Indian Entrepreneur & Chairman of Fabindia, New Delhi
Social Entrepreneurship - Building a Global Fashion Business.
William Nanda Bissell, the Chairman of Fabindia has steered the company’s retail growth and product diversification over the last two decades. One of India’s most successful contemporary lifestyle retail chains, Fabindia is known for its focus on the craft-based products, creating job opportunities and generating livelihoods in the craft sector, across the country.
It has been particularly successful in bridging the rural-urban divide, creating access to urban markets for rural based artisans working with traditional skills.
This commitment extends to Fabindia Group company Organic India, recognised as the world’s leading source of authentic organic products and supplements, that actively supports natural, sustainable, organic, agriculture practices and livelihood across rural India through its wide network of farmers and tribal wild-crafters.
In 1988, after graduating from Wesleyan, William set up the Bhadrajan Artisans Trust (BAT) – an artisans cooperative of leatherworkers and weavers based in the state of Rajasthan. The original Trust now operates a rural school in the same area with over 450 students and an emphasis on quality education.
Between 1990 and 1999 William experimented with different forms of Community ownership, an experience that deeply influenced his approach to suppliers and supply bases when he took over as Managing Director of Fabindia in 1999, a position he held till 2018.
William lives in Delhi with his wife and two children. He is an avid reader, and passionate about the environment, the active role of good governance in business, and community-building as a social responsibility – subjects that he talks about on a regular basis.