Apparels Manufacturer Spawns Homegrown Brand in Sportswear Segment and Takes on the Giants
Hailing from the small town of Tezpur in Assam, Roshan Baid achieved a significant milestone in his entrepreneurial journey of two decades when he forayed into the athleisure segment that is dominated by international players like Adidas, Reebok and Nike.
Starting with Rs 4 lakh that he borrowed from his father, and setting up 10 machines at a small factory in Tughlaqabad on the outskirts of Delhi, Roshan has come a long way from his humble beginnings.
Roshan’s first company Paragon Private Limited founded in 1997 manufactures apparels like t-shirts, jackets, track pants, track suits and hoodies for major global sportswear brands including Adidas and Reebok.
Last year he launched Alcis Sports Private Limited that makes sportswear under the eponymous label for the domestic market. Alcis is giving the giants in the field a run for their money and adding to the top-line of Roshan’s business.
Today, with more than 5,000 employees the combined turnover of his two companies is Rs 240 crore, with a contribution of Rs 25 crore from Alcis in its first year.
Alcis is now the official apparel supplier for six teams of the pro-kabbadi league. “We wanted to offer branded sportswear of great quality, but at Indian prices. That’s how Alcis Sports was born in 2017,” says 46-year-old Roshan, who goes on to share the USP of their products.
“Our t-shirts are made from environment-friendly material and come in vibrant colours instead of the dark and muted tones of international brands; they are germ-resistant and suitable for the Indian environment.”
Some of their t-shirts are so light that they weigh just 70 grams and their products are priced between Rs 399 and Rs 1,400.
Importantly, Alcis has given Roshan his own brand identity that Paragon, a B2B company could never provide him with. Paragon had recently bagged the license to make ‘fan-wear’ apparel for FIFA 2018 in India and also makes apparels for four IPL as well as four ISL teams.
Born in Tezpur, a small city in Assam, Roshan was active in sports during his schooling years and played tennis at the state level. His father ran a motor parts shop and wanted to provide his son a good education. Hence Roshan could go to Mayo College in Ajmer to finish his schooling.
“As a hosteler, we learnt to live a tough life, and it prepared us for any eventuality in life, whether good or bad,” he says. After finishing his school he did his BSc at Hansraj College, Delhi University, and did a course in Apparel Marketing & Merchandising at NIFT Delhi, in 1995.
Roshan then went on to work at Gokuldas, a garment maker in Bengaluru, from 1995-1997 for a salary of Rs 7,000. “I got bored of the job and shifted to Delhi,” he recalls. “I borrowed Rs 4 lakh from my father and started a garment production unit on the outskirts of Delhi with 10 machines …”
Paragon was born and it achieved a turnover of Rs 40 lakh in the first year. Initially he took work orders for top-notch exporters in the region, picking up raw materials from them in the morning, and delivering the finished products by the evening.
“I used to run around in a car that I had borrowed from my father!” says Roshan, laughing as he remembers the initial days. “While this continued for a few years, I wasn’t very happy with the way things were going and was looking for ways to improve the business.”
In 2001, Roshan got the breakthrough he was looking for when he got an opportunity to make sportswear for Reebok. It was a major turning point in his life.
Business boomed then on. “By 2010 we had 2,000 machines and shifted to the current factory in Noida. We touched a turnover of Rs 100 crore in 2009. We also set up our own printing and embroidery factories in Noida, as well as a huge fabric mill in Himachal Pradesh,” shares Roshan.
2012 was another milestone year for the company. “We collaborated with a Korean company to import technologically-advanced machinery worth Rs 45 crore, which enabled us to become the largest supplier to sportswear brands from India.”
Having advanced technology helped them bring down production costs phenomenally, as they were earlier importing expensive fabric from Taiwan.
Roshan then decided to tap into the growing market for athleisure or comfortable sportswear apparels in India. Alcis was launched in 2017 after RB Investments, a Singapore-based company invested USD 4 million in the company and took 25 per cent stakes in it. Alcis receives manufacturing support from the parent company Pararagon.
Today there are 700 outlets for Alcis, with kiosks at Central Mall, Shoppers Stop and more such retail spaces across the country. They have eight exclusive retail stores in the metros and sell online too.
Alcis has roped in cricketer Shikhar Dhawan as their brand ambassador. Roshan is aggressively promoting the brand and is targeting a turnover of Rs 65 crore by end of the current financial year.
Paragon has been awarded as the best exporter in Noida Exports Cluster in 2013, 2014 and 2015. It has also been awarded by Apparel Export Promotion Council in 2015 and was a finalist in Times Award, 2016.
Ask him about the secret of his success, and Roshan says: “For manufacturing, it is important to deliver on time. Setting up a sustainable supply chain to reach customers at the right time with the right product and the right placement holds the key.”
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