The book “Bag it all” is a story of Nina Lekhi who is the Founder, MD & Chief Design Curator, of Baggit India. This compelling story is a manifestation of how a simple belief in yourself can enrich you with enormous power to make things happen and run a successful business empire.
“Follow your passion” and “Do what you love” – These quotes might sound hackneyed cliches as people preach these inspirational messages via multitude ways (Blogs, Websites, Videos etc.) these days. However, the meaning of these positive quotes has deepened in the last decade as more and more people have started realizing the importance of happiness in their work. In all honesty, we are well conversant with these inspirational quotes in today’s IT industry parlance, and we profoundly understand the importance of being happy at our work, but how many of us are actually following our passion? How many of us are ready to leave our comfort zone and delve into something challenging yet worth doing?
Without a scintilla of doubt, doing what you love enriches your life with happiness and satisfaction where you look forward to every day. The journey might be difficult and nerve-wracking where the struggle and the stress might compel you to give up, but brushing off the dust and standing up amidst constant flux define the hallmark of true champions. Few are brave enough to take this leap, and my latest encounter with Nina Lekhi via her biography “Bag it all” – an inspirational story about how a woman has set up a 100-crore empire from her power of passion, belief, hard-work, open mindset, and love – strongly affirms my notion that pursuing your passion makes life worth living every single day.
The Book’s Ethos:
The book “Bag it all” is a story of Nina Lekhi who is the Founder, MD & Chief Design Curator, of Baggit India. This compelling story is a manifestation of how a simple belief in yourself can enrich you with enormous power to make things happen. It is The Belief that can make or break your business. Born in a Sindhi family, a mischievous kid who was not academically brilliant, she flunked the foundation course in art. And when she was not allowed to attend college for one full year, the epiphany hits her hard where she realized that she is meant to do something big, leading to germination of the idea. She mentions:
“I earned the dubious honour of being the only student in class XI – probably the only student ever – who failed the foundation course in art. My world seemed to come to an end when I was not allowed to attend college for a year.
I started my business to fill up the year that I lost at college. My father called my first set of canvas bags ‘thelas’ (a normal cart) to carry vegetables. But that did not deter me.”
The book “Bag it all” throws light on the adventurous odyssey of a woman for whom work-time was like play-time. As she followed her passion and believed in what she was pursuing, she kept on moving ahead and never looked back. It is not easy to juggle parenting and work, but Nina was persistent enough to manage these elements and has never pulled herself down.
Without having a formal degree in IT or an MBA, she could grasp the management and automation processes. There were mistakes, but the learnings from them made her more evolved, and that is how she grew in her business. She understood that mistakes will happen, but she needs to learn from them to make better decisions for the growth of her business.
At first, “Bag it all” might seems like an ordinary journey of someone who followed her passion throughout her life. You must be thinking what’s new. Right? It might be another cliché – doing what you love and excelling in it – but, to me and I am sure to most of you out there, it is a strong reminder that following your passion makes each day count in this one life you have got. It makes you eternally rich in terms of contentment, and it lightens up your vitality with an animating force where you will never have to drag yourself from the bed every morning.
Watch this video for the prologue of Bag it all…
Key takeaways from the book:
Learning is the key:
As the age-old maxim says: “Change is the only constant.” Whether it is your company or job, learning and adapting to new techniques is the most crucial process. Amidst the constant flux of ever-changing technology, it is very important to keep ourselves abreast of the latest advancements and failure to do so can make us outdated in this survival-of-the-fittest era. We can only grow by understanding new things. Doing the same kind of work over the years further deteriorates our productivity where we eventually lose focus towards our work. In a similar way, having a rigid mindset towards other perspectives represents an inflexible orientation which inhibits our professional as well as personal growth.
When Baggit grew over the years, Nina understood that she would have to automate certain process in order to meet the demands. During this expansion process, she did not hesitate to take drastic measures to embrace the latest technologies and innovative methods to automate the processes in the organisation. There were doubts and fears, but she knew that change demands venturing into uncharted territory and sticking to old methods will not serve any purpose. She says:
“At Baggit, we believe in the age-old maxim of Change is the only constant because that is the way life is. We apply this concept to people-management, our stores, and our products. We keep changing job profiles of our team members to keep them challenged and interested. Similarly, I also think customers need change, which motivates us to constantly ideate and produce new bag designs all through the year to exceed their expectations.”
As Ernest Hemingway said and my all-time favorite quote: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
Build valuable relationships:
Relationships are the quintessential components of our survival. They define the dimensions of our sanity or insanity, happiness or sadness, eternal bliss or pain, evolution or regression. Healthy relationships make our existence worthy in the cosmos; they protect us from the perils of loneliness and add value to our lives. These connections are the building blocks for our survival, and without them, we are probably empty or hollow from inside.
During my stint in the corporate world, I disliked the term “Networking” as it carries a negative connotation (You scratch my back and I will scratch yours). I love connecting with people; that is one of my biggest strengths. Hence, I have never networked with people; instead, I focus on creating honest, valuable, and long-term relationships. People are the assets in every business. In Baggit, from profit sharing to organizing spiritual workshops, Nina has always acknowledged and respected her employees’ relationship with the company. Believe it or not, having great relationships is one of the contributing factors to successful business empires. She further mentions:
“My relationship mantra is being honest, loving without hesitation, and clearing any grievances by communicating openly. I learned this early on from my friend Mana (actor Suniel Shetty’s wife) who taught me this in college. I was upset with her during our screen-printing class, and gave her the cold shoulder. She was not sure what had gone wrong, but she still approached me and sorted it out immediately. I have followed her mantra all my life.”
Believe in yourself:
I know this sounds extremely cliché but before you embark on a journey to pursue your passion and create trust-worthy relationships, you have to believe in yourself first. I say this to myself every single day as it lightens up the creative beast that lays dormant inside me. There are times when I have felt the power of The Belief, and this has made things happen in the most unimaginable circumstances.
“Life is really very simple if you believe in yourself, and others. This faith is more vital to a business than having strategic investors, an MBA, or a limitless marketing budget.” – Nina Lekhi, Founder of Baggit
I have always been biased towards real-life inspiring stories as I get great pleasure in reading the challenging journeys of the people who choose to follow their passion. “Bag it all” is a similar read, and if you would like to know the biggest joys and struggles involved in a passion-converted-business story, “Bag it all” is definitely meant for you.