Three generations of Chandigarh family come together to start up with newborn brand Baby Mubarak
Baby Mubarak is a Chandigarh-based startup that makes exclusive handmade products for infants between 0-2 years; after setting up two stores, the brand is now looking to expand.
Startup name: Baby Mubarak
Founders: Pooja and Anamika Bhalla
Year it was founded: 2017
Based out of: Chandigarh
Problem it solves: Infant wear
Funding: Friends and family
Being a parent for the first time is a joy. However, the joy comes along with a sense of fear and apprehension. It is natural for parents – first-timers or not – to want everything to be perfect for the little one. Only the softest, purest things can be allowed to touch that baby skin.
It was with the intention to give infants exclusive handmade products that Baby Mubarak was born.
Started by mother-and-daughter duo Pooja and Anamika Bhalla, the idea of Baby Mubarak was born when Pooja was knitting a small piece of clothing for her yet-to-be-born grandchild.
“Everyone was after my sister to give birth to a baby. This small woolen vest was made and hung in her wardrobe for visual emotional blackmail. That was the birth of Baby Mubarak,” Anamika says.
The all-in–the-family business also includes 69-year-old Uma Pandit, Anamika’s grandmother, who develops all styles and designs for the brand.
So how did this family set out on the Baby Mubarak path?
Bridging a gap
Anamika had realised that the Indian market lacked options and varieties for newborn babies. Mostly, the clothes newborns don are either hand-me-downs from siblings/cousins (which get softer over time) or they are just wrapped in soft fabric. The prime reason for both of these actions is that soft, extremely clean, and pure fabric products (especially outdoor wear) are not easily available for infants.
The duo also realised that most people had gotten used to buying cheap Chinese clothes, as handmade products came at a premium.
Baby Mubarak aims to bring back the art of knitting and crochet. Anamika says there are many women who excel at knitting and crocheting, but end up doing it without realising they can augment their pockets.
The team first decided to hire rural women who knew the art. But soon learnt that many women would suddenly – and often - stop working due to various domestic issues.
“To counter this issue, we now have three women who excel at the same kind of art. We have also formed groups in different states with one woman leading; it is her responsibility to find a new worker if any worker leaves,” Anamika says.
The team of rural women has been sourced using the trio’s network.
Testing the pieces
The first test pieces are made by Uma, who has always been a dab hand at knitting and crochet. Once the pieces are made and tested by Uma, samples are sent to women who knit the products.
The mother-daughter duo soon realised that there was a showroom space available inside a maternity hospital. While they were keen on opening a showroom, they realised they didn't have enough funds to get things going.
That is when they took the help of Param Kalra, the Co-founder of StartupHub Nation, a co-working space Baby Mubarak was rocking out of. He provided them with the initial finance to open the showroom and the Bhallas soon opened a retail outlet at Paras Bliss Hospital, Panchkula. They soon opened their next store at Cosmo Hospital, Mohali
The market size
The baby products market is fast growing. According to statistics collected by ResearchMoz, the baby care market in India will progressively grow at 17 percent CAGR within the time frame 2014-2019. There are brands like Bumpadum that looks at washable and reusable diapers, First Cry and several others.
In 2015, Johnson & Johnson (India) continued to lead sales, recording a value share of 75 percent. The next in the competition list was Dabur India (10 percent), followed by Himalaya Drug Co (3 percent), and Wipro (2 percent).
Handmade with love
Since its inception in October, Baby Mubarak claims to have made Rs 1 lakh in sales, selling over 200 products.
Anamika says the growth was slow in the beginning, but has sky-rocketed since the opening of the showroom.
Explaining their differentiator, Anamika says,
“We only create handmade products with designs that are not available anywhere in India or overseas. Secondly, they are fancy handmade marvels for newborns, something that aren’t present in the markets. To add value, they are 100 percent organic, made in 100 percent smoke-free and pet-free environments by the rural women of India, who are immensely getting empowered by the brand. So these designs which we create, further help create a marketplace for women to sell these products and make everyone’s lives beautiful, including their own.”
Baby Mubarak is now looking to expand and is beginning with Amigurumi toys for babies. Amigurumi is a Japanese style of needlework in which you crochet small stuffed creatures and figures.