Sangeet Agrawal, the founder of Mokobara, was inspired to launch a luggage brand after a frustrating travel experience a few years ago.
My good-looking piece of luggage broke and this incident sparked the realisation that the luggage market lacked a brand that offers both quality and affordability.
Agrawal, an engineer who has worked with brands such as Urban Ladder and Mahindra & Mahindra, started Mokobara in 2020 while the pandemic was in full swing.
Today, the company offers thoughtfully designed luggage bags, backpacks, and travel accessories that appeal to the aesthetic sensibilities of the modern traveller. It also offers wallets and accessories such as packing cubes and neck pillows. Along the way, the company raised Series A funding of $6.5 million in a round led by Saama Capital, Sauce VC, Alteria Capital, and Panthera Peak Ventures.
The connection with New Zealand’s Moko tribe
So, what does Mokobara mean? ‘Moko’ is a type of face tattoo that people belonging to the Maori tribes of New Zealand sport. The tattoo represents attitude and personality. “We combined it with the Swedish word ‘bara’, which means ‘to carry’ and ‘Mokobara’ was born. The name loosely translates to ‘carry your personality’ or ‘carry your identity’ with pride as you go globetrotting,” he says.
Exploring offline presence, international markets
Mokobara recently opened its physical store in Bangalore and plans to open more such outlets in other parts of the country over the coming months. “In the luggage and bags category, physical presence is crucial. We currently have two profitable physical stores, which have helped us foster deeper connections with customers,” he says.
Mokobara has just started selling internationally through Amazon Global Selling, with plans to tap into markets such as the U.S and the UAE. It is one of the 47 startups shortlisted for Season 3 of Amazon Global Selling Propel Accelerator, a program that empowers home-grown startups to think exports-first. The startup’s vision is clear—to become a global brand offering quality products beyond geographical boundaries.
Mokobara also counts Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone among its early investors. The team often interacts with her and takes her input on design sensibilities and fashion trends.
Prepping for Amazon Great Indian Festival
Having seen remarkable success in previous editions of the Amazon Great Indian Festival, Agrawal projects the ongoing 2023 edition to be even bigger for his company. “This year we are expecting four times the business as compared to the previous edition. I am confident that this season is going to be great for us,” Agrawal says.
Customers can expect a bunch of new product launches during AGIF 2023. Mokobara is also doling out offers on a wide range of travel bags and accessories during the Great Indian Festival. For instance, Amazon customers can get the Mokobara Workback 15.6” transit backpack, originally priced at ₹ 9,999, for ₹ 4,499. The limited-edition Transit Check-in trolley bag (large), one of the brand’s most popular products, is now available for ₹ 6,499.
D2C (Direct to customer) brand vs consumer brand
Agrawal believes that the word ‘D2C’ is misleading because it focuses on the sales channel rather than the consumer. “I prefer to call ourselves a ‘consumer brand’ rather than a D2C brand. You are essentially catering to the consumers. You can figure out the channel and marketing based on your needs,” he says.
Sustainable growth over hypergrowth
Mokobara is a profitable startup that prioritises sustainability over rapid expansion. The roadmap ahead involves increasing the profit pool and reinvesting profits back into the business. Mokobara aims to reach ₹ 1,000 crore in revenue in the next 5-6 years from their present annual run rate of ₹180 crore. “Building a consumer brand is a long journey. 20 years down the line me and my co-founder Navin Parwal may not be running the show, but the brand has to remain,” says Agrawal.
Tips for aspiring consumer entrepreneurs
Agrawal encourages startups to focus on building a premium brand on online marketplaces. “Don’t go with preconceived notions. Instead, study the market and understand the gaps,” he says.
He firmly believes that consumer brands take time to build and grow.
Play for the long haul instead of trying to cut corners and show growth in the short term.
If you’re eyeing premium luggage and backpacks, the Amazon Great Indian Festival 2023 is your gateway to level up your travel style. Explore Mokobara’s travel gear now.