Speaker 2014 Annual Meeting


William Bissell
Managing Director, Fabindia Overseas Private Limited

After completing his B.A from Wesleyan University, in Connecticut in 1988 William Nanda Bissell returned to India to set up and head the Bhadrajun Artisans Trust – an Artisans Cooperative of leatherworkers and weavers based in the state of Rajasthan. The original Trust formed in 1988 now operates rural schools in the same area with over 1000 students. Between 1990 and 1999 William experimented with many different forms of community ownership. In 1999, William became the Managing Director of Fabindia. Today, the company, established in 1960, has 176 stores across India and six outlets abroad. It is India’s largest private retail platform for a wide range of products produced using craft-based processes that derive from traditional skills and techniques and links contemporary urban markets with traditional craft-based, largely rural producers, offering discerning customers merchandise and products that emphasize an alternate to the mass produced. Fabindia has evolved a supply chain that views artisans and suppliers as active partners and helps in creation of sustainable jobs in the rural sector with profits and wealth creation. The company is the majority share holder in EAST the UK based mainstream women’s wear retailer. Currently, East has over 100 stores and concessions. Recently, Fabindia also acquired 40% stake in Organic India, one of India’s leading organic foods and supplements firm and in Rang Bandhej. William has authored the book ‘Making India Work” that takes a hard look at the issues facing our country and the radical re-think necessary to catalyze change.