Failing college might just be the best thing to happen to you, if you go by Baggit founder Nina Lekhi’s serendipitous story
48-year-old Nina Lekhi is just like the bags her brand makes — cool and trendy. Be it running Baggit, taking care of her daughter, attending silence camps or doing adventure sports, Lekhi takes on every responsibility with a smile and enthusiasm. It is all these qualities that helped her start the accessory brand 30 years ago and build it to what it is today — a ₹75-crore company with 40 exclusive outlets and over 300 multi-brand stores in 128 cities across the country.
It all started with a jolt — one that Lekhi received when she failed the first year of her Arts course at Sophia Polytechnic in Mumbai. With a year to kill, Lekhi turned her bedroom into a factory, buying raw material from the market and taking the help of her building’s liftman and the watchman to cut and stitch it up. Little did she know that a stitching class that her mother had enrolled her in when she was younger would come in handy at this point. One thing led to another, and before she knew it, she was selling her bags at small stores and exhibitions.
Her business soon moved out of her bedroom into a space of its own. Lekhi also displayed and sold her bags at exhibitions that her husband set up, after which she began retailing from the Oberoi in Mumbai. After three years, the business grew big enough for Lekhi to rent a shop in Kemp’s Corner, which she bought it over after five years.
Asked whether life would have been any different had she married someone else, she says, “Of course. If I was asked to do daily chores all the time and run the household, I would have never been able to build the brand.”
“Baggit grew very organically. We never bothered advertising till about three years ago,” she informs us. Going forward, Lekhi has many plans for her business — she dreams of taking her business international and opening a store in Paris. Another dream Lekhi has is to create jobs in rural India, something she has tried before and wants to do on a larger scale.