How the Virat Kohli brand helped this innerwear company hit Rs 40 Cr ARR in just a few months
Nischal Puri and Lux Industries came together to start Artimas Fashions, which is aiming to corner the men’s innerwear market. Getting Virat Kohli’s One8 was the first step in that direction.
Nischal Puri has worked as a brand consultant for two decades, with stints at Horizon Consulting, BrandIs, and other organisations. Over time, he realised that the India Brand Story needs a new lease of life with cooler narratives and representations backing great products. So he went to Lux Industries, the popular Kolkata-based hosiery manufacturer, and proposed building an aspirational brand for youth together.
‘’We were contemplating to come together and form a venture that can dedicate itself to building brands for the future. Lux Industries has some of the strongest brands in the innerwear space and our idea was to pool in our resources and create a win-win combination,’’ says Nischal Puri, Founder of Mumbai-based Artimas Fashions, a joint venture between Lux Industries and Nischal.
After homing in on youth as the target market, Nischal ensured that the new venture was well-capitalised for growth, with a majority of investment coming from Lux Industries. Artimas has invested Rs 7 crore.
The company was set up in early 2019.
Artimas aims to build brands in the innerwear and activewear space for men. It has launched One8 and ActiMaxx, signing on ace cricketer and Indian skipper Virat Kohli, banking on his youth icon status. One8 is owned by Virat Kohli and is licensed by Artimas.
ActiMaxx is an active wear brand that propagates holistic fitness, Nischal says. The products are designed post in-depth analysis of the body metrics of potential consumers during market research. The products have been tested across consumer demographics in India and serve the age groups 18 to 30, he adds.
Nischal’s plan with Artimas is to build the brands and cross a threshold topline before exploring the options of raising investments from venture funds.
“When I built my first company way back in 2010, I was the professional donning the entrepreneurial hat. You suddenly enter a state of uncertainty dealing with a situation where you will not be getting monthly pay checks and instead have to write them for your employees. It took almost three months to set the basic infrastructure for the company back then,’’ says Nischal.
Artimas is a 20-member team.
Artimas’ business model is to establish brands across all channels of sales, ecommerce, modern trade, and mom-and-pop clothing stores. Says Nischal,
“We will be focussing aggressively on the ecommerce space and also in the brick-and-mortar retail through distribution. We have aggressive plans to enter the overseas markets."
The brands are already available on ecommerce sites like Flipkart, Amazon, Myntra, etc.
In the next 18 months, Artimas expects to have established significant awareness of the brands and garnered seed market shares in the respective segments. Nischal says they are gunning for a topline of Rs 100 crore by 2021, with this year’s run rate being Rs 40 crore ARR, and positive EBIDTA margins.
The brands will be retailed across more than 15,000 multi-brand retail outlets. Currently, it is retailing in 100 outlets and scaling up.
The Kohli factor
With One8, Nischal explains, Artimas wants to establish an innerwear brand that speaks the language of today’s youth. “One8’s tagline is 'comfort for the restless', as the youth today are determined to achieve goals and have high aspirations, but also keen to toil and work towards fulfilment of their goals,’’ he adds.
That was the pitch they took to Virat Kohli this year. Nischal says,
“Virat’s brand value, in our opinion, can motivate and inspire millions and we are of the opinion that One8 as a brand can play an important and inspiring part in the lives of the youth.”
The entrepreneur has always wanted to build a brand that captures the imagination of the youth. “Over the last many years I have been driven by a singular objective: to build brands that have a philosophy, a reason for their existence. I had the experience of launching two youth brands—2GO and BEYOUTY—in 2010. Those early lessons helped me understand how the distribution business works, mostly working with retailers who can ensure that the stock sells fast,” Nischal explains.
The business of brands is big in India. India's apparel market will be worth $59.3 billion in 2022, making it the sixth largest in the world, comparable to the UK's ($65 billion) and Germany's ($63.1 billion), according to data from McKinsey's FashionScope.
One8 competes with the likes of Jockey and several smaller brands in India. Nischal Puri believes that Artimas will become a house of brands over the years to come. For now, though, he is going after the lucrative apparel market in India.
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)