November 21, 2023
French bag brand Hindbag will open its new boutique on Tuesday at 53 Rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, located in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. “The opening of this first flagship store, which replaces the previous one near our offices in the 5th arrondissement, comes in a year of significant growth for the brand,” explained Pierre Monnier, 32, founder of Hindbag, a company ethical and socially responsible bag brand.
Monnier’s adventure began during his studies at business school when, for a project, he partnered with the Swami Sivananda Memorial Institute (SSMI), a Delhi-based NGO that has worked for over fifty years to educate underprivileged children. and empowering slum women through the textile sector. Manufacturing jobs. In collaboration with SSMI in 2012, Monnier began the production of cotton bags for corporate entities, helping the NGO to stop relying on donations and allowing them to offer stable income to the seamstresses.
In 2017, recognizing the demand for higher-value products and responding to requests from seamstresses, Monnier hired a designer, giving rise to the Hindbag brand.
Hindbag’s success story didn’t take off until 2020, largely due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the cessation of corporate orders, the brand chose to continue supporting the NGO by selling bags at cost price, a strategy that proved remarkably successful.
Today, SSMI employs 200 women and educates 400 students, and recently opened a new building to soon house an additional 450 students. The majority of the workshop’s production, which represents 98%, is focused on backpacks, waist bags and colorful bags from the Hindbag brand. The remaining 2% corresponds to local textile manufacturing techniques, such as Indian block printing.
Thanks to Hindbag’s investments, the workshop has expanded significantly to meet growing demand. Monnier explains: “In 2022, the workshop produced around 400 parts per week, but today it processes 20,000 parts.”
The company still generates 20% of its revenue through B2B channels, helping to provide employment to less qualified women and generating significant production volumes.
Hindbag’s colorful GOTS-certified cotton bags now make up 80% of the company’s sales, distributed across 600 retail outlets, and account for half of the brand’s revenue through physical and online retail sales per equal.
Enter the fashion industry and international expansion
Although the independent company maintains discretion regarding its turnover, it has been profitable since 2017, allowing ample room for reinvestment. However, this success was not without difficulties, since its founder refrained from collecting a salary for five years. “We have learned to achieve a lot with very little, experiencing a slower growth trajectory than if we had sought financing. However, we are fortunate to have the support of our bank,” shared Monnier, highlighting the need for independence when it comes to to build an ethical and socially responsible business model. Leading a team of 10 people, the entrepreneur is considering external investments for future expansion plans.
The company is brimming with initiatives: an inaugural collection of jackets and overshirts launching in April, potential new store openings and, most importantly, a concerted effort to bolster the brand’s presence in international markets.
The brand’s main focus is on Germany, where it currently has 60 resellers of its 200 international retail partners, followed by a broader emphasis on the Benelux region. In addition, the brand intends to expand its online sales worldwide, since France currently represents 80% of its purchases through the web.
Hindbag sources cotton from an Indian spinning mill and dyes it within the country through a GOTS certified entity, and intends to continue offering products at reasonable prices. “Our average basket is 45 euros. I always wanted ethnic clothing to be accessible to everyone, since it is currently a bit limited to the highest income brackets, although the panorama is changing little by little,” concludes Monnier.
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