Luxury footwear founder Michaela Vybohova has set her sights on expanding her Michaela V
. brand to other countries, and the Indian sub-continent is first on the list.Already established in the US, creating a warehouse for Michaela V. in India makes economic and logistical sense, Vybohova explains.
“Opening a self-sufficient warehouse on another continent makes a lot of sense right now. Currently, 80% of my online orders are placed internationally, and having a large enough warehouse in India would cut down on shipping costs,” she says.The model and businesswoman added that India’s economy is friendlier than other nations during the pandemic, and it’s also cheaper to operate from there.
“India is such a large country, which is always great for business. By employing a local Michaela V. representative to work with local boutique and retails stores, it would reduce my warehousing costs by about 70%.”Vybohova explained that COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on major retailers in the US, and some have even had to file for bankruptcy. This has brought to the fore the need for small brands to start looking at branch out to different countries like India.
She added: “People in India really want to invest in Western brands that are imported to India. They want to see Western-style products in their local stores.”Born in Slovakia, Vybohova would love to expand her brand into Europe but is still uncertain as to where the perfect location would be.
Paris, the fashion capital of the world, is naturally under consideration. “I thought about opening a warehouse in Paris, but the city has been through a lot of turmoil lately. I would need to look at economically viable locations, which will also make warehousing and shipping easier,” she says.On potentially opening a warehouse in Europe, Vybohova urges small brands to consider the continent as there’s plenty of room for growth.
“Small businesses should look at entering countries where consumers are scrambling for Western brands and styles. With current demand, I am hoping to ship as much as 50% of my inventory by the end of this month. It could actually be more, as I don’t have much inventory left for the current season.”Selecting the right country for expansion can be a daunting task, as each nation’s Customs duties and processes are different.
Vybohova explains that shipping to Australia, as an example, is much easier than shipping products to Canada. “Canada required a lot of paperwork and all the receipts had to be included – even though it is only a 6-hour drive away. There are customers around the world who want Michaela V. products, but it’s hard to get into some countries.”
Although the global economic climate is uncertain, there are some products that consumers are refusing to go without. According to Vybohova, these include cosmetic and jewelry brands.In addition to founding the Michaela V. luxury footwear brand, Vybohova is also an accomplished model and featured on the cover of the April 2020 issue of Maxim Australia.
“Beauty brands have been doing really well. All my bookings as a model right now are for beauty brands, so I can definitely see that there is a shift in marketing and branding towards those products. Even though there is a pandemic, people still want to look and feel great.”
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.