In these uncertain times I find myself thinking more than usual about our company tagline, Bonding Matters, and how it feels more relevant and in context than ever.
While the times have been trying, there is room for cautious optimism, as it feels like the worst of the pandemic is behind us. Even though the markets are expected to remain volatile for some time, the global economy is gearing towards an exit strategy and an eventual recovery. Fortunately, many of our partners, particularly those in eCommerce, remain strong and with much reason for optimism as the accelerated shift to online will present many opportunities.
For me personally, it’s been most difficult to stay away from the place I love. I greatly miss coming in everyday, seeing everyone and breathing the daily bustle that is Kornit. But as a German philosopher once said, what doesn’t break us makes us stronger…
But these times have also afforded us the gift of introspection, of re-evaluating what truly matters. Think about how an undiscriminating abstract enemy has somehow brought us closer and the world together. I am heart-warmed to have witnessed the dozens of daily acts of random kindness, caring and resilience by everyday heroes, as well as humbled by the courage and dedication of those on the front lines. This gives me hope that these beautiful acts will remain long after the virus has been finally defeated.
In the meantime, we at Kornit are contributing our part in the global battle: taking part, together with some of the biggest textile producers and brand names in fashion in the PPE (protective personal equipment) manufacturing efforts. It is the imperative of the times to promote the safety of those on the front lines and we are contributing free ink to the collective effort.
In addition to staying safe, we also need to think of the future and the role we will play, together with our employees, partners and stakeholders on the road to recovery and return to normalcy.
Return & Reimagination
Tomorrow will be different for many, but it also provides us with the opportunity to reimagine it and play a significant role in reshaping it.
In this new world, consumers will demand to know how their fashion and apparel is being manufactured and will look for solutions that are kind to the planet; that take only a fraction of the resources to produce and don’t pollute the air nor the water. They will demand to buy from those that are part of the solution, and not part of the problem. We can no longer afford to generate 20% of the world’s industrial water pollution nor to create 90 million tons of waste in North America alone each year.
Optimism & Opportunity
For our friends in the fashion industry who are undoubtedly hurting now, we offer great opportunity and a clear roadmap for change. The digital, on-demand printing revolution tackles the age-long pain of over-production and under-utilization. This revolution will re-shape and transform the conversations you are having with your consumers by offering more designs, faster and cheaper. It will allow you to eliminate the seasonal guesswork and be more responsive in real-time to your consumer’s wants and needs.
The shifting landscape is going to force the fashion industry to accelerate trends that were already in the making — more sustainable practices and a more agile approach to market demands. We are here, strongly positioned to partner and provide you with everything you need to see this transition through.
The online opportunity
It comes with little surprise that among our customers who have been the least affected by the virus, we find those in eCommerce. The transition to online was already happening before the outbreak and as all facets of the economy are already shifting gears to accelerate this transition, our industry is no different. It is estimated that 20% of the stores that have shut down due to the pandemic will not reopen as stores, but as warehouses to fulfill eCommerce. Naturally, we at Kornit are strongly positioned to facilitate this growth that is only expected to continue to grow.
While many of our customers in traditional retail and the promotional segments are feeling the hurt of the times, it’s encouraging to see many of them being extremely resourceful and creative in developing alternate business models and seizing on new opportunities such as custom PPE manufacturing as well as exploring exciting opportunities in Direct-to-fabric and overall proximity production.
Self-expression as the barometer of recovery
It might be hard to imagine it right now, but we will go back to buying clothes. Because, at its core, fashion is a celebration of individuality, an escape from the mundane. It’s what connects us to people across the globe and to our deepest emotions. As people leave their houses again, they will wear clothes to reflect their re-found sense of freedom and to signify the victory of the spirit over the pandemic.
In these troubling times, it brings me comfort to think that we will look back one day and see that Covid-19 has actually accelerated a transition the world deeply needed. I believe we will all come out stronger and kinder to our planet, and to each other.
In the meantime, let’s stay safe and strong.