make impact on purchase decisions. It also is great for consultants and agents who play an important role in bringing these two sides together. Besides that, it is a great place to network with the global denim community.
One needs to register at Virtual.denimsandjeans.com/virtual so that we can send them their unique joining code. It is not possible to enter without this code.
RD: Thanks Sandeep for the great introduction to Denimsandjeans Virtual. We‘re looking forward to visiting the upcoming show on the 14th and 15th of October.
SA: Thanks a lot Robin! Look forward to having you with us on Oct 14 & 15! As you know our timings are from 10.30am to 1.30am CET for both days. Being a 15-hour show, I am sure you can find time to tune in!