Once worked in BPO for ₹10,000 salary, today this Bangalore man runs a ₹100 crore turnover fast fashion apparel brand

Puneet Bajaj founder of IVOC, Bene Kleed & Mintobay

In 2017, Bangalore based Puneet Bajaj launched two home grown fast fashion apparel brands, IVOC and Bene Kleed, followed by the recent launch of Mintobay Ecommerce Platform.

During an exclusive interview with Startup Pedia, he opened up about his inspiring entrepreneurial journey.

Born to a father running a timber business in Assam, he had a comfortable childhood. However, their world turned upside down during high school when changes in the law forced his father to close the business.

“Although my father’s business was shut down, he did everything to give my siblings and me a good education.” said Puneet while narrating about his early life to Startup Pedia.

In 2000, he left Assam for Bangalore to pursue his graduation and MBA. To become financially independent, he worked night shifts in a BPO while pursuing an MBA. With a monthly salary of Rs. 10,000, he opted for night shifts to ensure his education was unaffected.

In 2005, despite holding an MBA in marketing and finance, he landed a position as a store in-charge at an export house. This facility manufactured and exported apparel for renowned brands like Zara and H&M. With a keen interest in learning the ins and outs of the garment export industry, he set a five-year goal to kickstart his entrepreneurial journey.

He worked hard and proved his skills and knowledge to climb the career ladder in the company one after another. In five years, he became head of the entire garment division with 5 factories.

Puneet further explained, “Although, because of my skills and expertise, I was promoted, but I wasn’t contented because of various internal issues with the management, including irregular salary. However, my desire to learn and venture into my own business kept me going for five years.”

Puneet Bajaj - founder of IVOC, Bene Kleed & Mintobay
Puneet Bajaj – founder of IVOC, Bene Kleed & Mintobay

Beginning of the success

Left with limited funds, Puneet was mentally prepared to start his own export house. He embarked on his entrepreneurial journey, founding Shakti Trendz Pvt Ltd in 2009. After consistent efforts, he secured his first client, Peter England, for whom he would manufacture men’s formal shirts. The first deal was to manufacture 2000 shirts for a profit of Rs.20,000.

“Since I did not have much to invest in the business, I struggled to buy all the raw materials like fabrics and other stuff on credit. Once payment was received from the brand, I would pay the vendors and my workers,” explained Puneet how he would initially manage finance.

When the business started rolling in, sky was the limit. Since then, there has been no looking back. He ran his exports house for five years, making over Rs. 60 Crore in revenue annually.

While running this, Puneet encountered the harsh realities of the industry. He grew dissatisfied with the frequent policy changes and payment issues from the brands he manufactured for.

Thus, in 2017, he launched his own two home grown fast fashion brands- IVOC and Bene Kleed.  IVOC targets customers above 25, while Bene Kleed focuses on the age group between 18-25, tapping into the youth market. “Five years ago, there was no term as Gen Z, but Bene Kleed was one of India’s first Gen Z-focused brands.”, said Puneet with enthusiasm.

Women Product available at Mintobay: A Fashion Marketplace Revolution
Bene Kleed Product

Leveraging e-commerce platforms, they initially offered around 50 SKUs, which has now expanded to 1500 products over the past six years.  Puneet strategically positioned his brands on popular marketplaces like Myntra, Flipkart, Amazon, Ajio, etc. He strongly believes that being a trendsetter in the fashion industry is the main reason for the phenomenal growth of his duo brands on the marketplaces.

The brands provide a wide range of men’s and women’s wear, including Cargo & Joggers, T-Shirts, Casual Shirts, Formal Shirts, Sweatshirts, Jackets, Kurtas, Shorts, Jeans, Casual Trousers, Formal Trousers and Co-Ord Sets at fair prices.

Men Product available at Mintobay: A Fashion Marketplace Revolution
Bene Kleed Product

In August last year, Shakti launched his own marketplace, Mintobay Ecommerce Platform, exclusively for his two brands. While selling his brands’ products across various marketplaces, he observed that marketplaces have become discount-driven platforms rather than focusing on fashion and the latest trends.

“At Mintobay, we’re dedicated to being the ultimate destination for the latest in fashion. Our Friday drops are a highlight, where we unveil a new product weekly sharp at 12 P.M., make live the hottest trends in the industry,” said Prerna who is the marketing head for Shakti.

Talking more about Mintobay, he explains “At Mintobay, we’re also on a mission to foster a greener planet. We believe in the power of sustainability and environmental consciousness. That’s why we’ve initiated a program #NotOldYet where one’s old clothes are collected from doorstep and gets recycled with Mintobay. This not only reduces waste but also gives customers a guilt-free wardrobe. As a token of gratitude, we offer sweet discounts on the next purchase.”

Talking about fast fashion and sustainability, “People can’t stop wearing new clothes, and we can’t stop manufacturing new ones. However, we can be as responsible as possible through recycling initiatives,” added Puneet.

Mintobay Team
Mintobay Team

Bootstrapped from the beginning, his brands collectively generate over Rs. 100 crore revenue annually. Deeply grateful to his hardworking Shakti team and supportive family, the company now has a combined facility of 50,000-square-foot in Bangalore where about 200 employees are working.

Puneet has a piece of advice for all the budding entrepreneurs out there. “If you have a great idea and business acumen and do your maths right, then you will eventually find money to fund your business. There are banks and government schemes at your disposal. Don’t be scared, just go for it.”

FAQs 

1. What is Mintobay? 

Mintobay is an ecommerce marketplace exclusively for fashion and trends. The platform was launched by Bangalore-based Puneet Bajaj. 

2. Who is the founder of Mintobay? 

Bangalore-based Puneet Bajaj is a founder of Mintobay Ecommerce Platform.

3. Where can I donate my old clothes for recycling? 

People can donate their old clothes to Mintoaby. Mintobay Ecommerce Platform for fashion runs the #NotOldYet campaign for an eco-fashion movement in India. In return, they offer discount vouchers to all their donors. 

4. Is there any Eco-friendly fashion brand in India? 

Mintobay is one of the eco-conscious fashion marketplaces where they collect clothes and recycle them.