Hustle, the fashion athleisure apparel brand, recently got launched exclusively on Flipkart, one of India’s largest e-retail store. In conversation with Vishal Patel, founder Tribesman Graphics Pvt Ltd., who talks about this sudden fashion spring, its’ scaling demand and how it’s fueling their business.
What is the current demand in the market?
Athleisure wear, as a fashion style has made a swift entry into the Indian market. Presently, as per the industry experts, this style has become the fastest growing category as compared to the rather cluttered and stagnant categories. Athleisure is growing at a rate of 20-25% annually; menswear is growing at a rate of 8-10%, while women’s and kid’s apparel segment is growing at 11-15%. We can already see the growing demands of Hustle T-shirts, Shirts, Joggers & Jackets.
Where did this sudden athleisure boom spring from?
Well, there has been a gap between the boring gym wear & fashionable casual wear categories forever. This is where Active-wear aka, Athleisure wear aka, Hustle has jumped in. With the new generation’s increase in health & fitness awareness, a sudden gap has been created between casual wear & typical sportswear. Athleisure wear can be worn both for gymming as well as casual meet ups.
What trends/innovations have you witnessed in the business?
Talking largely about the e-commerce business, there have been many opinions and even judgements passed by everyone in the industry from day one. There have been some notable innovations supporting the business. Operational mostly, but the improvements have been substantial; the delivery systems, the new online payment gateways, the location based customer data, data integration, live online communication with customers and social media. Having already positioned another brand Sayitloud in the Indian E-commerce market, we have aligned ourselves with every new trend, therefore making the brand a popular one in the recent times.
What are the conditions or golden rules of athleisure?
Talking frankly, with Hustle we’re bridging the gap between gym & casual wear. So you have fashionable, stretchable pro gym cloth being used to suit the Indian weather. Athleisure category was brought into existence by simply breaking the rules of classic gym wear and casual wear categories. Every category needs its ideal time to surface as a steady independent division in itself. As they say, customer is king and I think its they who will drive the demand and need and we are all geared up to cater to this trend.
With a clear opportunity for growth in this business, what retail options are you exploring?
To begin with, there are big companies which have already pumped in huge money in the Athleisure wear category. The category, which is already an estimated $3.5 Billion segment, is growing rapidly every year. Right now Hustle is present exclusively on Flipkart, but will soon be there on Myntra & Jabong by next year just like SayItLoud. We are targeting the retail market by collaborating with few National Apparel Store Chains. We’re currently in talks with them and we hope to have closures towards the end of this financial year.
How are you intending to fuel the USP your brand enjoys?
Since our main target audience is between the ages of 16-24 years, who are often referred to as ‘social media generation’, we analyse trends through social media and translate them into products. For us the main USP is obviously our understanding of the audience by having a huge presence on all social platforms while our PAN India operational network remains the backbone of the brand. Both Hustle and SayItLoud have a strong fan base on social media and is likely to grow more in the coming years.
What are you doing in your bid to promote a healthy lifestyle?
We live in the times where 2 billion people worldwide are obese. With the growing bad eating habits and long working hours, we’re finding ourselves surrendering to many unnatural practices. If you take a look, for Hustle we have roped in popular artists such as Rannvijay Singh Singha, Prince Narula, VJ Varun Sood, Actress Samyuktha Hegde to name a few as our brand representatives who broadly promote outdoor activities in their personal life. The whole idea of getting them on board was to share Hustle’s healthy lifestyle ideology and fashion with everyone.
How are you planning to cater to so many mushrooming customers?
With the easy internet access we have come real close with our customers. It’s no more a typical B2C business. It has become more personal now than what it used to be almost half a decade ago. There is a strong Brand-Customer bond now and the feedback is instant. Being in the e-commerce business for the past 6 years with SayItLoud has taught us many things. We have practically lived through the customer and even competition proliferation through these years and are well prepared for the times to come. To fulfil the needs of the ever growing Hustle’s customer base, we are introducing a wider range of products like T-shirts, joggers, jackets, vests etc. We are constantly monitoring and analysing the trends and shaping our approach towards the customers accordingly.
What is the forecast for your business?
With every year we can see new players entering the category - small and big scale companies both. The category is also rapidly growing along with its customer base. Since, the trend has just picked up, athleisure is a long term fashion trend. We are quite confident about the category’s acceptance in the Indian market and are looking to exponentially grow the business in the coming years. Hustle has everything right now for making it big in the growing athleisure wear category.