In 1983 Meena Bindra decided to observe the spirit of ‘Biba’, the Punjabi endearment for pretty ladies, by designing clothing from her home in Mumbai. She informs SOMA BASU the way that it became her life’s journey and new BIBA climbed to be the market leader in Indian girls ethnic wear. To grab the best deals and discounts shop at Shop4lyf.
Fresh from receiving the APEX Lifetime Achievement Award-2015, the premier award of the Indian apparel industry given from the Clothing Manufacturers’ Association of India yearly, Meena Bindra is really on to conquering another big fantasy. “I need BIBA to be a worldwide manufacturer,” she says as the chairperson of her trailblazing business and might as much love to start her new stores in Dubai and London.
“When I began designing clothing as a hobby to make a little pocket money, I never dreamt of becoming a businesswoman,” she moans. But today she believes she could grow to any height. “If you’ve got the passion for something, just do it,” she states.
For, that is precisely what she did. As a 39-year-old housewife and mother of 2, she flipped on her boredom into creative venture and forced it to actual business with an initial investment of just Rs.8,000 accepted as loan by the lender 33 decades back. She pioneered the salwar-kurta revolution in the country and united with girls from the North to the South changing their dressing fashions. The ‘Punjabi suit’, as it used to be called, became an increasingly important part of every girl’s wardrobe.
What is possibly little understood is that Meena Bindra also gave her ever-expanding clientele the favorite Patiala salwars. He said that he had been out of Patiala and I decided on the title and it remains,” she states.
Likewise she designed the Hyderabadi pyjamas, which can be today’s palazzo pants; the Bhopali kurtas with pleats in the front, the Peshwa pendants with stitched yoke in the center and cuffed sleeves; the battis kali (32 pleats) on mulmul for summers.
“I stumbled into designs and gave titles in a time when fashion was barely the buzzword. I was fortunate that individuals found them comfortable to wear,” she states.
Meena believes she produces beauty with her fabric, prints and designs. “The alchemy of attractiveness is magical and if a woman wears it she feels attached to the apparel and is changed into a picture of confidence,” she states. If evolving with time and keeping the civilization intact continues to be her mantra for BIBA, she states the fantastic quality of her goods delivered in time for an inexpensive price are the motives for her soaring business.
She began at some time when readymade churidar-kurtas were unheard of and sourcing of this fabric wasn’t straightforward. Her original creations gave her the first-mover advantage. “With Rs.8,000 I first hired a taxi to go to the wholesale marketplace to supply fabric, find a tailor made and a block printer. I stitched 40 pieces in sizes S, L and M and sold them for Rs.170 each making a profit of almost Rs.3,000. That was enormous money afterward,” she recalls.
Every customer was a friend who had been invited home to try out the finished garments. “However, there was no compulsion for them to purchase,” she says, “since I never watched it as a commercial enterprise.” However when all of the pieces moved and appreciation poured in Meena realised even without a qualification in fashion designing this was her forte.
Being Delhi-bred, she could sell and make an outfit she understood thoroughly. The achievement of this first sale led to another and that there was no looking back.
As her business grew, she needed to handle marketing, finances and planning. Mumbai’s fashion store Benzer gave her the opportunity to maneuver her merchandise from her home. “Benzer was stocking Indian women’s wear and gave me my first big arrangement and educated me that the insights of business. I needed to deliver in time, maintain a bill publication and also have a fresh name for identification. That is the way BIBA was created in 1988.”
Therefore, if BIBA goes for celebrity spokesmodel, who’d it be? “You can see just how much she actually loves fashion in the clothing choices Deepika makes,” says Meena, adding, “I too am quite particular about our designs since they ought to be worn out without feeling awkward.
In 70-plus, Meena conveys her new with pride and still finds the entire creation process tremendously thrilling. Actively involved in each BIBA design that changes with the tendencies but retains the origins steeped in traditional crafts like hand block printing with vegetable dyes and exquisite embroideries, she states, “We’re a really hands-on firm. I have a group of two dozen designers today, but I still assess that the final product for elegance and fashion, glamour and elegance, beauty and femininity.”
“Each outfit is a work of art and I never operate under stress.”
As is generally said every fantastic brand has an interesting story behind it.
Milestones in the travel of BIBA
BIBA was started as a new in 1988 and by wholesaling the new to traditional retailers, it established its first exclusive store at Inorbit Mall in Mumbai in the early nineties. Today, BIBA has a presence over 76 Indian cities with 192 exclusive brand outlets and more than 250 multi-brand outlets.
BIBA was one of those first couple of brands to utilize the shop-in-shop model with Shoppers Stop, LifeStyle and Pantaloons.
In 2002, it replicated designer outfits out of four movies Taal, Yaadein, Pardes and Badhai Ho Badhai to exploit into the movie memorabilia marketplace.
BIBA won the Best Women’s Ethnic Wear Brand of the Year in the CMAI Apex Awards a month.
It has established a kids line known as the BIBA Girls (2 to 12 years).
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