Interview: Sandhya Garg, Fashion Designer

by Jerome Knyszewski
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Sandhya Garg, fashion designer

Sandhya Garg found quick success as a major fashion designer, starting from her appearances on Project Runway Season 13 and New York Fashion Week, and her featuring in several high-profile international fashion magazines.

For her design work, Sandhya Garg has been recognized by Marie Claire US, Elle India, Grazia India, and Cosmopolitan India, among others. For Project Runway, she has also exhibited her Finale Collection at Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week during the TV show’s 2014 showcase. Vogue UK stylists Zadrian Smith also used Sandhya Garg’s final collection for the magazine’s press shoots in London.

Sandhya Garg has also had an extensive experience of working with other major fashion designers and brands. These designers and brands include the likes of Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Alice Temperley, Izmaylova, and Liberty London. Finally, Sandhya Garg became finalist at Nina De York, which is the most prestigious illustration competition of the London University of Arts; while she also became a finalist at the World Sustainable Fashion Competition, also held in the UK.

For her designs, Sandhya Garg draws inspiration and her creative fire from her travels all over the world, specifically in the ways every city that she has visited “contained in itself a world of regional folklore, mythology, superstition, magic, art and architectural wonders.” With her inspirations, Sandhya creates garments that contain the quintessence of the cities she has stepped foot in.

Check out more interviews with creative business leaders here. You can also check out Sandhya Garg’s collection at New York Fashion Week through this video.

Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Sandhya Garg: Something that makes my company stand out is the unique journey I had. I grew up in India, went to school in London and now I live in the US. All my travel led me to have many different experiences which is amazing. Then having the opportunity to be on Project Runway is another stand out factor. I connect with a huge audience over many interests and that stands out at a personal and professional level.

Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Sandhya Garg: Set your expectations right. We burn out when we set unreasonable expectation and don’t measure the work we have done and how far we have come. Seeing small successes everyday helps keep ourselves motivated.

Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Sandhya Garg: I am very grateful to my husband and my family. They have all been a constant support and guided me towards success. It’s been very insightful to get input from my father who has his own successful business. My husband is an avid reader and constantly gains new skills, he always gives me the best advice and it’s been amazing to have them with me.

Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The Pandemic has changed many aspects of all of our lives. One of them is the fact that so many of us have gotten used to shopping almost exclusively online. Can you share a few examples of different ideas that eCommerce businesses are implementing to adapt to the new realities created by the Pandemic?

Sandhya Garg: Most ecommerce companies have implemented strict Covid prevention and protection guidelines. Wearing masks and gloves, sanitizing, social distancing and washing hands have become common place. Shipping, delivery and return policies are also more elaborate now. I think we have learned and adapted really fast in the pandemic times when it comes to ecommerce.

Jerome Knyszewski: Amazon, and even Walmart are going to exert pressure on all of retail for the foreseeable future. New Direct-To-Consumer companies based in China are emerging that offer prices that are much cheaper than US and European brands. What would you advise retail companies and eCommerce companies, for them to be successful in the face of such strong competition?

Sandhya Garg: Price of a product is directly related to the quality of product and values of production. Retail and e-com companies should keep in mind what sets them apart from cheaper products and point out those values, and quality benchmarks to their consumers. Today’s consumer is very smart and a little bit of product education goes a long way. I don’t think there is a competition between brands when the quality and design of product is night and day. For example the customer for a $10 top is very different from a customer of $300 blouse.

Jerome Knyszewski: What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start an eCommerce business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

Sandhya Garg: The need for instant, overnight success is one of the biggest mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, some brands do get instant success but even to get that they have acquired skills and connections that have taken time. Everything takes time, keep working strategizing and learning. Success will follow.

Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience, which aspect of running an eCommerce brand tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?

Sandhya Garg: Sometimes the whole process of creating the product and quality of the product. One can never compromise or take for granted the product itself. So, underestimating the process of product creation shouldn’t happen.

Jerome Knyszewski: One of the main benefits of shopping online is the ability to read reviews. Consumers love it! While good reviews are of course positive for a brand, poor reviews can be very damaging. In your experience what are a few things a brand should do to properly and effectively respond to poor reviews? How about other unfair things said online about a brand?

Sandhya Garg: Fortunately, we haven’t had any bad reviews as we constantly make sure our customers are happy with our products and customer service even if that means losing money at our end. As both a consumer and a business owner, I can say that any brand should handle poor reviews with caution and empathy. Many times, listening to an unhappy customer can be very helpful in improving one’s business practices. Listen to what made the consumer unhappy and offer a solution or discuss a solution. In my experience usually this leads to a happy customer and no bad reviews.

Jerome Knyszewski: You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Sandhya Garg: I would love to bring people together and talk about culture, travel, what makes them happy, discuss their childhood memories, you know make it about them and what sets them free. Today most of the word has become about serving ourselves, I want to start a conversation where we ask each other what can bring them happiness. If we really think what life is about, it is about happy memories and moments and love. It is pretty simple, but now we have diverted from happiness to getting followers, fans and likes. You know we need to get back to the basics.

Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?

Sandhya Garg: Readers can find me through my website and social media, like Instagram account and Facebook.

Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

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