“I joined FabIndia in my early 20s and that was fulfilling for me,” shared William Bissell, Chairman, Fabindia, in a webinar hosted by SOIL Institute of management. Many people said that “you are making a big sacrifice.” But Bissell was driven as he loved it. “It was something I was passionate about,” he said.
Today there are many changemakers across the country who are working towards creating an impact and contributing to the society at large. While there are others who aspire to lead such change by becoming the best version of themselves. Let’s see what emerging changemakers can learn from Bissell’s and FabIndia’s journey.
What’s your purpose?
Bissel said, “I have always felt that companies last for a longer time, when they exist for a purpose.” The success and the bottom line is the byproduct. But for the long term it is important to determine: Why does the company exist?
When FabIndia took the decision to move to retail and become a brand retailing garments, furnishings, fabrics and ethnic products handmade by craftspeople across rural India, many advised to copy the other successful models in the market. But for them it was important to stand strong with their vision. Hence, Bissel always focused on what the ultimate consumers and the society wants or could benefit from.
Harness your ability to listen, observe, & respond to change
For Bissel it has always been important to listen and observe anything and everything that’s happening around the world that matters to you. For them, for instance, when Bissel realized how people are moving to internet shopping for ease and convenience, it was critical to either create a similar level of experience in stores or increase their presence on the internet.
FabIndia instead decided to take the shopping experience to the next level and introduced a cafe, a wellness centre, and home design studio etc. The idea was to highlight the experience which can’t be replicated on the internet. It has been working well before the pandemic hit. Now as the market and consumers again undergo transformation, it is again time to reflect, rethink, and reimagine.
Keep reinventing yourself
In a rapidly changing environment it is critical to constantly evolve and the eye should not be in making short term changes but really think about the long term impact. It is time to leapfrog and think about the next two-three years and not just next weeks or months.
Bissel shared how the lessons and ideas to reinvent yourself not only within your industry. But can be taken from more diverse perspectives.
“Listen to interviews, expose yourself, and educate yourself. Interact and chat with people from diverse communities, friends and colleagues,” advised Bissel.