“We didn’t just set out to launch a company, sell out and sail into the sunset in a yacht. We set out to leave a legacy and impact our consumers’ lives”
1. What drove you to consider freelancing/work for yourself over a typical 10 to 6 job?
Ivy Chin: The thought of the opportunity to build something with meaning and impact and something big at that. The opportunity beckoned to create and leave a legacy.
Simeran Bhasin: 16 years into my career, I realized I wasn’t being challenged enough. It pushed me to consider starting up – something my family had been encouraging me to do for years. I teamed up with Ivy, my college batch-mate. We had the same work ethic and drive and complemented each other’s skills perfectly. We tossed the idea of launching a lingerie brand for girls – there wasn’t a brand that focused on this segment. It excited us so much that we both quit!
2. How long did you work with a corporate?
Ivy Chin: I am a finance & operations professional. After my B.Com (H) from Lady Shri Ram, I did my MBA from IIM Bangalore and joined Procter & Gamble where I spent 2 years. I also spent 2 years with Nokia as finance for their R&D team in India, but the bulk of my career and learning has been with GE across its various businesses, learning the various nuances not just of finance but of business. I signed off a CFO for GE Water Technologies, Asia Pacific before embarking on my BRAG journey in 2016.
Simeran Bhasin: I’m an MBA from TAPMI, Manipal. I started my career in sales. After a few years in sales in the hospitality industry and Titan, I moved into the Titan marketing team and was given an opportunity to create and build a brand like Fastrack. After 13 years with Titan, I’d moved to join Wildcraft & help launch it in its new avatar over 2 years. In 2016, after over 16 years each in the corporate world, Ivy and I launched BRAG
3. What were some of the challenges you faced in your professional journey and how did you overcome them?
Ivy Chin: As an entrepreneur, the biggest learning was resilience, bouncing and learning from each set back. Taking time to learn from mistakes but ever moving ahead! The other challenge is trying not to let the past, especially my corporate stint, dictate decision making. Asking for help unashamedly was another learning :). The last but not the least is, people in your team make the big difference and finding and cultivating the right fit is a continuous learning for me.
Simeran Bhasin: Our respective experiences on launching products helped do the groundwork & put in place a framework but like all new businesses, our initial order sizes were too small to excite any innerwear factory. Cracking retail space wasn’t easy – Indian retailers are some of the sharpest businessmen and they aren’t convinced easily. We were upfront and honest – we sold them our vision and sought their guidance. It worked and we started getting placed at stores. We wanted to challenge the norm but were constantly being told to toe the line and create stuff that was already selling. The Jockeys & Enamors of the world were constantly thrown at us. It was tough but we refused to give up. Having had our share of initial successes & failures, we’ve found a space that we can own with many happy consumers we keep coming back. We’ve focused on our consumers only – not getting deterred by the Goliaths in the market. Today when our consumers tell us, that BRAG products are more comfortable than all the ‘big’ brands – every bit of the blood, sweat and toil seems worth it. We didn’t just set out to launch a company, sell out and sail into the sunset in a yacht. We set out to leave a legacy, impact our consumers lives and it seems, little by little we’re touching more and more girls’ lives to make growing up fun!