When I began my journey with Baggit, I didn’t really think it was going to be the big brand that it is today. I mean, who knows it when they begin? But over the years what have I learnt is the power of vision and hard work combined with passion and competency – it makes a potent recipe for success. And as I continue on this journey, I have been able to identify the fundamentals or building blocks of Baggit which I believe to be true for most fashion entrepreneurship.
Firstly, being collaborative across your business, right from concept initiation to end sales is crucial. Since we are a Made in India brand across the value chain, this as a fundamental became very important. Through such collaborations we grew from 2 counters to the 1000+ counters we are present at today. Collaboration is necessary with consumers as well. For example, when we started catering to different regions with our exclusive stores, we realized the bag style that was sold the most depended a lot on the body type – Delhi requires a different handle size, because the shoulder size of North Indian women is taller than average.
Secondly, it is important to remember that profits aren’t always equal to success. Many enterprises run with the sole objective of making profits. However, the fashion industry due to its dynamic nature works differently. When we started with Large Format Stores (LFS) the demand for our bags skyrocketed, but we decided not to cut corners by sticking to our core of being a brand that made bags in India using cruelty-free material & highly valuing quality and functionality. This meant that we had to keep all our workers happy with consistency, timely payments & a good wage – all of which I instructed my team to do. This concept of detaching from wealth allowed more opportunities and hence wealth to flow in.
Thirdly, the power of technology should not be undermined especially in this industry. At
the onset, Baggit was a very informal organization but I felt that if we were to achieve the vision we had in mind, we had to keep systems and process in place to measure the small steps taken by each department. Hence at first we started with individual KRAs, then moved on to team KRAs and now are using technology to leverage our daily tasks and tactical to-dos. And nothing too fancy, as long as it’s efficient, it works well with the teams and achieves the results – it works wonders.
Finally, I believe fashion has the ability to be socially relevant as an industry more than any other. From promoting indigenous, culturally strong craft to a promise of contributing to sustainability, the fashion industry brings it all. Many offices have their uniform-clad peons but I’m proud of my sari-clad angels who do everything from serving tea to packing boxes and make their contribution in building an indigenous brand across the value chain – creating opportunities, working together to put India on the map of leading business countries.
So while Baggit’s journey has been full of hills and troughs, actually more troughs than hills, there hasn’t been a single situation that hasn’t been taken as an opportunity to learn, to collaborate, to communicate & to leverage. Here’s hoping that these examples from my entrepreneurial journey make these building blocks more relevant.