The Versatilist

A rhythmic space for Hindi Poetry, Book Reviews and Travel Stories

Book Review: ‘Bag It All’, by Nina Lekhi

  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
  • Pages: 196
  • My Rating & Recommendation: 4/5, A Good Read

There is a flow to this book, a momentum that nudges the reader to keep reading on and on. Wondering why? It’s the simplicity of language, real life relatable stories and the conversational style of writing that hits home. It’s like Nina is talking to you in a coffee shop, and within an hour or two, she eloquently shares the story of her business (or life), which is calls Baggit.

Like a good coffee, this book will uplift you, but it might also mislead you into believing the entrepreneurial journey is a cake walk.

Nina, upfront and honest, shares how she started young from a room in her own apartment, and went on to build a large scale hand bag design and manufacturing empire worth well over 150 crores, while she transformed herself from a party loving teenager into a strong business leader.

The book presents details of Baggit’s growth, from early days as a large scale supplier to retail chains, to foray into company owned retail outlets on the back of game changing ideas like shop-in-shops which propelled the company’s success. Nina constantly attributes a large credit for her success in business and life to a) the teachings of Siddha Samadhi Yoga (SSY) (an organization which primarily promotes human well-being, through discourses, disciplined lifestyle and meditative courses), b) her family members (brother, cousins), who form the majority of the leadership team at Baggit and c) Human Resource Management fundamentals like Balance Scorecard and KRAs/KPIs etc. (this is like music to the ears of a HR professional)!

Failures

Nina doesn’t shy away from talking about her failures, like a rather forgettable contracting experience for their store in a Gurgaon mall or the less than lucrative attempt to launch into the orbit through a tie up with Bollywood movie, Bang Bang (Katrina Kaif starrer, she is my favorite! For all it matters, I did try to stop myself from mentioning this 😀).

However, the biggest lacunae for me was that this book makes Baggit’s entrepreneurial journey look ridiculously easy. It does capture the business challenges, like product imitation by opportunists and other setbacks like unavailability of labor etc. but fails to build enough intensity and gravitas around these instances and, therefore, to a large extent, misses the opportunity to bring to the fore the resilience, struggle and persistence that forms the core of the start up journey. It inspires, but stops a little short of leaving a mark on you as a reader!

Recommendation

Overall, there are a lot of positives to this book. It’s smooth and a joy to read. It melts on your eyes like a well made cheese cake (my favorite) will almost melt in your mouth. There is not enough written about or by Indian entrepreneurs, so for a sneak peek into the world of the Baggit business, and the life of it’s leader, Nina Lekhi, it’s a worthy teaser. Happy Reading, Cheers!

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