Barbie Weds Superman – Wedding of the Century !
December 23, 2015 2 Comments
Last night I heard confirmation that Team 2 (consisting of myself and fellow IndiBloggers Akshay Iyer, Leena Singbal, Vanessa Rowe, Subham Singh, Bikash Bhandary, Prashant Kharkhera, Aditi Pathak, Mohit Chabria, Chirag ) had been judged a winner of the Ad Mad Event at #Flipkartkids for our improv perfomance: “Barbie Weds Superman – Wedding of the Century !”.
And the judge was no less than Ace Adman O&Ms Piyush Pandey!(intelligence as per the person shooting the official video.)
I played Masoom 05151 and anchored the show we put up. And ‘Barbie Weds Superman – Wedding of the Century !’, is probably how I will always best recall last Saturday’s #Flipkartkids event.
Hopefully I can track down photos or even the official video of our performance. IndiBlogger founders and crew can you help?
I initially attended this event to launch Flipkart Li’l Stars – India’s Biggest Online Kids Store, to get some insight into how I could invest in the “Toy Story”. After all we are now an increasingly young nation with a lot of children and parents who are more aware than ever before of toy trends world-over. Moreover we now have greater means to indulge our children. So there must be money to be made in the situation. And I had heard that people from Disney, Mattel and Chhota Bheem were to attend the event.
Also I am very concerned about the “financial education “of kids. Teaching kids about money is a pretty hot topic these days and financial education is entering our school curriculum. Just the other day I saw a dad who had brought his teenage daughter to the local ICICI bank branch and was hunting for an application form for a Demand Draft, to show his daughter, as part of a school project. However, in the name of financial education, all that I see are attempts to create awareness in children about various financial products on offer and perhaps catch and train consumers young. Awareness of various types of financial products is good but unless questioning and critical thinking are cultivated in children, we’d be doing them as big or bigger a disservice than ignoring their financial education. Just ask the adults who have lost money in MF SIPs, even while they thought they were doing the right thing to achieve greater prosperity !And in any case, budgeting, saving, investing in retail financial products etc. are the skills for a middle-class person. Essential but not sufficient to create greater financial success. Classic board games such as Monopoly or Indian Trader can be used by an adult or older child to teach a younger or less knowledgeable player about different ways of thinking that ensures a person becomes wealthy over time. I was hoping to find out how many more such resources were available to replicate in modern form the inter-generational teaching that happened in business families in the past, when young children just went to the shop or place of manufacture and picked up or were taught the tricks of the trade.
At the meet I was surprised that kids fashion and clothing was a topic up for discussion. But I got 3 important takeaways:
1.Children are influenced by their peer group and by TV and game content in the clothes they choose. And Hannah Montana rather than Barbie are what kids these days really go for. Though not sure that normally cyclical businesses like textiles and garments will normally meet my investment criteria, investing in brands that can extend into kids clothing is a possibility.
2.Sizes are a big issue. The country has no standardization as of now. Then there is the matter of fall and drapes. “Try me now” is a feature parents may want. This “cost of returns” is something entrepreneurs must work into their business plans. Without the feature customers might not buy kids clothes online. Entrepreneurs had best perhaps focus on cuts and designs that don’t result in too many rejections. Interesting to hear just how much effort had to be expended to get Chhota Bheem Dhotis right.
3.Childern do participate in product selection online, so designing the visuals in a way that appeals to parents and kids is important.
The next surprise learning came from the folks at Flipkart.That e-commerce has grown or redefined markets by making it possible for buyers and sellers,no matter how remotely located, who could never before come in contact with each other to transact business, is a no-brainer. But just how profoundly e-commerce could affect how business was done was an eye-opener. Here are three more great takeaways:
1Now I’m the sort of person put off by a lot of businesses that require me to carry inventory. Having an experience of working with cut flowers and fresh produce, I have an organic experience of the stresses that come from stocking perishable inventory. Even when the goods are less perishable, I worry about fads and fashions and competitor products . Converting good fungible cash to products that may not retain value so well bothers me. So I’m always looking for businesses where my inventory is built at next to no cost, where inventory can be considered to have investment value, inventory with multiple uses, receiving goods on consignment, just in time production, lean production, etc. etc.I’m always actively looking for avenues to reduce the risk of holding inventory I can’t move profitably or which takes up a large part of my working capital..Its possible for a person to have 5 SKUs and start selling online at Flipkart. So a person could set up in trade, perhaps even import trade, with very little overall risk. So a great deal of experimentation and low risk fine-tuning of one’s product mix is possible.
2.A good part of being an entrepreneur is matching production process to the demand and connecting them both with a system that makes for a great customer experience. These days most of our toys are mass manufactured. But there is no reason why we can’t have limited edition made to order ,customized, unique one of a kind toys or batch manufactured artisanal ones. E-commerce sites like Flipkart could help connect such buyers and sellers efficiently and inexpensively. So the likes of the Rocking Horse at Hermes can be available outside their maisons too.
3.By analysing search trends, e-commerce sites such as Flipkart can give manufacturers and sellers insights into what potential customers are looking for and possibly the size of demand and changes in it. Hence, manufacturing and trading can be de-risked to a great extent.
A third very interesting discovery is that Flipkart has a corporate sales department and that’s the place to approach to buy toys enmass, perhaps as return gifts or for schools etc. Definitely an alternative to non-branded or Chinese toys with no product quality warrantees.
A fourth tip was that Flipkart monitors its site for the word fake. This is their way to keep out sellers of knock-off products.
Fifthly, kids today are perhaps nowhere as patient as before. So a business that can deliver toys with the least lag time has an advantage.
My question about what toys are available to increase the financial savvy of kids brought the usual answers about ways to teach math, ways to teach budgeting etc. and a suggestion that apps are available online to help. After that it was pretty much an admission that we don’t have much out there really. The gentleman from Chhota Bheem seemed to be most struck by the fact. Perhaps we can expect something unique and home-grown from these guys. In the meanwhile what do you my readers think about a wealthymatters selection of financial intelligence enhancing toys and games ? Yes there are apps, videos, books etc. galore available online. But knowing is not doing. Many people identify good companies, but how many manage to buy shares at a decent price and then hang on till the right time? Knowing mentally versus actually being able to manage emotions to act the right way is different. And its this emotion management that is drilled in via games. Also learning by doing rather than taking in set lessons, learning to ask the relevant questions and frame problems,developing judgement, developing people skills, people management skills,negotiation skills, salesmanship etc.
Another shortcoming that was found is that there are no real toys especially made for children with special needs. People just make do with a selection of toys made for normal children.
And lastly two unrelated observations stick in my mind. One co-invitee was insistent that she never buys diapers anywhere else but online. I didn’t have a chance to ask her why but I just have to look into it to see what if any is the advantage in doing so. And till I heard Kalpana Behara say it,it would have never crossed my mind that anybody could ever care enough about some or other stranger commenting on their parenting that they’d turn off comments on their parenting blog. Note to me: think twice before leaving frank comments on blogs. My no big deal might be hurtful to others.
Also here’s hoping that the creative bug has bitten Anoop really bad and we’ll soon have the definitive (Hard Rock will be great but Reggae or whatever will do just fine)band for bloggers with our own anthems. Perhaps the first one has the Hur Hur Hur refrain for us to sing along at top volume next time!