Purnima (Punta) Bhalla
Owner and CEO of Karigars/India
Punta’s story is also the story of how Masai came to be, and a story of more than 30 years of what began as a professional collaboration and soon became a lifelong friendship. It all began in 1992, when Nina and Hans, the siblings who founded Masai, went to India to get their first collection made. They only had a small order, and several producers declined. They were told to contact Punta, who at that time was running a small clothing manufacture and export business. Punta agreed to produce the small order for Masai as it fitted well with the size of her own business. It’s now more than 30 years since this collaboration began, and Punta currently owns two factories in the Delhi area dedicated to producing clothing exclusively for Masai.
In November 2022, we decided it was time to head to India to hear Punta’s story. We meet Punta in her home in Delhi, where she tells us how it all began:
Punta says she enjoys working exclusively with Masai. She has always been a small manufacturer with a modest organisation, which is why it suits her to have just one customer. She doesn’t have to spend time accommodating multiple customers’ needs, and instead has worked solely with Masai to find the right solutions. Punta believes she is able to adapt the company to Masai’s needs. The collaboration has always consisted of trust, respect and understanding of each other’s challenges. As Punta puts it:
Punta founded her business back in 1982. She tells us that many of the current employees joined the company back in the early years. They were quite young when they started working in the business, and together they developed the craft and created a product they are tremendously proud of. Many of today’s employees have been with Punta for more than 20 to 30 years.
Trust is the most important thing for Punta in her relationship with her employees. They trust her and she trusts them. The fact that they have worked together for so many years means they support each other – and the support goes both ways.
When we ask Punta what it means to her to make clothes for Masai, her face lights up; her passion for her craft is clear. She loves that fashion is constantly moving and developing, bringing new products season after season.
What Punta loves about Masai is the informal, stylish look, which is always comfortable.
For Punta, working with Hans and Nina was a privilege. And over time, the original collaboration developed into much more than just business. The professional collaboration between Punta and Nina has become a lifelong friendship, even though they each come from very different parts of the world and their relationship was initially only professional.
Masai stories are portraits of women’s lives, presented through thoughts and reflections from a group of dedicated and passionate women. The stories reflect on diversity, openness, courage and, not least, the freedom to be and want to be yourself. Through meetings these women, who all inspired us with their life choices and creativity, we wanted to create a special insight into women’s lives. Our stories portray the strength and beauty that emerges when your life passions are allowed to blossom, and when you choose to listen to yourself and pursue your dreams.
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