GROWING THE SPORTSWEAR BUSINESS IN INDIA
Kishore Kumar is a dynamic and result oriented individual with over 40 years of professional experience in functional & strategic management in FMCG, Textiles and Retail (apparel and food). He has worked as GM, VP, Bus. Head & COO with large Indian conglomerates and MNC’s like Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, Godrej, Vardhman, Levi’s and Nike.
He is currently the chief executive officer at RR Sportswear. With great experience is the apparel sector, today he is successfully running RR Sportswear, based in Hyderabad. He loves to challenge his own benchmarks and set higher targets by being diligent, conscientious and driven. That is key in growing and expanding any business and achieving higher goals.
RR Sportswear is a 32-year-old company with a brand (RR) for the last 31 years with a 23% market share in the home markets of AP & TS. They have a robust growth plan of taking the turnover up by five times in about three years from now. It is a family run business with professional managers managing the processes of production, logistics, sales, marketing and finance. The total employee strength is 300 with 6 manufacturing facilities in Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Tamil Nadu.
RR Sports Wear was founded in 1991 in Andhra Pradesh by the legendary Republic Rani Galla who was recognised by Government of Andhra Pradesh for her philanthropic work in making women ‘Earn for themselves’. RR Sports Wear initially specialised in custom made sportswear for Sports Authority of India & Andhra Pradesh, ONGC, Indian Railways, Gurukul Schools, Corporate Companies like Pepsi, Coco Cola, Shoppers Stop, Wipro, Infosys etc. As and when she started supplying sportswear apparel, the idea of launching a sportswear brand in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh struck her mind.
RR Sportswear is all about doing things with the Right thinking and Right spirit. RR Sports Wear company has a state of art modern manufacturing facility unit in Vijayawada and eight third party manufacturing facilities across Ludhiana and in Tirupur and international third-party manufacturing facilities in Bangladesh & Sri Lanka.
RR brand was launched commercially in late 90’s through an organised distribution network in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh (now AP & TS) in the athleisure category. RR was the first regional brand to offer Sportswear, Active wear & Leisure wear to end consumers in the form of Athleisure wear.
They believe that sports are a strong unifying force surpassing the barriers of region & religion and that every nation is as strong as its sports culture. Thus,they intend to promote sports and sportsmanship starting from the remote rural areas and help institutions like SAP in identifying, nurturing and developing athletes who can make India proud. A separate rural sports centre is dedicated for the cause. RR Sports Foundation also adopted and has served as a brand ambassador for promoting athletic sport in its region. They regularly sponsor sports dresses for all athletes in A.P., who participate in the South and National level events.
The feeling of nationalism is indispensable to the idea of nation-building. Apart from religion, sports are the only common thread that binds people together and helps in developing a feeling of patriotism and unity that can counter regional factionalism and sinister design of various separatist forces.
In a country like India, sports have been prioritised, worshipped and venerated since the very start. Sports in India have a very rich history greatly influenced by the British during the 18th and the 19th century. Even before, the advent of the British the royal families had their own traditional sports for entertainment and fitness. India is one of the few countries who have retained the indigenous sports like kabaddi, kho-kho and gilli-danda.
With the popularity of cricket and hockey, India started participating in the commonwealth games, Asian Games, Cricket world cup for an international platform. India has also been a part of Olympics since the 1900’s. Sportsmen like Dhyanchand also known as the Hockey Wizard brought a lot of fame to the country. Some great athletes like Milkha Singh started his international career in the year 1956 in Melbourne Olympics games and brought gold medals to India in four Asian Games and one Commonwealth Game he was given the title of “Flying Sikh”. Cricketers like Ranjitsinhji took cricket to an international level and laid the initial base for cricket in India.
All this shows how imperative sports are for a country like India. It rekindles and sparks enthusiasm, sportsmanship, patriotism and team work in its citizens and breaks all barriers regarding race, sex and religion. It inspires the youth to feel for the nation and inculcates several values in them.
Hockey is the national game of India. It has made India stand tall and has proved itself to the world, in spite of being under political suppression and, Cricket is a team game, which is played between two teams of eleven players each. It is a bat-and-ball game. In India, cricket is by far the most popular sport and almost practiced like a religion. People worship Cricket and the admirers of this game respect it like their own religion. When Cricket is played, all Indians are hooked to their televisions no matter how busy everyone is with their own lives. It unites everyone and brings together all religions to a common ground, that is, love and respect for the country.
Thus, there is a lot of scope for business expansion in the sportswear apparel sector; Sports being a religion in a country like India.
‘The Athleisure market is growing at 21% CAGR as per syndicated research data. Thus, there is a promising market size for us and we wish to achieve around 1.5% of the national market size in our relevant segment of men’s athleisure by the turn of 2022.’ – Kishore Kumar.