Brand Bhajji, promoted by Harbhajan Singh, has gone international. An enterprise that started as a noble thought of providing opportunities to the craftsmen and best cricket gear at affordable prices to budding cricketers in India has emerged as a multi-crore cricket gear, apparel and lifestyle international brand now. With first exclusive store in Toronto, Canada. The official kitting partner of the Canadian cricket team.
This is the dream venture of Harbhajan Singh, the turbanator. In a four-year period, the small gesture has become a complete corporate set up, owned by the cricketer’s mother, run and governed by a professional CEO, Vikram Kumar. Harbhajan, who lends his name to the brand – Bhajji, is the brand ambassador.
The company, with a rupees seven crore turnover in the last fiscal, is heading steadily towards its Rs 18 crore goal for the current financial year. “For us the progress is slow and steady. We soon realized the business potential of our benevolent venture. We can now serve the society better through CSR. There is a structure in place to drive our business forward. With addition of lifestyle and steady growth we are set to surpass our targets for the current financial (year),” says Vikram Kumar.
“The best part is quality control and research and development. Harbhajan is in charge of these two crucial aspects. He will not compromise with his own goodwill and his commitment to the sport. For him quality and comfort come first. We need to cater to his two basic demands – the best quality and the best price. That’s value for each penny on the price tag. Rest is left to the professionals,” adds Kumar.
The never-compromising cricketer in Harbhajan knows what a “quality gear” means for a sportsman to excel. Even an unnoticeable discomfort in a sporting kit can impact a player’s performance. He regularly keeps working on the quality and “comfort” aspect of his range of products. Harbhajan takes the launch of a new range for brand Bhajji as a personal challenge. He would work with the complete team from fabric engineers to the last man working on quality check to ensure there is no anomaly once the product is out in the market. Even the aesthetics of the range are to be approved by him.
“Word of mouth” has been the biggest marketing tool for the business growth. Brand Bhajji is the official kit partner for the Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Bengal, Railways, Services and Uttar Pradesh Ranji Trophy teams. The company supports the kit requirements of the national specially abled cricket team as part of its CSR.
“I am succeeding in my major goal and that gives me immense satisfaction. I remember the days of my struggle. I have seen and felt the difference of a ‘cricketing kit’ and quality cricket gear. It does matter. My main aim was that each cricketer gets the international quality product at affordable prices. I have succeeded in that goal. I am not competing with any brand. I have succeeded in keeping the price of Brand Bhajji product up to 60-70% less than the products you will get from ‘big’ showrooms. Same stuff. Better at times. That’s working for me. That’s working for my brand. When there are emotions involved you put in your heart too,” says Harbhajan.
Valuable inputs for the lifestyle range come from Harbhajan’s wife, film actress Geeta Basra, who has a well-defined role for herself for the Bhajji lifestyle range. “Geeta has immense understanding of fashion and trends. Her approach is professional. She is following global fashion trends, to be with times. You will see that inherent touch in our lifestyle products. Each single design and material will have Geeta’s approval stamped on it,” says Kumar.
Pan-India over 200 sports goods stores are selling Brand Bhajji products. The brand has an exclusive tie-up with an e-commerce platform. With steady rise in demand, the professionals running the business have set bigger goals. Expansion plans are in place. “There are other big e-commerce brands, who are keen on tie up with us. We are committed to protect the contractual exclusivity of our existing partner. Thereafter bigger plans come into picture. We will soon announce other overseas stores,” says Kumar.
The targets overseas are the big expatriate cricket loving fraternity. “We plan to expand ‘B Stores’ (exclusive brand Bhajji stores) further in Canada and other countries with strong expatriate, cricket loving Indian and South East Asia community. We are also set to go beyond cricket. We are now working on expansion of Bhajji lifestyle range. We will soon hit the market in a big way,” says Kumar.
Brand Bhajji is the dream project for the Turbanator, closest to his heart after cricket. The plans are ambitious. For Team Bhajji, the brand is a mission to achieve the cricketer’s CSR dreams through corporate success.