Nish and Sach Kukadia
Role and company:
Brothers Nish Kukadia, CEO, and Sach Kukadia, Buying Director, are the co-founders of SecretSales.com, a leading UK fashion-focused flash sale website. The company offers consumers premium brands including Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Dior and Alexander McQueen at a significantly reduced price. The business is celebrating its 5th anniversary this year and has just launched the UK’s first fashion flash sale TV advertising campaign.
£20m turnover is expected for this year.
Growth forecast for the next three years:
We are aiming to double the size of the business each year.
In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:
We are the only online fashion shopping business in the UK to have a closed registration process. This allows us to retain and protect the integrity of the brands we work with without diluting, damaging or compromising their position within the market.
What’s the big vision for your business?
We are currently focusing on the UK market, in particular on the accessory and footwear sectors, which are hugely popular. Annually in the UK, £1.3bn is spent on these products alone and we are steering our business model towards this profitable market. We are also constantly working towards becoming the UK’s leading flash-sale site and will continue working with global, luxury, designer brands to achieve this end-goal.
Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:
Nish Kukadia: During my early career, despite enjoying working in advertising, I decided to step into the world of import and export. The role went entirely against my grain and very quickly I found myself longing to return to a more digital and retail focused position. Soon after leaving, my brother Sach and I decided to launch SecretSales.
What makes you mad in business today?
Laziness and complacency are traits which will ultimately lead to failure in any organisation. We aim to give our team here at SecretSales autonomy – it’s important to us that they feel as passionately about the brand as we do and are constantly striving for not only their own success but the success of the business too.
What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?
Flash sale competition is now significant, not only within the UK but globally. Everyone is competing for the same stock and therefore the equilibrium is shifting in favour of the vendor. The financial recession has also brought about a change in the way consumers are shopping and it is essential for all retailers to be constantly aware of spending habits and how they are evolving.
Social media and the digital space is also another key area in our market and something we believe impacts massively on a brand’s reputation and popularity among consumers. Technology is constantly developing and brands must keep abreast of these changes in order to stay ahead of their competitors.
Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow?
Research from the Federation of Small Businesses claims that SMEs account for 99 per cent of all enterprise in the UK, 58.8 per cent of private sector employment and 48.8 per cent of private sector turnover. Despite these figures, at the moment small businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to find funding, in particular online businesses such as ourselves. It is interesting that despite our contemporaries in countries such as America enjoying a much easier funding process, small businesses in the UK face a much more challenging and complicated route towards financial support.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Nish: Although we are ultimately working towards the same goal, our leadership styles do vary. David Ogilvy’s “hire great people and have the faith to let them get on with it” is a principle I firmly believe in. That said, I’d describe my leadership style as collaborate, inquisitive and setting the bar high with clear milestones.
Sach on the other hand centres on maintaining the team’s positive momentum by communicating clearly and often, as well as coaching the team to tackle obstacles in inventive ways. The route to success is up to the innovativeness of the great people we’ve hired.
Your biggest personal extravagance
Nish Kukadia: I’m getting quite into cooking so buying cool culinary gadgets has become my latest thing. My place is more stocked than a Ramsay kitchen!
Sach Kukadia: Naturally I get access to some great pieces of clothing and shoes, so I’d have to say my wardrobe shopping habits are my biggest extravagance. I have over 70 pairs of shoes…
You’ve got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK’s independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:
It is evident that confidence in the banks among SMEs has fallen dramatically over the past few years and is imperative that more is done to help fund these companies which make up a vast proportion of our economy. Lack of funds is also having a negative effect on unemployment as businesses are no longer able to afford to take on certain levels of employees. Where in the past we would have seen 20 applicants for a role, we are now looking at an average of 200.
The government needs to acknowledge the crippling effect that lack of SME funding is having on our economy and release resources to help younger businesses secure cash for expansion. This will ultimately increase employment figures and make the path towards economic growth more attainable.