Your Haas Network
Nik Patel, BS 01 and Dhruv Agarwal, BS 03
Co-founders, True Fabrications
After leaving the Haas School, friends Nik Patel, BS 01, and Dhruv Agarwal, BS 03, parted ways and went to work in policy research and in sales. Three years ago, they reunited, with Ben Inadomi, BA (English) 03, to launch Seattle-based wine accessory wholesaler True Fabrications.
"My father always pushed me to work for myself," says Patel, who worked for a nonpartisan research organization before co-founding True Fabrications. "You might work yourself to death but at least you own something at the end of the day."
Agarwal and Inadomi felt the same way. Then at a trade show in India, Agarawal spotted uniquely-designed wine tote bags, providing the inspiration for True Fabrications. So the trio moved into a defunct saddle shop and worked 15-hour days building their startup.
They began by selling a line of wine gift bags decorated with vintage posters and polka dots. They quickly added wine racks, bar accessories, and picnic baskets.
The business was well-timed: Wine consumption has steadily increased since 1994, according to the industry association Wine Market Council. This boom helped boost True Fabrication's revenues from $170,000 in 2004 to just shy of $2 million last year. Its products are now sold in more than 4,000 retailers nationwide, including Whole Foods and Andronico's markets.
"Demand was high from the beginning because, at the time, there really wasn't an attractive way to gift wrap wine," said Agarwal, who sold wine bags to specialty stores before co-founding his company.
Now with 16 people on the payroll and projected 2007 revenues of $3.5 million, True Fabrications is gearing up to enter the mainstream market. This year it began selling t-shirts and a trivia game called "Winerd."
"We have 283 products and many of them could do very well in different types of stores, so we're working on expanding our retail presence," says Patel.