New leaf came into existence to add a “New Leaf” to an old branch of fashion. Handcrafting modern age bags with contemporary designs is what makes us unique. We aim to create "Timeless Collections" with Hi-fashion & artistic products. Our designs take inspiration from traditional Indian art and craft techniques .
All our collections mirror the vibrant personality of our founder Ms. Anjali Kanodia. Her love for travel, her fondness for new experiences and her intrigue in the Indian artistic history- you are sure to find a glimpse of these qualities, in our unique collections.
We at New Leaf believe in the power of Dreams. Despite diverse experiences and multiple reality checks, a dream gives purpose to one’s life. It is what motivates people and makes every individual’s life journey unique. Incidentally, one such unique girl’s dream came true, when New Leaf was born.
NEW LEAF PERSONIFIED
She has the mind of an entrepreneur and eye of an artist. She is a designer at heart and creativity is the essence of her being. Born in a loving family, since early childhood, she has been surrounded with traditional beliefs, strong values and disciplined individuals. While creativity runs in her blood, it is her perseverance, an opinionated mind and a passion filled heart that made her different, and shaped her into a compassionate human being.
Always gushing with energy, our Anjali, true to her name, is also a dance lover and a Bollywood fanatic. She is a dreamer, a nature lover, a big time foodie- and so of course a true Mumbaikar !
Complimenting her intellect, there is also a spiritual side to Anjali which believes in the power of Law of attraction. Her unconditional love for her family and friends, her energetic presence and her contagious laughter is what makes her unique.
Here’s how, our dreamer, made her dream come true.
INCEPTION OF THE IDEA
Being a person who would go to any extreme, to make her loved ones feel unique and special, Anjali’s love for art and craft sure came in handy in her school days. For every special occasion, she would put in days of efforts to plan surprises and make handcrafted gifts for her people. The personalised touch, undoubtedly, left everyone overwhelmed. This quality of hers- to make an extra effort for the ones who matter- have come to become an integral value by which our brand lives. Adding that personal touch and making our customers feel unique is of paramount importance to us.
About what happened next-
Designing was her calling, there was no doubt about that. After high school, our founder decided to major in textile designing from SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai . It was in her second year, when she had started designing for college projects, that she started contemplating the idea of starting her own brand. Seeing her fascination with bags and her love for making hand painted bags in her time, her friends often teased her to start “Anjali Bags”. Little did they know, what her future held!
It was 2013, she was in her second year of college when she had visited "The Lil Flea" for the first time (It was their first flea as well) . That's when she started dreaming of having her products displayed at events and stores. Anjali used to dream about seeing products designed by her being used by people around . Even while dreaming, she used to experience something amazing, something she could not describe. It was an exhilarating feeling- a feeling that helped her initial contemplation turn into certainty. She knew, this is it. She knew, she wanted to launch her own brand someday. This was going to be her dream.
Post her graduation, after doing a brief internship at Being Human, our founder wanted to take a course in Accessory Designing; when she could not find anything suitable for her, she decided to pursue a Post Graduate Diploma in Fashion Designing from School of Fashion Technology , Pune (Affiliated to NIFT) instead. Any additional knowledge, in the fashion designing field was sure to add value. This was the step that would bring her closer to achieving her dream!
It was Feb’16, Anjali created an entire collection for a project at college, a fashion show. It was her first weaving collection. It was something, the likes of which no one had seen before. It was handcrafted. It was inspired by Indian traditional designs and yet had a modern contemporary look. It completely stood out! It went on to bag “The Most Commercially Viable Collection” Award of the Year!
Standing on the stage, with her name being announced as the winner, something happened. Just like that, out of the blue, it was all crystal clear. She knew what her next step was going to be. She knew she just had to build her own brand. The concept for her first collection was right in front of her eyes. It was now time.
Her first thought was to get a commercial perspective of things. This time she wanted to work closely with a brand that was known for its apparel. Vero Moda was a perfect choice. She interned in the apparel department for 2 months where she learned a lot of things, her most important take away being, designing clothes was definitely not her calling. She knew, her brand had to be about products she loved designing. She knew, it had to be about bags. She wanted her brand and products to be synonymously used with the word “Unique”. To build such a brand, she knew her weaving collection of handcrafted bags was the perfect start.
The next most important decision, that she had to make, was about the material that she should use for her bags. Our nature and animal lover simply did not have it in her heart, to make her products from leather. With wanting “good quality” to be a non-negotiable feature for her products, she chose to use Peta approved synthetic Faux leather along with fabrics . It was a win-win for her- no compromise on quality & looks of her products and no compromise with her values.
It was Jul 2016, with some seed money, she had started working on the production of her first collection. She had a brand name, she had a brand logo, she had her first collection. A 22 year old dreamer, was all set to make her dreams turn to reality, all by herself.
On 10-Oct-2017, New Leaf was launched at a celebrity event exhibition by actor Gauri Pradhan. The event’s outcome didn’t meet our founder’s expectations, but she knew she had taken her first step in the right direction.
She began exhibiting at many such events and gradually started learning the small nuances of this business. Her eye for detail, observation skills and multiple interactions with customers helped her understand their reactions and preferences. Developing the learning curve and continually incorporating her learnings to make necessary tweaks in her products has helped our founder create loyal and satisfied clientele.
In the next 2 years, New Leaf achieved various milestones- we got featured in fashion magazines like Grazia, Cosmopolitan, Tulip and SNA; our brand got attention from few TV artists ,multiple bloggers and celebs like Taapsee Pannu , Anita Hansannadani , Indira Krishna ,Urmi Daga, Tina Datta, Sonal Devraj , Siddhi Karwa to name a few, all of whom spoke fondly of her collection; we were able to showcase our collection at different Multi Designer stores like Toile, Maalgaadi, Spoil me silly; and we also got opportunities to exhibit at The Lil Flea and Kala Ghoda Art and Literature festival- all of which is a wish list worthy experience for almost every artist.
Well aware of the fact that bags are an accessory, our founder’s next strategic step was to collaborate with few apparel brands like Inaaya & Co. , Label Silayi and Itya. These collaborations gave birth to a new set of beautiful collections, that make us extremely proud.
TACKLING THE HURDLES
Like any new venture, our journey also had few rocks and hurdles.
Anjali had always been a designer and she was an expert in designing products. She also had the plan and concept ready, but starting an entrepreneurial venture meant she needed to execute everything perfectly. With very basic knowledge of branding, costing and accounting she had started the brand, but taking the brand forward meant dealing with multiple vendors, negotiating for prices, interacting with local artisans, so on and so forth. With lots of introspection, and using her past learnings, our founder eventually developed these skills and continues to pursue to become a better version of herself, by the day.
Our founder has had a very protected childhood. And so, when she declared that she wanted to open her own venture, though everyone around her was supportive, they perceived it more as a hobby than as a profession. Further, production of bags required her to deal with local artisans who were situated in different parts of the city. This specially bothered her family as they were worried of her safety. Out of concern and care, they often suggested that she should work with an established brand, and maybe later, start something of her own. Our founder could not take a step back; she was too determined to make this happen. After some convincing and by finding mid-ways to balance her family’s concerns with her own goals, she was able to manage it all!
THE EVENT THAT CHANGED IT ALL
Like any entrepreneur, Anjali had always dreamt of having her own retail space, and in her heart, she knew she wanted one, but her mind warned her against incurring such fixed costs at this stage. One Tuesday morning, our “Law of Attraction” believer received an email. And just like that, one e-mail gave her an opportunity to make her dream come true.
Every year, Inorbit Malls organise the “Pink Power” initiative. It is a competition that aims at promoting Women Entrepreneurs with unique business ideas. While Anjali thanks her stars for receiving that e-mail, she knew, it was on her to make the most of this opportunity. This competition had multiple selection criteria- selection on the basis of application, an interview round, performance of the brand in a 7-day exhibition, and finally Jury’s selection. Our founder enrolled her brand into this competition. With every passing stage, the only thought that got her through, was her belief in herself and in this brand.
It was 3rd-Jun-19, when an e-mail confirmed that Anjali’s potential had won New Leaf a rent-free Kiosk space at Inorbit Mall for 9 months! Our happiness knew no bounds. It was a day which will remain carved with stone in New Leaf’s history.
Remembering that day, our founder quotes “I will never forget that day. I was crying with happiness, dancing with joy and hugging the life out of my team! It was the most ecstatic moment of my life.” Her family, beamed with happiness and her parents couldn’t wait to share their daughter’s achievement with the whole world. That night, she fell asleep with a content smile on her face- after all she was going to live her dream!
CORE VALUES AT NEW LEAF
Creating bonds for life - At New Leaf, each member and client is a valued partner. We believe in developing and nurturing our relations with everyone around us . Be it our artisans, our vendors, our employees or our customers, each relation is valued and cherished.
Empowering our people- As a founder, Anjali has always believed in empowering her people. She creates opportunities for to develop her people. No employee at New Leaf is forced to work within defined profiles. If she notices traces of any talent in an individual, she tends to push him or her to pursue it. She is convinced that proper guidance and motivation can develop confidence in any individual; and of course, with practice anyone can achieve perfection. New Leaf is incomplete without its team. We are all a well fit family.
Spreading happiness is the goal - Our founder believes that Success is not just about earning money. It is also about putting forth a happy vibe! We have always persevered to make sure that New Leaf is always resonated with an emotional connect. Anjali often says- “If you can bring that feel good factor, you know your brand has created the right impact!”
Always Looking for the silver lining – Our founder has an extremely positive persona. She always looks for a silver lining. In Mar-20, the shutdown due to COVID-19 left a negative impact on everyone. New Leaf also faced the brunt. In these difficult times, our founder knew, that it was time to give back to the society. She started production of fabric masks and made them available at extremely affordable prices. She also did her bit, by donating them to the needy. When even after a month, the situation was not getting any better, Anjali knew she had to pay salaries and so she had to keep the show running. Amidst all the crisis, Rangeen Dhaaga – a purely Lockdown collection which was wholly created at home with all the available resources from production and shoots to marketing and sales . In this time of need, using material available at home, and taking inspiration from our founder, our store sales team became artists!
Always be a dreamer - Our founder has always been a dreamer. She always says- “With passion and dedication, you can make all your dreams come true. You only need to believe in yourself even if no one does!” She wants to become an example for numerous young dreamers out there. In her words, “If you have a dream, just start today. Put your heart, put your soul in your dream. You will definitely live your dream!”
Happy Fact - This story has been beautifully summarized by Anjali’s childhood friends Aastha and Arohi :)