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Wearing Saree

Making Others Look Beautiful Makes You Happy

Hobby to business

For most of the women interested in fashion and styling it mostly starts with styling oneself or ones friends, sisters or relatives. It is an inbuilt knack in most of the women. Some have more interest in this than others and they pursue it further as a hobby. It definitely does give a lot of creative release and sense of achievement when you create something beautiful. For many women it remains as a hobby as they start prioritising other things due to family needs and expectations or in some cases society pressure. In many such cases I have observed that they continue supporting and helping their own family members, friends, relatives etc. with designing and style suggestions.

Very rarely are women able to move past this stage and convert it into a business and start earning from it. At this point I would love to narrate a beautiful story of a very courageous woman and founder of a very big and popular brand of India. Read on to know who she is and the brand.

This lady as a 39-year-old housewife and mother of two started her work which later on became a brand from her home itself. She turned her boredom into creative venture and made it to real business with an initial investment of just Rs.8,000 taken as loan from the bank way back in 1983.  “With Rs.8,000 I first hired a cab to go to the wholesale market to source fabric, find a tailor and 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,” she recalls.

Now here’s the interesting part: Each customer was a friend who was invited home to try the finished garments. “But there was no compulsion for them to buy,” she says, “because I never saw it as a commercial venture.” Yet when all the pieces moved and appreciation poured in she realised that this was her forte.

She did have the first-mover advantage. She started at a time when readymade churidar-kurtas were unheard of and sourcing of the fabric was not easy. There were no malls, no brands, no benchmarks. She believes she creates beauty with her fabric, prints and designs. “The alchemy of beauty is magical and when a woman wears it she feels connected to the dress and is transformed into a picture of confidence,” she says. 

As her business grew, she had to manage marketing, finances and planning. Mumbai’s fashion store Benzer gave her the opportunity to move her product out of her home. “Benzer was stocking Indian women’s wear and gave me my first big order and also taught me the insights of business. I had to deliver on time, keep a bill book and have a brand name for identification. That is how BIBA was born in 1988.”

BIBA was launched as a brand in 1988 and from wholesaling the brand to traditional retailers, it launched its first exclusive store at Inorbit Mall in Mumbai in the early nineties. As of 2015 BIBA had a presence across 76 Indian cities with 192 exclusive brand outlets and over 250 multi-brand outlets.

BIBA was one of the first few brands to use the shop-in-shop model with Shoppers Stop, LifeStyle and Pantaloons.

The annual turnover of Biba Apparels is estimated at Rs.600 crores as of 2015.


This amazing story is of non-other than Meena Bindra herself - an iconic inspiration to all the Indian women who dream of turning their hobby and interest into a profession and earn financial freedom and stability not only for themselves but for their family.

As is commonly said every good brand has an interesting story behind it. This is one such story. I would rather say that behind every strong brand there’s a strong person and this is the story of that person – MEENA BINDRA.

If you too are someone who loves to style and design clothes for self and for friends and feel that you can convert it into a full-fledged business then join me and a group of similar minded women who are learning fashion designing at their pace sitting in the comfort of their homes. They are not only being supported by me through WhatsApp community (for the crash course) and Weekly Live Group Coaching (for the higher courses) but also by the fellow members. Click on the button below to get instant access to the 5 day crash course in Fashion Design.




The Hindu

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