What happens when you turn your hobby into passion? What happens when you overcome every obstacle and make it big? Is that even possible with so much market competition and constant shortage of start-up capital? Let us read the story of Meena Bindra to know better. She is a designer turned entrepreneur who fuelled Biba Apparels Private Limited to its glory.
Biba, meaning beautiful and endearing women, in Punjabi, offers attractive ethnic clothing for women. Meena’s right decisions, willingness to learn things from scratch, and implementing them is what makes it a successful brand.
Meena was 39 when she decided to turn her passion and hobby into an enterprise. The initial invested amount was a paltry sum of Rs 8,000 taken as a loan from the bank. It was solely because of her efforts that the fragmented Indian ethnic clothing market came together and revolutionized the way we dress today.
Initially, Meena would experiment with the fabrics, altering their designs and revamping them. At the time, ready-made clothing was not a household term. She had nothing to start with. The infrastructure of the brand that we today see in malls and posh marts were just castles in the air back then. Her willingness to serve, and her brilliant designs found no customers at first.
She said, she never expected people would her stuff, in fact, she never saw it as a commercial venture in the beginning.
In an interview, she recalls, “With only Rs 8,000, I first hired a cab to go to the wholesale market. I wanted to source fabric, find a tailor, and get a block printer. I stitched 40 pieces in sizes S, M, and L and sold them for Rs 170 each, making a profit of nearly Rs 3,000. That was huge money then.”
In the late 1980’s, when Meena Bindra designed her first Punjabi suit out of her Mumbai bedroom, she did not know this was start of something magnificent. She hadn’t envisaged that one day her designs will fill the wardrobe of lakhs of Indian women.
“When I started designing clothes as a hobby to earn some pocket money, I never dreamt of becoming a businesswoman, if you have the passion for something, just do it,” she says.
Life awarded Meena with various opportunities and she was aware to utilize those opportunities to the for gaining unparalleled success. One such chance knocked on her door when business honcho Kishor Biyani approached the brand for a movie partnership in the film Na Tum Jano Na Hum. Biba had to provide costumes for the celebrities. This resulted in phenomenal popularity for the brand. Then came Bollywood blockbusters like Baghban and Devdas.
Today, Biba provides quality clothing with humongous growth chart under its belt. Launched from her home, Meena’s venture went on to open its first dedicated store in the early 90s, at Inorbit Mall, in Mumbai. Cut to present, Biba has dedicated brand-exclusive store across 76 cities with 192 outlets, and over 250 shop-in-shop models. According to a report by The Hindu, their estimated annual turnover is more than Rs 600 crore.
Meena is also planning to give the brand an international identity. In fact, after stabilizing the Indian market, she plans on to launching exclusive store in the cities like London and Dubai.
It was just a small idea to start with where passion was her only ingredient. Meena Bindra’s incredible and exceptional story tells us that all it takes is an initiative and willingness to achieve our dreams.
Dream big but start small, a phrase seemingly designed to fit to life of Meena Bindra. Empower your dreams; no one can stop you from doing great in life. Share this.