With changing times, Indian consumers too are changing in terms of their lifestyle needs and fashion desires. What was earlier a mere necessity purchase has started gaining a foothold in the lifestyle shopping category. Handbag is one such category and Baggit happens to be one such brand that ensures offering quality, innovative design pieces in order to up the fashion game for its consumers. Launched in 1990, Baggit has come a long way with an expansive retail presence and a huge collection of its vegan bags. We talk to the lady of the hour, Nina Lekhi, MD and Chief Design Curator, Baggit, about the brand, its collection, marketing strategies, expansion plans and her success mantra.
Tell us about Baggit, its inception and USP.
Three decades ago I realised that there is a dearth of funky and contemporary bags in India. My design background helped me start off with one bag then. I sold at exhibitions, supplied exclusively in my initial years to a few retail stores in South Mumbai. One thing led to another, and an entrepreneur inside me was born. I have always strived to cater to the lifestyle and fashion needs of the modern Indian women. Whether it was 26 years ago, when I first started with a few bags or today when we started selling at 1000+ outlets. From a very young age, I was passionate about painting which inspired me to take up a diploma foundation art course at Sophia’s. But after my failure at the art course, due to unavoidable reasons, I decided to do two part time courses; one in textile and another in interior decoration. After that, I picked up the tools of the trade and started the Baggit journey in 1985.
From the day of its inception, Baggit has been primarily catering to the wide Indian market with a product portfolio that is affordable and fashionable. Baggit is a brand that incorporates eco-friendly values to its entire product portfolio that has led the brand to win PETA Proggy Award in 2007. Our products have perfect blend of fashion and functionality which is usually the top lookout of every woman. Our core competency lies in designing and manufacturing in India to create modern designs with non-leather materials and thus, becoming one of the favourite bag brands of Indian consumers.
Tell us about your product range and target audience.
It is aimed at the modern Indian women and men with a wide range of bags and accessories such as belts, caps, wallets, multi-utility pouches captured under the roof of two brands – Baggit and Nina Lekhi, along with several more wardrobe must-haves to uplift the fashion quotient of every Indian.
Introduce us to Baggit’s new Autumn/ Winter campaign and also about the brand’s new collection.
The women-oriented campaign looks at the various roles a woman has to essay in every sphere of life, which she does so with aplomb. Women play multiple roles repetitively where the urge is to stand out wherever they go, whatever be the occasion. They are attractive, confident, looked up to and tired of following the known notions and perspective presented by the society. This is a break-free collection, concentrating on the sole identity of women, creating a world for them where they can be themselves.
Baggit had forayed into men’s collection last year. What made you enter into men’s category?
The masculine identity in modern social world gets affected by many personal, social and marketing factors, affecting the attitude of men and driving them towards self-grooming. The market has already made the man conscious towards his looks and the grooming industry is tapping on this wallet show. For men, we have been designing bags like backpacks, sling bags, messenger bags, laptop bags and in the wallets category we are creating varied options like the passport holder, credit card holder to meet their travel and fashion needs.
Tell us about Baggit’s retail presence.
Baggit has around 50 exclusive brand outlets and has also spread its retail presence by being a part of around 450 leading large format stores. In the online space, one can purchase Baggit products from Baggit.com and also through other e-commerce platforms. The brand is also available through a bunch of trade partners including its first international venture at Sri Lanka.
What are your plans to expansion? Will Baggit foray into overseas market anytime soon?
The industry will grow by double digit figure and that is a strong catalyst for expanding our business. We have recently forayed in Sri Lanka and are also tapping other international markets.
Tell us about your marketing strategies for the brand.
As a brand, we are always on our toes, researching about the trends and the potential gaps in the market. Product strategy, marketing strategy and consumer experience strategy are the key components for ensuring a rise in brand equity. We make sure that our designed products are contemporary and modern in style. That fills in the latent demand of the globally traveled Indian consumer which in turn is being marketed across the ecosystem on month-on-month basis in both – online and offline modes. This content marketing effort has built a unique and loyal following of the brand.
Our marketing strategy consists of a few tenets which keeps us ahead in the industry. Baggit takes keen interest in listening to its customers and hence resolves their queries and doubts in the shortest time expected. We keep ourselves busy by experimenting with the new online and the offline marketing platforms and doing regular blogger meets. We invest in building fruitful partnerships across the ecosystems like the one with Zivame has given us an opportunity and in return to cater to their audience and helps both the brands to grow together. I would like to quote a very popular saying: “Consumers do not buy what is offered but, they buy what adds value to them”, and Baggit invests in adding value to the customers by its constant endeavor.
What is the contribution of e-commerce to Baggit’s overall revenue generation? Also tell us about your omni- channel strategy.
The contribution of e-commerce lands up in a double digit contribution to the overall Baggit’s revenue generation and it’s also growing dramatically. Our omni-channel strategy comprises of an integrated shopping experience from a desktop to a smartphone, telephone, mall or a store, making the sales experience for the customers seamless and also the game changer for the retail industry in India.
Tell us about your pricing strategy. Is Baggit also into premium segment?
Baggit pricing strategy is governed by our market segment which is middle and upper middle class. Nina Lekhi label has made Baggit enter the premium segment. It has a limited availability and taps the top of the pyramid.
Tell us about your manufacturing and designing facilities.
Baggit manufactures and designs bags in-house. We have a team of in-house designers who hail from renowned institutes like NIFT. The quality control is another parameter which is taken care of under the same roof. I personally handle the whole team. The team travels around the world to take inspirations and cater to the needs of global Indians.
Leather is the new in-thing in the accessory segment. Do you agree? Baggit being a vegan brand, how is it coping with the demand and trend?
Leather has its own segment of consumers but at the same time, there is a vast segment of consumers who believe in non-leather products. Baggit, being updated with the latest trends, keeps itself ahead in the league by providing a range of products which is no less than the feel of leather by utilizing materials like faux and vegan leather.
What are your biggest learnings and insights from your years of experience in the business? What is your secret mantra to success?
One of the most defining factors in my success has been my perseverance, determination and a lot of discipline which I’ve learnt along the way and this has given my business a chance to grow into the admired brand that it is today. Hence, I believe that it is my journey that has made me a successful entrepreneur. For me, success is never a destination; it is a journey where I am constantly trying to achieve more.