matt & nat: Fashioning success with style - Inder Bedi wins BDC's Young Entrepreneur Award for Québec

    MONTREAL, Oct. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - With unique designs and an edgy style,
matt & nat's line of vegan handbags and wallets for men and women is appealing
to an ever-growing number of savvy consumers across Canada, the United States
and Europe. Founded 10 years ago by Inder Bedi, 34, the company has expanded
to include 18 employees, an office in the United Kingdom, and revenues which
have grown 1,000% in the last six years. For this success, Inder has earned
BDC's Young Entrepreneur Award for Québec and will be honoured tonight at a
ceremony in Winnipeg.
    matt & nat has successfully distinguished itself in the crowded fashion
accessories industry with three key factors: fashion-forward designs, a
philosophy, and reasonable pricing. Inder started matt & nat fresh out of
university. "I dreamed of something that no one else in the market was doing:
a lifestyle brand that embraces a philosophy of positivity and is
environmentally conscious," he says. "Being a vegetarian, I wanted the line to
be cruelty-free, using no animal products. But beyond that, I wanted the
product to reflect a philosophy, which is why there is a positivity message
stamped on all bags, something that has universal appeal."
    When he began, Inder lived with family until he saved enough money to
fund the business start-up, while learning everything he could about design
and the trade. "In the first years of the company, the line was produced
locally in Montréal," says Inder. "I got to the point where I wanted to bring
the business to the next level. Six years ago, I brought in a business partner
and we took production to Asia. This allowed us to make the line more
affordable, while maintaining our designer appeal. Due to the attention we
give to design and details, we have managed to maintain the perception of a
high-end line while taking it to mass market."

    It's all in the bag

    The company targets boutique businesses and has over time defined a
recognizable matt & nat style that appeals to a wide range of people. "We keep
our designs as practical as possible without compromising style. Our strategy
is to carefully select who we sell to and be the most affordable line in
high-end stores," says Inder. matt & nat has garnered attention in the fashion
media for its distinctive message tags and eco-conscious offerings. "We have
specifically chosen not to advertise through traditional ways," adds Inder.
"We want the brand and the product to speak for themselves."
    The company opened an office in London, England, two years ago and is
developing its presence internationally with sales representatives throughout
Canada, as well as in the U.S., Germany, Poland and Dubai. Distribution
agreements are in the works with Japan, Korea and Sweden. "Long-term, we would
be looking to open our own showrooms as well as matt & nat concept stores
throughout North America," says Inder.
    matt & nat collaborates on a variety of events, contests and
sponsorships, and supports multiple charities every year.
    "Inder is to be congratulated for his remarkable success. With a unique
vision, he has carved out a niche for matt & nat, and created a lifestyle
brand that has appeal both here and abroad," says BDC President and CEO
Jean-René Halde.
    "Things are really coming together right now," says Inder. "If you
believe in a particular goal beyond any doubt, put your mind to it and work
really hard, anything is possible."

    Young entrepreneurs in the spotlight

    BDC's Young Entrepreneur Awards are a highlight of Small Business Week,
providing the opportunity to honour the entrepreneurial spirit and business
success of Canadians between the ages of 19 and 35. Winners from each province
and territory are selected by a panel based on the originality of their
business concept, its success, growth potential and their community
involvement. The panel also considers the entrepreneur's age when the business
was started and any special challenges that had to be faced.

    Small Business Week partners

    Contributing to the success of this year's Small Business Week and Young
Entrepreneur Awards are the following national sponsors: Western Economic
Diversification Canada, Export Development Canada and Rogers. Privileged
partners are the Pan Canadian Community Futures Group and the Canadian Chamber
of Commerce, which has been a privileged partner of the event since 1981.

    About BDC

    BDC is a financial institution wholly owned by the Government of Canada.
BDC actively supports the development and growth of Canadian small and
medium-sized businesses through its complementary financial, investment and
consulting solutions. BDC is one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2008. Visit for more information.
    Small Business Week is a registered trademark of BDC.

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange for an interview on October 16:
Media Room: 1-866-515-6033, (204) 985-6251; After October 16: Johanne
Bissonnette, Media Relations Manager, (514) 283-7929

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