Bag it All by Nina Lekhi | Book Review

I first came across the Baggit Brand in 1999. It was at the Shoppers Stop in New Delhi – A first-of-its-kind store that had opened at the first shopping mall in the city. With all those firsts, naturally, my friends and I were curious enough to make our way over one morning, after having finished an early class at college.

Being the bag lover I was, I distinctly remember being drawn to the product displayed at the Baggit counter. I was amazed at their price tags; couldn’t believe my eyes. I came out of the store that day with my first adult wallet. It was a beige compact tri-fold by Baggit which I went on to use for the next few years. Served me well too.

When I heard about this book about the Brand and its Founder, I was reminded of that first purchase and was curious to learn more about them.

The seeds for Baggit were planted by Nina Lekhi at the young age of 18 when she failed her First year of Commercial Art. What started in one half of the children’s bedroom in her parents’ house, only as a means to move forward from her failure and to prove herself, has today grown into a 100+ crore company.

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Along the way, Lekhi became a wife and mom, and navigated the new paths and destinations of her life. As the business grew, she roped in the support of her family who continue to be actively involved in the running of the Brand alongside her.

During her journey, she also came across Siddha Samadhi Yoga and became an ardent follower. She has imbibed their principles to maintain work-life balance as well as create a harmonious work ethic at her company, which has yielded profitable returns in both spheres of her life.

Bag it All is a management lesson that unfolds right before you on its pages. Lekhi tells her story of how the brand was created, the risks she took, and the practices she adopted.

The book is broken down into chapters that progress through the growing phases of the business, while also imparting a valuable entrepreneurial lesson at the end. She shares the practices that worked, as well as the mistakes that taught her valuable lessons.

Lekhi strongly believes that women can have it all –  A loving family, a successful company, and the opportunity to follow our passion. She reveals the secrets of her inspirational success story, that comes with a full serving of hard work and determination, along with a generous helping of good design and aesthetic which helped her take off.

In doing all this, she has created lasting business relationships with her employees, vendors, and clients, which go a long way in making Baggit the successful company it is today.

Title: Bag it All
Author: Nina Lekhi as told to Suman Chhabria Addepalli
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
ISBN: 978-81-8495-981-9
Edition/Year: First Edition 2017
Format: Paperback
Genre:  Non-Fiction – Business, Entrepreneurship
Pages: 250
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5 Stars

Available on Amazon.

About the Author: Nina Lekhi is Founder, MD and Chief Design Curator of Baggit India, a market leader in bags and accessories. She has won several prestigious awards from the Indian government and media for her contributions. Baggit has achieved recognition from PETA for being a cruelty-free, vegan brand. Nina is an ardent follower of Siddha Samadhi Yoga (SSY) and maintains work-life balance by shuttling between Mumbai and the hills of Katarkhadak village (adopted by her to ensure rural employment and overall welfare) with her husband and daughter.
She can be reached on Twitter @ninalekhi.

Picture Source: aquamarineflavours.wordpress.com
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Reference Check Or Reality Check

Are you looking for your Dream Job? Or maybe, you are from the select group of fortunate people who have already landed it.

Whatever the case may be, you are likely familiar with Reference Checks that a company conducts before finalizing candidates. These give the recruiting company valuable feedback, which they use to make hiring decisions.

While some consider this a mere formality, it is often a key step in the selection process.

Application For Employment” by phasinphoto

Every once in a while, I too am approached by former colleagues, asking if they may list my name as a professional reference at an interview. If I know the candidate and have worked closely with them, there is no reason for me to refuse.

Then there are instances when colleagues working on the same extended team, but in no direct Manager-Subordinate relationship or parallel working role have requested to list me as a reference. That too is acceptable, as long as the recruiting company is made aware of the relationship between the Candidate and Reference contact.

Now it so happened that last week I received communication from 2 former colleagues asking if I would be willing to provide a reference for them.

In the case of The First Candidate (Let’s call them that, for purposes of anonymity), we had worked very closely as I was a direct supervisor. Thus, I was able to give pertinent feedback and, without the need for any prior discussion, both our responses matched up beautifully, which satisfied the recruiting company (as also remarked by them). The First Candidate will be receiving the Confirmation of Recruitment, tomorrow.

Then came The Second Candidate, with whom I had no direct work relationship. We only happened to work on the same team, where The Second Candidate’s boss and I reported to the same person. However both of us (The Second Candidate and I), despite having moved on from that company, are still in contact on a personal level and consult regarding professional decisions from time to time.

So, I was asked to provide my email ID for the recruiter to send me a reference check form.

Checklist” by holohololand

Now this form explicitly asked if the candidate had worked in any capacity directly in my supervision; the answer being an obvious no. There were many other questions and ratings, all of which took me over an hour to complete.

A reference check can literally make or break the hiring deal, so it is not something you want to rush with.

Hand Choosing Worker From Group Of Businessmen” by Sira Anamwong

25 minutes later, I received a message from The Second Candidate stating, since I had mentioned no direct work relationship, the reference check was invalid. I was taken by surprise as I had no idea that it may have been suggested otherwise.

Upon mentioning this I was told, there being no other reference contacts from that company (as they were all likely to give negative feedback), my name was given as supervisor.

Okay, we have all experienced a situation where we don’t get along with a manager and would choose not to list their name. I totally get it. Nonetheless, I have found in such cases, it is best to be honest with the Interviewer. They will surely understand.

But hey, Second Candidate! You have absolutely no right to put me in a situation where you expect me to lie. That is unacceptable!

And when you have made the mistake of doing that, do not, I repeat, DO NOT accuse me of being honest. I will not have it!

Whatever you may gain from this interview, whether you may be hired or not, you have definitely lost at least one person’s trust and respect. Moreover, at the risk of sounding diabolically vindictive, I will have no choice but to question your integrity in any future association.

So think before you act! It may be wise to do a reality check before considering a reference check.

Image 1 courtesy of phasinphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image 2 courtesy of holohololand at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image 3 courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net