Thursday, May 26, 2022
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Sekawati Impex

Bagman Of India Serving Globally With Environment Friendly Cotton Bags

After more than three decades in export business, Sekawati Impex is looking at marketing its wide range of cotton utility-cum-trendy bags within the country.

Bagman Of India Serving Globally With Environment Friendly Cotton Bags
Dinesh Gupta, President and CEO, Sekawati Impex

Even as Indians were switching from home made cotton bags to plastic bags while shopping, young science graduate and computer programmer Dinesh Gupta embarked on his rewarding journey as an environment conscious entrepreneur in 1991 by setting up with zero capital, zero experience and zero support.

What got him started was a Rs. 15 lakh order from a Canadian firm for supply of 100 percent cotton bags. The initial days of struggle paid off. Today at the helm of a more than Rs. 50 crore turnover company, Gupta says with pride “we do business but take care of environment and women empowerment too !!!

Based in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India Sekawati Impex currently produces over one crore cotton bags a year of various sizes and designs for exports mainly to Japan, the biggest market, besides important markets like the UK, the US and Canada. The company has three manufacturing units employing around 500 peoples out of which 300 are women. “Like in a cottage industry, most women working with us take the bag cuttings home to stitch as per the design.  Working from home enables the women to earn well while taking care of their domestic responsibilities including looking after their children and elderly,” and this work from home concept worked well for their families during difficult time of Covid when everything was closed and no source of income for survival of family, says Mr Gupta.

Besides women, the company employs some new tailors, mostly those who have received training at government-run skill development centres. It also provides bag making training in the factories.

The users of these bags are mainly department stores, supermarkets and promotional organizations. As more countries are banning single use plastic bags due to the global warming impact, there is a growing demand for 100% natural cotton bags which are fully recyclable.

Sekawati Impex

Apart from fresh cotton material, Sekawati Impex has started making bags from organic and recycled cotton yarn and material, sourced directly from mills contracted by it. “Recycle cotton trend has caught on recently particularly after the COVID. Earlier, recycled cotton bags constituted a very small percentage of our production but now there is a growing demand from big buyers as such it has become a major area of focus,” states Gupta, whose greatest supporter and partner is his wife Pramila.

The bags are made of different sizes as per the requirement of the customers. The most preferred size worldwide is 14 inches by 16 inches as they can be used for varied purposes from shopping to packaging and brand promotion as they are very durable and reusable.

“Almost all the globally well-known major brands are working with us like Walmart and The North Face Stores. The branding is done as per the customer’s requirements,” says Gupta, who is now looking at the domestic market too with his son Anshul Gupta, a MBA graduate from UK, and his daughter Kajal and daughter-in-law Komal both having Global MBA degree having joined the business recently.  Demand for recyclable cotton bags in India is expected to pick up once single use plastic bags ban comes into effect from July 1, 2022. Though the company is yet to tap the domestic market it has been distributing bags for social causes within the country under the banner of bodies like the Lions Club and the Rotary Club and government sponsored NGO who are actively encouraging people to avoid single use plastic bags.

Unlike single use plastic bags, some of which don’t last even an hour, cotton bags made from natural organic cotton are very durable, lasting anywhere between five years or 10 years or more. Thus many global brands use them as platforms to put their logos for advertisement.  Most of the bags designed by Sekawati Impex are utility based. Customers also request bags with handles, some want bags with drawstrings, some want them designed as backpacks, and some use it for eco-friendly packaging of products.  “Both thick and thin material bags are in demand as it depends  upon the client’s choice and budget also. When it comes to cotton, even thin material makes for strong bags so durability is not a concern,” says Gupta, who is happy to be known as the bagman of India.

Sekawati Impex

Sekawati Impex takes pride in the fact that the Canadian company Debco Bag which gave them its first order is still working with it. “The fact that many of our customers have been working with us for over one to two decades speaks about the quality of our products. Apart from the Canadian company, we have had a US customer for over 20 years, similarly another in Japan and the UK have been with us for around 10 to 16 years,” Gupta states.

The first generation entrepreneur attributes his success overseas in large part to his computer programming skills and his use of the internet for conducting business as it has helped the company in reaching out to new buyers and expanding the business. He recalls how in 1991 when BSNL announced plans to start internet service in Jaipur, he rushed to book a connection even though the infrastructure had not yet been laid.

Sekawati Impex conducts all its business online. The Internet has in fact been a boon for the company “as whatever business growth I have had is due to online search by customers seeking cotton bag suppliers in India’’.

In business there is always competition. Sekawati Impex is banking on its vast experience and the fact that it makes its own fabrics and has three manufacturing units for further expanding the business. “With my family having joined in the business we are now looking at setting up a domestic market division mainly aiming to work with large corporates and brands,” says Mr Gupta, who is eying raising the annual turnover more than five times in the next two years time.

The company has produced more than 1.5 billion eco-friendly bags, producing as many as 30,000 bags a day, which are in line with latest trends and fashion which could be a world record.

The company’s USP lies in ensuring proper quality control and delivering the best-in-class quality bags and aprons.  The company has received several awards and accolades from several leading media and social organisations and government including CNBCTV18, Zee Business, The Economic Times, and Worldwide Achievers and many more for his contribution towards environment. He has better known and trending on google at “Bagman of India” a title given to him by prestigious magazine FORBES.

Gupta was felicitated with the Rajasthan Gaurav Award by Speaker Dr C P Joshi and Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khacharya. He was also featured in the Entrepreneurship magazine; awarded with the Quality Mark Trust Award and has gained recognition for his noble work worldwide.