This Ahmedabad entrepreneur is betting big on his athleisure brand in a market dominated by Decathlon, Nike
When Ahmedabad boy Rohan Shah was out for a morning jog, he realised he had dropped his phone somewhere while running. He went back looking for his phone, only to find its screen cracked.
This led Rohan to search for jogger shorts with deep pockets to carry his mobile and earphones, but he couldn’t find anything in an affordable range.
Hailing from a family that was into the business of manufacturing innerwear, Rohan had a knowledge of the athleisure and active wear market. He was quick to understand there was a need for a good athleisure range at an affordable range for fitness freaks like him. After doing some research, Rohan decided to launch his own brandin 2016.
In six years, the company claims to be growing 75 percent year on year, with Truerevo being "profitable since inception".
Launching a brand was not difficult for Rohan, but offering quality and affordable products in a market dominated by French sporting goods retailer Decathlon, Nike, etc. awas tough.
Rohan, 35, says creating brand awareness took time, and talks about his journey so far.
After months of brainstorming, Rohan launched Truerevo’s first product, a pair of smartphone shorts, specially designed to carry a phone while running.
He collaborated with a Swiss designer to design this two-layer short that solved the problem of carrying a mobile and incorporated features for keys and energy bars and also prevented chafing while running long distances and marathons.
Apart from officially launching in India, he registered the brand in a kickstarter programme where he received around 1,200-1,500 orders that he shipped to 50 countries.
“I was surprised and happy to see such an inflow of orders. This gave me confidence that the product would be liked by the Indian audience, and so I started retailing it as a D2C brand and through ecommerce marketplaces,” Rohan tells SMBStory
Rohan decide to outsource the manufacturing as he felt making all the products under one production line posed challenges. He outsourced manufacturing to OEMs in Ludhiana, Tirupur, Delhi, and Mumbai, and also partly made products in a small unit he set up in Ahmedabad.
In the first year of his business, Truerevo made a turnover of Rs 1.5 crore. Rohan claims the company filed a turnover of Rs 4.5 crore and received around 4,000 orders a month in FY21.
“The pandemic was a boon for us. People were at home and the disease made them think of adopting a healthy lifestyle. We saw more people working out and the demand for our products also grew,” he says.
Athleisure started picking up as more people started working from home. According to Technavio, the athleisure market is poised to grow by $80.74 billion during 2020-2024.
Truerevo's athleisure wear
Challenges and the competition
Truerevo has range of sports, fitness, and running apparel for both men and women. The range includes t-shirts, shorts, leggings, jackets, track pants, capris, singlets, tank tops, compression tights, etc.
The market is dominated by Decathlon, Nike, Reebok, Adidas, etc, who have been the frontrunners in meeting the active wear needs of people for years.
Rohan says Truerevo offers a fine quality range at an affordable price for the masses and competes with new brands like KIKA and ALCIS.
“In India, you have to go back and forth with the pricing to be on top. Earlier, people were not ready to invest in athleisure. Now, they don’t mind buying comfortable and quality active wear for their workouts, but don’t want to pay a hefty price. This is where we step in as a brand and meet their needs,” Rohan explains.
The athleisure market has grown rapidly, which has given opportunities to both organised and unorganised players to plunge into the market.
Rohan says the foremost challenge in the industry is that there is no entry barrier and "is getting crowded with mixed players". This increases the brand awareness cost through marketing and standing out.
The way ahead
Talking about future plans, Rohan says the key focus right now is to expand in the offline retail market in India and globally.
Rohan is also thinking of "investing more in manufacturing in-house to have complete control over the product development".