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East Midlands Chamber News

Meet the entrepreneur behind Chanodil - a start-up seeking to make fashion more sustainable by digitising supply chains

An entrepreneur who is helping to digitise fashion supply chains believes technology could make it a more sustainable industry.

Chathura Sudharshan connects designers, manufacturers, buyers and suppliers from across the world on his Chanodil online platform to simplify how garments are produced.

The Sri Lankan native, who arrived in Nottingham three years ago with a couple of hundred pounds to his name, has already managed to recruit clients from across the world and believes he could soon be sitting on a billion-pound empire.

He said: “Digitising supply chains is going to be a big trend after the pandemic as we move towards virtual ways of doing business, and I can see very high growth in this area, particularly in the fashion industry as it seeks to cut costs and improve its carbon footprint.

“We’re helping brands to streamline the whole process so they have access to all the information they need across the supply chain on one screen, which is important for small and medium-sized brands.

“This isn’t just a business for the UK but for a global phenomenon, so we think the scale-up potential is there to become a billion-pound business and a trillion-dollar industry in five to 10 years’ time.”

The story behind how Chanodil was founded - and how it works

Chanodil was founded in 2019 by Chathura, who has both a fashion design and product development bachelor’s degree at the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka, and a master’s degree in entrepreneurship and business operations at Nottingham Trent University.

The 32-year-old, who has also worked in design roles in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, developed the online business-to-business (B2B) service after identifying numerous pain points, including difficulties in finding manufacturers for small quantities, the management process, back-and-forward emails and high costs associated with the various supply chain elements.

Companies can register on the platform as a buyer, designer or manufacturer, and post a proposal setting out their needs – for example, someone may want to make 500 jackets using a certain material and needs help with the sourcing, sampling and production – and select the services they require, along with deadlines and payment details.

The platform creates an enquiry that other companies can respond to with offers, while the software also enables users to manage and track their orders by logging into their online profile.

Chanodil carries out a full audit of every business to ensure it is a sustainable and ethical manufacturer.

Chanodil already has international clients and awards recognition

To date, it has facilitated more than 50 enquiries for 20 brands in countries such as the US, Canada, UAE, South Africa, Sweden and Denmark, with another 100 enquiries in the pipeline.

Chanodil is a finalist in the Improvement through Technology category at this year’s Nottinghamshire Business Awards, run by the Chamber.

Chathura, who lives in Nottingham, added: “We can offer the same service without expanding our resources, whether we have 10, 100 or 1,000 customers, so we can easily expand this business model and take the platform anywhere in the world.

“We’re able to guarantee brands can access high-quality people in every element of the supply chain so they can focus on the front-end sales.

“In our onboarding process, we make sure every company is working according to our environmental and ethical standards so they aren’t using child labour, are paying minimum wage, don’t infringe IP rights and have sustainable practices.

“We’re looking to integrate virtual sampling into the platform to cut down a lot of fuel costs and emissions associated with travelling to factories, and we’re encouraging our customers to use biodegradable materials and recyclable packaging.”