BIBA Apparels Pvt Ltd By Bryan deRegt and Amy McDougall

Meena Bindra was a wife of a military man in India looking for a little extra pocket money. To accomplish this goal, she decided to begin designing and making some garments out of her house. She made traditional ethnic garments of the Northern India region. These were practical garments that fit all the traditional needs but were also trendy so they made an attractive alternative to the market. She planned only a small business but the demand was so extensive that she had to make new plans. Now, she has about a hundred stores and should be up to 150 stores by the end of 2013. She is still heavily involved on the design side while her son, Siddharth Bindra, has taken over as Managing Director and runs the company with his mother. The company has grown into three different collections of women’s clothing: mix-and-match, Salwar Kameez & Dupathas, and a girl’s line aimed at ages 2-13. In the coming years, Bindra’s vision seems like it will grow into a global enterprise from its small start in her home.

Before our visit, we knew that BIBA would emulate the traditions of Indian culture and history. The website was full of colorful photographs of the ornate designs that BIBA has to offer. Its mission was to offer “fashion at affordable prices” and was targeted to capture all the needs of an Indian woman. Its motto was “Diva on the outside, a romantic at heart-a woman can be an alluring journey.” On the business side, we found many aspects to be interesting. Before learning Siddharth Bindra was the founder’s son, we wondered how he wound up as Managing Director of a textile company after getting a master’s from Harvard in Futures and Derivatives. Additionally, the business had made a new move to partner with an ace designer Manish Arora to help make his clothes for lower prices and appeal to the masses. They also had previous contracts with Bollywood blockbusters and had won numerous awards for being the top female ethnic clothing brand in India.

When we got to the company however, we did not realize that we would be encountering an enormous enterprise that oversees a garment all the way from design to customer. It had an elaborate process of creative design, sampling, fabric purchasing, merchandising, and distribution. Each season (which accounts for six months of the year) witnesses over 1 million meters of fabric being used for hundreds of new designs.  During our tour, we got to see them beginning the process for the Spring/Summer of 2014, as they constantly try to stay ahead of fashion. We had the privilege of meeting with the founder Meena Bindra. She discussed her early start and transition into her role of working in the design area while her son took over business operations. Interestingly, she discussed that they had stopped their association with Bollywood. However, before stopping, she shared with us their greatest success. Partnering with Future Group, they made a garment for a Bollywood film that when it hit retail would not stay on the shelves. Eventually, BIBA made more money off the clothing item than Future Group made off their movie.

Throughout our meeting, we were able to discover a constant theme. This theme was an overarching idea that the most important thing is whether the garment would sell. A design may be beautiful but if the decision makers did not think it would sell then it would not be produced. They do extensive research into trends to discover what will be popular while also greatly relying on the eye of Meena and Siddharth Bindra. In fact, Meena Bindra said that when Siddharth looks at a garment 99% of the time he can tell if it will be a hit. This experiences greatly aides the company in their decision process. Overall, we were very impressed with the company and look forward to seeing their bright future.

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