Having looked everywhere to find natural baby linens at an affordable price, Anjali left the corporate world and began the journey that lead to Malabar Baby.
What’s your story?
My search for beautiful and natural baby linens began in 2014 when I moved from New York City to Hong Kong and became pregnant with my son, Aryan.
The thought was simple: good bedding was fundamental to my night’s sleep, and so, of course, it was a top priority when considering the comfort of my child.
I looked high and low to find bedding, swaddles, and accessories that were well-made, of high-quality materials, and not boring! Just because I was becoming a mom didn’t mean I wanted to lose my sense of style or compromise on aesthetics.
Unfortunately, nothing I could find was affordable or accessible. So, I decided to quit my ten-year stint in the corporate world and begin the journey that ultimately lead to the birth of Malabar Baby.
What excites you most about your industry?
Spreading the art of slow made block-printed textile to baby and mama!
What’s your connection to Asia?
Malabar Baby is the result of years of exploration, collaboration, and discovery and was inspired by the area in southern Mumbai (Malabar Hill) where my family currently resides. It was truly a labor of love—a lengthy and exciting process that allowed me to combine my lifelong passion for travel with my love of block-printing, and to reconnect with my family’s deep East Asian roots.
I am Indian. Grew up in the United States but, went to high-school in India. Malabar Baby is named after my neighborhood in Mumbai where I came up with the idea when I was pregnant. I had my son Aryan in HK and live here with my husband (who grew up in HK). We are here in HK for the long-run! I am in India every 6-8 weeks to over-see our studios…
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Tokyo. Absolutely insane food so business meetings are always fun! Haha. And because the Japanese truly have incredible taste. The Japanese enjoy high-quality products that tell a story and that really excites me. We speak the same language in a higher sense…
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Be empathetic. You can never really know what someone is going through even if their circumstances seem evident.
Who inspires you?
My mother, Nisha. CFO of our family business yet somehow juggles work and life in complete balance. She has done so for decades. She may sweat the small stuff sometimes but, she truly gives any task she is given her ultimate best. Nothing is beneath her and she is one elegant 65 year old!
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Almost 2 Million plastic bags are distributed around the world EVERY MINUTE!!!
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I still have plenty of time I’d like to think! So far no real regrets or lost time…Feeling pretty complete, just a lot of things I’d like to accomplish…
How do you unwind?
I don’t do this enough and I need to! Wine and cheese on my couch with my hubby is perfect for me. I love being home. And I love being pampered.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Adore Bali. Simply the best food, spas, culture and art scene that is so accessible and affordable.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Have not read a ton of business books, to be honest. For me, it’s all about mentors and people. Learning first hand from anyone willing to share.
Shameless plug for your business:
Sleep is so important to our lives and keeps us thriving. And it’s even more important for babies. Give the gift of uber soft handmade bedding and nursery essentials when you are looking for a unique gift that doesn’t break the bank!
How can people connect with you?
Always welcome an email or a coffee when I’m not on the road! I’m a real people person and enjoy learning about people’s journeys.
Will instagram do? malabarbabyofficial
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.