Fashion, Failure & Future

Running Baggit for more than 3 decades is a success story in itself. However, dodging the bumps, cashing in on the opportunities and nailing the targets are not always easy, especially when the story is about a Made in India brand. Let me tell you one such unique story of Baggit – a brand that was conceived in a small corner of a bedroom and has now transformed into a 100-crore company.

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Back when I began, buying a high-quality, ladies handbag was a luxury. But for me, bags were more of a necessity than a luxury. I didn’t understand how brands didn’t cater to women’s need to change their bags with their outfits. Thus, I decided to convert my passion of designing bags to a business, from home. This sowed the seeds of entrepreneurship in me. I opened my ‘office’ in one-half of the children’s bedroom at my dad’s two bedrooms flat in Worli. Will you believe it that I used to sleep on the floor, and my bed became home to cartons, designs and other materials?

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My entrepreneurial journey edged further as I visited the crowded streets of Hindmata to buy fabric & roped in the liftman, the security guard or the local zip-repairwala for making bags. Every step pumped up my adrenaline rush, allowing me to move to the next steps. Initially, Baggit bags were displayed at Zedd’s, a retail garment shop run by my husband, Manoj. It was around this time that I received my first big order for 200 bags. Manjo and I drove to the store in a Maruti 800, with the back seat filled with carton boxes!

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As we grew, so did the times when the business at Baggit faced some unanticipated crises. Like for instance, fraudsters used to take our bag samples and sell them under their label at a lower price. This feeling of deceit was worse when we discovered that some of our contract-job workers were moonlighting for the copycats! Because I valued honesty above all principles, I shut my eyes and ears and kept going. I’m glad I did this because our mettle was eventually proven.

As the number of contract workers increased, we decided to take a plunge and in 2005, we opened our first Exclusive Brand Outlet (EBO) at Atria Mall, Worli. With this, the demand for our products skyrocketed, encouraging us to expand to a factory in Bhiwandi providing a boost in local employment. In fact, even during the threat of outsourcing materials and finished products from China, we stuck to this principle of being a Made in India brand with an uncompromising attitude that emerges from traditional Indian values of helping everyone around you. These values also reflect in our choice of being a cruelty-free fashion brand.

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This was followed by another ‘brave’ step of planning to expand globally. To understand the consumer buying trends we planned international visits to Paris, London and Milan which taught us so much about fashion trends. I eagerly observed the product lines, the materials, the cuts being offered, the pricing strategies, and the strengths of international companies similar to Baggit. We never copied a single design but all that I ensured was that whatever I valued in a bag as a consumer, my customers would experience the same in a Baggit bag.

Throughout the journey, I can never underestimate the love and support of my family. All of us share a common vision to contribute every bit towards improving the economy and creating equal employment opportunities. Thus, we get together like water and salt. My top management level is as loyal and trustworthy as it can be. Also, because Baggit is a home-grown family brand, it gives a sense of security and safety to all our employees.

Today, Baggit is growing by leaps and bounds. With Baggit present in over 200 cities, at over 1000 counters, we are leading the fashion trends, both nationally and internationally with the functionality and quality that only a Made in India brand can provide. If you believe, anything is possible. You really can ‘Baggit’ all!