This has been the watershed moment for all sectors, given the unique black swan event that catapulted global economies into changing the way they do business. Not only did companies have to reinvent the way they did business but they also propelled their business strategy with numerous digital initiatives.
We captured some key insights from an industry veteran Gautam Bali, MD of Vestige Marketing, a direct-selling firm based in Delhi. He shares his views on the industry trends particularly impacting key sectors like healthcare and wellness, and the future of direct selling, particularly for women and the youth.
The pandemic has had a manifold impact on health and wellness and there has been a conscious shift towards wellness. How has your brand prepared for meeting the growing demands?
Vestige is focused on developing new products along with redeveloping existing products, to ensure better health and hygiene for our distributors. We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic’s traces will remain for a long period, and therefore we will continue to focus on relevant categories to provide products that will enhance people’s health. it is our endeavour to ensure that we bring newer and better health and wellness products in a sustainable and reliable manner in the years ahead.
What has been Vestige’s journey of digital success, challenges and opportunities of having an online business amidst a global pandemic?
Vestige is a people-oriented company with a strong commitment to that idea. It has taken many measures to engage, inspire, and motivate employees, stakeholders, distributors, and customers during these hard times. With this thought, the 17th-anniversary theme was designated “Ek Saath – Unbeatable Together.” A variety of initiatives centred on employee and family health, comfort, and happiness were designed and implemented. The engagement efforts extended to Vestigians across the network to assist them and develop trust, belief, and a safe environment by providing support, resources, and expertise.
Vestige initiated a campaign for the employees named ‘Vaccination-for-All’. A COVID helpline was also set up to collect information regarding any requirement/support employees need during the pandemic. It provided family Mediclaim for employees and their dependents with Covid cover. Life Insurance for all employees, facilitating critical care equipment such as oxygen concentrators /or cylinders for the ailing, etc, are some of the other measures undertaken by the company. A 24/7 helpline and Vestige Radio with expert consultations on physical and mental wellbeing were also made available.
Given the recent shift in the market, what is the plan for business expansion for Vestige?
Vestige is the only Indian direct selling company to start its global operations in multiple international markets. We have recently entered Ghana and further expansion into the Middle East and other regions are planned by 2025.
Nationally, Vestige has expanded over 40 branches, with over 3,000+ online and offline centres. The company’s innovative 300+ world-class products across 19 categories have been created through in-house R&D for developing innovative products.
How is the direct selling industry contributing to the development of youth and women?
According to the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA), India’s overall number of direct sellers increased to 5.7 million in 2018-19, and is expected to reach 18 million by 2025. Women account for about 60% of this industry. Also, during the pandemic, Vestige recorded over 52% expansion in its distributor network in 2020, over 60% of whom were below the age of 35. It is so heartening that this industry has attracted many women and sections of our young population and provided financial independence to millions of families.
Can direct selling be taken up as a career choice?
The booming youth population is one of the most invaluable resources of India, and training, skilling and setting them on the path to financial freedom can unlock miraculous potential for the national economy. Our focus is on formalising the direct selling industry and bringing it into mainstream education and for the same we have recently collaborated with the renowned Shoolini University. Through this initiative we are hopeful that it will help in skill development and enable entrepreneurship, which will create a sustainable income path for many and benefit the industry