“Would you make grocery bags?” jeered her father when he saw Nina Lekhi immersed in work, sitting in the middle of a heap of bag-making materials. This could have been enough for a 18-year-old to break down into tears and take up something which met the approval of his father. But could there be any such idea? After all she was the first woman in the family who thought of working.
A passionate painter since childhood, Nina got interested in taking up diploma in foundation art course at Sophia Polytechnic College, Mumbai. But to her utter dismay she failed the course. This pushed her in a panic zone and that’s when she decided to take take up two part-time courses.
“I didn’t know what had happened because I was used to being a good girl in class, being the head girl, always being the teacher’s best student, and suddenly this whole thing came upon me that I’ve failed. It was for me as if I’d failed in life.”
Nina only knew one thing and that was creating stuff that she would herself want to buy. She saw t-shirt with slogans and personality but nobody was selling bags with a statement in India. Nina says it happened all by incident and she had never thought her work will grow at such a rapid speed. Thanks to the support and encouragement from her mother, Nina began making bags with a capital of just Rs 7,000. She bought fabrics and other material and hired a tailor to stitch them together.
She began displaying her bags at stores where they sold like hot cakes. This prompted Nina to take her products seriously and she began exploring eco-friendly, vegan material for her bags. Baggit was born out non-cruelty and used faux leather and upto 85% recyclable material which has made them a huge favorite among the animal-loving fraternity.
Having her fair share of difficulties, she lost more than 100% money invested in the first store that she opened.
Fast forward 25 years, Baggit is now selling at more than 1,000 stores across the country and unlike other brands it is completely manufactured in India. The business which she started with only Rs 7,000 has become a brand worth over Rs 100 crore.
Looking back, now Nina realizes failing in college actually pushed her closer to her destiny and beginning of Baggit. Besides being a successful entrepreneur, she also balances her personal life wonderfully believing that women are fabulous at multi-tasking.
A meditation-lover, Nina is full of life and a big believer in inner voice, instinct and never letting go what you love doing. She began her journey at a time when not many dared to dream of making a mark for themselves but persistence and believing in her creation has got Baggit a long way. Wish her more success and may be keep inspiring many more people.
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