“No-nonsense t-shirts about a passion, or a cause.”
That, dear readers, is Toubé Bäs for you! Based out of Mumbai, Toubé Bäs is an online store for funky Tee’s with a message that portrays a passion. The USP of Toubé Bäs is that the t-shirts are more ‘customer-centric’ as they talk about passions (like football or tennis) or emotions about a certain thing, rather than being ‘design-centric’. Other t-shirt companies generally create cool designs first and then push them to the customer.
So if you are expecting floral prints or butterflies, ‘Error 404’. You are at the wrong webpage!
What you may seek and what you shall find in the t-shirt designs here is a print with a purpose. Not an erratic design but a meaningful statement.
A mysterious thing about Toubé Bäs, that I’d love to tell my readers about, is their policy of new releases. So a new print t-shirt strictly releases on the 13th of every month. Spooky, eh? And with that, the t-shirts are limited edition. Another quirky fact about the company is that only 501 t-shirts of a kind are sold. Ever! That means, Toubé Bäs will keep making t-shirts and release one t-shirt on the 13th of every month; of which, a particular design will only sell 501 t-shirt units - after which they just burn the frame!
So who is behind this wacky label?
Sorabh Sodhani stirred up his creative cells to materialize this business idea. He did his B.Tech followed by an M.Tech from IIT Bombay, specializing in Metallurgical Engineering and Material Sciences. He then completed his MBA in Sports Management from Coventry Business School, UK. “I wouldn’t call it a business idea yet. It’s just that I make t-shirts about certain passions and put them up just in case someone finds them interesting enough to buy”, Sorabh points out.
Speaking about how Toubé Bäs started, Sorabh says, “It all started when I made a t-shirt about football, my biggest passion, and my football playing friends in Bangalore started buying them. That was when I was getting frustrated as the CEO of MeraSport Technologies in Bangalore. We were not getting anywhere as a startup, so I decided to make things roll with an online store!”
And so it did!
With an initial capital of Rs. 2500/- Sorabh launched Toubé Bäs on February 13th, 2009. He gets the printing done in Bengaluru and sources the shirts from Tirupur. As he successfully managed to get Toubé Bäs organically funded, he doesn’t plan to raise funds for now. He is not even looking at starting his own stores since it may become an expensive affair and then he’d have to push the costs down to the customers.
A one-man team, Toubé Bäs has close to 100 unique visitors each day in the age group that ranges from 15 to 50. Their market size is equivalent to the number of people who are passionate about something in their lives. People who have ‘spotted their flower’, if I were to borrow a phrase from ‘Adaptation’. With that, they make 90% domestic and 10% International sales each year.
“People have warmed up big-time to the idea of t-shirts not being just a piece of cloth, but a statement of intent, a medium of expression. T-shirts do not hide as much as they really reveal!” says Sorabh.
Preachers of passion have to be passionate people themselves. And Sorabh is no different. A sports freak, Sorabh has represented Mumbai in the Ultimate Frisbee sport with the Mumbai team: Storm Chasers. He has been a professional football referee with WIFA affiliated Bombay Football Referee Association and has organised Ultimate Frisbee clinics for children in rural areas for community development through sports. He’s a passionate runner, cyclist, football player (playing in the MDFA league), volley ball player and owns “Bombay76”, the official merchandise store of IIT Bombay.
And how has the response so far been?
“Heart-warming. I don’t care so much about the sales, but I have made some really cool friends who are so, so passionate in life, that it is inspiring!” he chirps.
To wrap it up in a nutshell, I rephrase V, of the Vendetta fame, to put this any better, for “Beneath this shirt there is more than flesh. Beneath this shirt there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.”
So whilst I search for an Arsenal jersey on Toubé Bäs, please share your thoughts about this venture by dropping a comment here!
Author - Abhilasha Dafria
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