Fundamental changes suppose to hurt, but it’s for the better.
Our company COTIT has gone through a significant change process in the past few weeks. What seemed like a hard choice eventually came with many new opportunities, insights, and more clarity going into future development.
Moving towards a vision.
For those unfamiliar with our business, since 2016, COTIT’s mission has been to disrupt the Fashion Industry. Because we didn’t have any experience in the industry, we decided to gain experience by being commercially active in fashion. While we grew our business mainly doing intermediation of production inquiries, we continually built solutions to improve various workflows and processes within the Fashion industry. Firstly, for ourselves to manage more work with fewer people until we realized that other fashion businesses could also benefit from our solution.
Last year, at the beginning of 2021, we considered stopping all the production intermediation activities and the other supporting services that came along with it. The reason for it was out of necessity.
Like many other companies, the pandemic also hit us very hard. It got us rethinking our business model and pushed us to start doing what we initially came to do, disrupting the Fashion Industry with technology that would change the way consumers buy their products.
The problems we face inspire us to find suitable solutions for the future.
Funny enough, most of our problems have brought us exactly where we needed to be. If it wasn’t for the many challenges we faced, we could never have come up with our unique COTIT 360° Solution, and we would never be able to grow in experience, knowledge, and skillsets as fast as we did over the last few years.
At some point in 2018, while keeping our business running, we thought it was a great idea to build a web application to improve our efficiency and have a workspace where we could do most of our daily operations under one tab. At first thought, we would build a separate company with a subscription model for small and medium businesses. This product is called VimDesk.
Because of lack of capacity, the focus for VimDesk got lost, and business, as usual, dragged us to be very busy with our customer demands and requirements until the big lockdown took place in March 2020 because of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. Suddenly, most of our customers withdrew their projects with us and decided to lay low.
Obviously, it was terrible to see our revenue forecast for Q2 2020 decrease from a few 100K to nearly zero.
Seeing our future becoming very uncertain, we needed to take action. But taking action during the storm might not be the best thing to do. We would get challenges after challenges in a short period — Financial challenges, Personal issues, Customer disputes, issues with Suppliers, Bad investments, and much more. Most of those issues existed in the activities of our old business model.
So in 2021, we decided to finish all the outstanding projects and start shifting into a new business model that would operate as a Fashion-Tech company that would make the industry more transparent by providing a system where the entire supply chain of a product is made visible.
Changing the Fundamentals
The decision to change our business model was easy to make after experiencing many setbacks in our previous model. Little did we know that every change you make comes with unforeseen issues and new dilemmas.
One of the biggest questions that we asked ourselves was; If we decide to focus more on the Tech side of the business, do we still need to focus on the Fashion industry solely?
It is a tough decision to change strategy, but it’s even more crucial to change the entire focus to an industry-neutral solution. When you worked in the past years digging deep to find a valuable solution for the Fashion Industry, all kinds of mixed feelings are involved.
We had to go back to our why, find out our company’s core purpose, and ask ourselves what we are trying to achieve in business and society.
The philosophy behind our solution is to bring transparency into the Fashion Industry’s supply chain, so companies can improve on sustainable goals and be more aware of the production process, the usage of a product, and the after-life to promote recycling and such. As a result, we will use resources more consciously and fairly.
The goal is to have a system that holds product data to make incremental improvements considering the environmental impact and user awareness.
Even though the Fashion Industry still inspires us, we have changed our perspective to be industry neutral. The philosophy behind our solutions will theoretically have a more significant impact. And besides that, also for users, it would make more sense if society could access data on entire industries instead of only those in the fashion industry.
All things eventually come together.
Although our team moves flexibly, fast, and strategically, it’s not easy to change the entire business model without casualties. We dealt with lost investments, irrelevant employees, and customers who didn’t fit the company anymore.
And, of course, our company structure and strategy had to change, which is always more work than initially estimated.
Changing the entire model came with a lot of stress and dilemmas. It can feel exhausting, and employees can get demotivated when plans change. It can even create a lack of trust in the company’s vision, and insecurities may increase. At some times, the new ideas feel like we are a bunch of geniuses, and at some times, we feel like idiots wandering around.
Still, as a team, we persist and believe that every obstacle we meet is just another preparation to get to the next stage of doing things. As a business, as a team, and individually, we keep pushing to improve our ways and overcome every obstacle. We are growing to create more impact, bend adversities into lessons, and find the opportunities in every crisis. We tell ourselves that this is the mentality we need to accept to be impactful.
Overall we have proven to be able to withstand distress. At this stage, the future looks even more bright with our current model, and we find when telling about it to other parties, they get inspired and interested in our company’s vision.
And that’s precisely why we changed our slogan into: