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Sanjay Gill on Success: “Business is Not a ‘Get Rich Quick’ Scheme”
Behind the Purebaby name are a husband and wife duo that act in harmony. We sat down with Sanjay Gill, the CEO of Purebaby to examine the story of the brand, the importance of making mistakes and why he enjoys tapping into his ‘ambitious’ side.
Purebaby first opened its doors in Chadstone more than a decade ago. In search of natural clothing and products alternatives for babies, its Founder and Creative Director, Mirabai Winford, was inspired to create something herself. She and her husband, Sanjay Gill, created Purebaby – a multichannel retailer that gives parents a wide range to choose from.
“When I couldn’t find a range to meet all my needs — fashionable, organic, functional and most importantly affordable — I was inspired to create it myself,” Winford says. The brand’s vision aims to create “beautiful babywear without compromising on social responsibility,” says Sanjay Gill, the CEO of Purebaby. “Our collections are designed and manufactured with love and respect for the world in which we live, the world where our children will grow and play.”
Before Purebaby opened its first doors in 2009, the brand was already well-known among parents. With a wholesale presence in David Jones, Baby Bunting and others, the idea was to keep the retail footprint small – 70 to 100sqm – and the rents low. “Lucky for us, the store was profitable from day one,” says Gill.
Now, Purebaby has 23 stores across the country. While the first eight all brought in profits from the beginning, Sanjay explains that there were some mistakes that the business made that actually helped the brand in the long run. “I suppose opening too many retail stores too quickly could be called a mistake as it put a lot of financial pressure on the business, but the added brand exposure benefited our online business enormously,” he tells Power Retail.
With such a powerhouse duo taking the realm of Purebaby, there are tasks and roles that are delegated accordingly. “My wife and Purebaby’s founder Mirabai is the creative force behind Purebaby,” he tells us. While Sanjay doesn’t believe he has a creative side, he will often tap into the ‘ambitious’ part of his brain. “I like to tap into my ambitious side by reading across various mediums and looking for new trends,” he says.
How does he connect with this side of his brain for the business on a day-to-day basis? Typically, in a pre-COVID world, he’d wake up at 5:45 and head to the gym. After a full day of meetings and work, he’d be home by 6.30 and return to his work after dinner. However, since the pandemic, this schedule has changed slightly.
“Post COVID-19, it’s all upside down and I am trying to get back into the gym, squeezing in a walk in-between Zoom meetings while working from home. I suppose you can call it an ‘entrepreneurial’ sort of day!” he says. And when he’s not working, he’s riding his bike along the paths of Melbourne, and spending time with his family.
Just like the adaptation to life after the pandemic, the increased interest in e-commerce has also changed the way Sanjay thinks, especially regarding business.“Digital e-commerce may have shortened the journey but the above fundamentals remain unchanged,’ he tells us. “I would like to say that a business is not a ‘get rich quick scheme’ and it takes a good idea, smart execution, lots of hard work, support from the family and luck to succeed.”
With all business ventures, Sanjay has experienced his ups and downs. But for him, failure simply isn’t an option. “I have had various setbacks over the years due to some poor decision making, but I have always managed to find a way to survive by tenacity and lots of good luck,” he says.