From apparel to artisanal home decor, the top SMB Stories this week

India is home to many brands. From east to west and north to south, our country boasts of inspiring entrepreneurs who have built successful businesses.

This week, SMBStory covered a few such businesses, making India successful on the economic roadmap.


“Textiles run in my blood,” says Sarabjeet Saluja aka Sabby.

Having observed his father, Kuldeep Saluja, toiling his way up to build a prominent apparel brand, Sahiba Limited, Sabby says he always knew he wanted to be in this business.

And so, after returning from Australia in 2009, he immediately joined the Surat-based family business in December the same year.

While Sahiba is now an established Indian apparel brand, Sabby was itching to do something different that would add value to the larger group.

This led him to launch Saundh India in 2019 with Rs 10 crore – a plan that was under progress since 2016. “We wanted to make something on the lines of Zara, but in ethnic wear,” he says, adding he was looking at the brand to have an international appeal as well.

He says, “Sahiba has been competing mostly with the informal and formal sector in India. But the thing that has been troubling us is we have not been able to compete with Indonesian and Korean brands, which have a big export market, ”he highlights.

He hopes to achieve this through Saundh India.

Saundh India offers tops, kurtis, jackets, kurta sets (both stitched and unstitched), loungewear, and more. Items like scarves and masks are priced below Rs 2,000, but the clothes start from Rs 3,000 onwards. In FY21, the brand clocked Rs 30 crore turnover, claims Sabby. Sahiba’s turnover in FY20 was Rs 448 crore.

Read the full story here.

Vintage Vistara

Blessed with a rich crafts heritage, India’s art forms are famous all over the world for their intricacy and attention to detail. Moreover, each region inherits a plethora of unique art forms that may not be known to the outside world.

Thirty-four-years-old Arpita Sahu also realized the same when she came back from the US after working with multiple corporations like The Coca-Cola Company and Colgate-Palmolive.

“When I came back to Odisha after a few stints outside, I realized there is immense talent in my homeland, with Pattachitra being one of the most beautiful and intricate detailed art forms. I always had a creative side to me, which was left unexplored. So, I jumped at the first opportunity of starting a creative business when I discovered the immense scope of our Indian folk art forms, ”says Arpita in an interview with SMBStory.

Arpita established Bhubaneswar-based Vintage Vistara in 2019. She claims within the next few months, her company aims to touch a revenue of Rs 1 crore.

Read the full story here.

Other top picks of the week:

Gaurav Bhagat Academy

Gaurav Bhagat remembers when his grandfather and father had to shutter their successful ceramics factory on the outskirts of Kolkata back in the 70s during the communist uprisings in West Bengal. His family was forced to leave Kolkata with nothing but a few suitcases and some clothes, he recalls.

The do-or-die situation that had presented itself when Gaurav was growing up forced him to think of ways he could salvage the state of affairs and help his family stand on its own two feet. He withdrew Rs 10,000 on the credit card he had on him at the time and started a gifting company called Consortium Gifts.

It was not a last-ditch effort by any means – entrepreneurship ran in the 21-year-old’s veins.

Gaurav’s first venture was a stock market game he had created at the age of 16, which was later bought by Leo Toys, and the young entrepreneur was paid a royalty on every game Leo sold.

Still, a lot was riding on Consortium Gifts when it was founded.

Today, Consortium Gifts does Rs 30 crore in revenue, is present in six Indian cities and has over 80 employees. It dominates the corporate gifting segment in the country and has exclusive tie-ups with brands like Puma, Shantanu & Nikhil, Swarovski, Brand Charger, and Boardroom, among others.

Gaurav recalls when he was still building Consortium Gifts, he met Grant Cardone, a notable international businessman, speaker, and owner of $ 1.5 billion investment company Cardone Capital, in the US.

The billionaire investor had been training Consortium Gifts’ employees – especially his sales staff – in all the ways they could take the company from 10X to 100X, and Gaurav realized the content he used in those training sessions was “game-changing”.

“At that point, it struck me like a ton of bricks, that surely, money and success alone could not be my purpose, and there had to be more that I was meant to do,” he says.

Combining his passion for business, selling, and growing, with his newfound zest to do more, Gaurav realized smaller businesses like him can replicate and even exceed the success he had seen with Consortium Gifts.

In 2018, he founded the Gaurav Bhagat Academy (GBA), a training institute to help deliver quality lessons in growing and scaling businesses.

Read the full story here.

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