With Shikhar Dhawan as its brand ambassador, Alcis Sports aims to bring affordable sportswear to Indian marketNeha Jain
The Delhi-based startup was formed to tap the emerging athleisure segment in the country, as more Indians are getting health and fitness conscious.
At a Glance
Startup: Alcis Sports
Founders: Roshan Baid
Year it was founded: 2016
Where it is based: Delhi-NCR
Problem it solves: Is an athleisure sportswear brand
Funding raised: Undisclosed amount from RB Investments
As more people gravitate towards health and fitness in the country, brands cannot be left behind, and are springing up in the segment. Taking a pique from his own need, Roshan Baid (45) launched Alcis Sports in 2016. The company is a home-grown athleisure sportswear brand, and aims to tap into the this emerging segment in the country.
The availability of products catering to the segment is at two ends of the spectrum - either very expensive and high on quality, or affordable but low on quality.
Roshan says, “We wanted to hit that sweet spot between quality and affordability. Our products are technologically-advanced, backed by innovation, is stylish, comfortable, and at par with international brands at very affordable prices.”
Manufacturing to Branding
Roshan started his journey in the garment manufacturing industry in 1999, after passing out of National Institute of Fashion technology (NIFT). He had already been running a polyester-manufacturing company called Paragon Apparels for over two decades, and used the manufacturing prowess and experience in building Alcis Sports.
The products have multiple features like anti-static, anti-odour, moisture wicking, and so on. They are across categories like running, training, yoga, football, and tennis.
“One of the unique products that we developed is the Wonder Tee, which is made from recycled plastic, each using about eight plastic bottles. These t-shirts are softer and lighter than the normal ones, and come with the latest innovations,” explains Roshan.
Alcis has also tied up with FIFA to launch 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia-licensed apparel merchandise in the country. Roshan says, “This is an exclusive deal, allowing football fans in India to lay their hands on official fan merchandise for one of the most followed sporting events in the world.”
Apart from the Indian market, Alcis Sports will also have rights to sell and distribute in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan.
Brand Ambassadors the key
There sure were challenges while building the brand.
Roshan says, “From being the ‘behind the scene’ person in the business for so long, it is an exciting phase for me to build a consumer brand from scratch. I realise that brand building is a time-consuming process, and we have taken our initial steps by signing up cricketer Shikhar Dhawan, and other popular television personalities like Lauren Gottlieb and Karan Tacker, as our brand ambassadors. We are also being aggressive on social media platforms and are trying to be relevant in our communication while interacting with our audience.”
Roshan feels that the athleisure segment in India is heavily dominated by international brands, which are expensive, and have only a handful of colours like black, blue, white etc.
“My idea was to create a home-grown, affordable brand, which is at par with international brands in terms of quality, and also in-sync with Indian sensibilities. India is a very vibrant country. We love colours, and it should reflect in what we wear - even in sportswear.”
“Also, the temperatures here go up to 45-48 degrees in most parts, and the products should also be created keeping this in mind. Our products come with many features to tackle these temperatures, and are very light in weight - some of them weighing as low as 70-80 grams, making it comfortable to wear in hot and humid conditions,” explains Roshan.
Currently, the total team strength is close to 150. The company is operating in various channels of sales, from online to offline, and its products are available on almost all large retail format stores across India. This year, it has opened five retail stores in Kochi, Guwahati, Mumbai, Delhi and Jaipur.
It currently sells over 30,000 items every month through various channels. In the first year of its inception, it posted a revenue of about Rs 6 crore, and by the end of financial year 2017-18, the revenues had touched Rs 30 crore.
“We should be doubling our revenues by the end of next year,” says Roshan.
Fitness apparel market
According to a report from Euromonitor, from 2015 to 2016, the Indian sportswear market grew 22 percent, outpacing the segment’s global increase of seven percent. By 2020, it is expected to grow an additional 12 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate), with sales expected to reach $8 billion.
There are bigger players in the segment such as Nike, Puma, Adidas, and Reebok, and some domestic brands include Pace Athletica and Auuro Sports.
So what differentiates Alcis Sports from others? Roshan says, “While there are many products within the athleisure and sportswear industry, there is a big gap between quality and pricing, which we have successfully bridged. Premium brands cater to a very small segment of the population since their price points are very high, and the others which are affordably priced, compromise on quality.”
Initially bootstrapped, the company recently secured an undisclosed investment from Singapore-based Venture Capital firm RB Investments.
Roshan has plans to invest around Rs 20 crore to Rs 25 crore this financial year, and will soon be coming up with a children's range. He also plans to launch a footwear line and a bags segment within the product range shortly.
“Apart from expanding to the large-scale retail formats, we plan to open about 15 exclusive stores within the next 12 months, covering major Indian cities, which will help us double our revenues to Rs 60 crore by the end of next financial year,” says Roshan.