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In Conversation with Roshan Baid, MD, Alcis Sports

Choosing the right outfit is crucial for your performance in sports and workout sessions. The right sportswear is the one that provides comfort and the best fit so that no distraction can come between you and your performance or fitness regimen.

ALCIS Sports, a Noida-based authentic sportswear brand, owned by the Paragon Apparels, is known for providing quality sportswear at affordable prices. In an interview with Techstory, Roshan Baid, the Managing Director (MD) of Alcis Sports and the founder of Paragon Apparels, speaks about his entrepreneurial journey and the companies he founded. Here’s what Mr. Roshan Baid has to say –

Q. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur? Do you think that more and more young people should take up entrepreneurship? What would be your message to people aspiring to become an entrepreneur?

Ans: After completing my studies at NIFT, I interned with a garment export company where they offered me a job. But, I quickly realised that doing a job was not my cup of tea and so, I moved to Delhi to start my own business.

I set up a sportswear apparel company in 1997 in the name of Paragon Apparels and it has grown to become one of India’s largest sportswear manufacturing companies, supplying to some of the biggest international brands.

The talent that India’s youth possesses is unquestionable. My message to them would be to look to be a job-creator than a job-seeker. If more and more young people come forward and show the entrepreneurial spirit, it will create more job opportunities and help the country prosper.

Q. What is the competitive advantage of the products provided by ALCIS Sports? What differentiates your products from those of your competitors?

Ans: Alcis Sports is a homegrown performance wear brand with international standards and Indian pricing. We started the brand to offer international quality at Indian prices. That’s how we are always competitive.

We have tremendous experience of making sportswear for the last two decades. We are a yarn to fabric to retail company. Hence, we can make our apparel entirely in India unlike some other companies who has to depend on Bangladesh or Vietnam for yarn. Hence, we can offer extremely competitive prices to our customers.

At Alcis Sports, we have a range that is unparalleled in terms of presence in the categories of running, training, yoga, racquet sports, and core. Each of these is different and is custom-made for specific activities.

We firmly believe that we don’t just make clothes, but make equipment for our customers which can be used for both performance and activewear. We also have a product called, ‘Wonder Tee’, which is made from recycled polyester, each using about eight plastic bottles.

Our product ranges start from Rs. 399 going up to Rs. 3999.

Q. What do you think about the current startup scenario of India? Do you think Indian startup will be able to make a global impact?

Ans: The startup scenario in the last couple of years in India has been booming, which is a great sign. The world is sitting up and taking notice of India, and we have so many successful case studies around us. We should keep up the momentum and inspire more and more youth to take up the entrepreneurial journey. It’s not easy but it’s not that difficult either.

Q. What role has been played by technology in enabling you to scale up your venture?

Ans: Technology plays an integral part in Alcis Sports. We infuse the latest technologies in our sportswear such as Dry-Tech (moisture management), Anti-Odour, Anti-Static, Anti-UV and Light X. The products are specifically designed keeping Indian lifestyles and weather conditions in mind.

We also have a collaboration with a Korean company to import technologically-advanced machinery, which enables us to manufacture technologically advanced sportswear in India.

Q. Would you like to tell us more about your entrepreneurial journey?

Ans: I started my journey in the garment manufacturing industry in 1999 with Paragon Apparels after passing out of NIFT. I had a humble start with 10 machines and today, I am proud to say that Paragon apparels is the biggest polyester sportswear manufacturer in the country, employing more than 5000 people and is working for some of the biggest brands in the world.

We are witnessing a retail boom of sorts in the country, both in the offline as well as in online mediums. The millennial consumers with high disposable incomes are cued into the trends around the world, and are looking for the latest that athleisure manufacturers have to offer.

However, the availability of products catering to this segment is only at the extreme ends of the spectrum – either expensive and high on quality or affordable but low on quality. At Alcis, we wanted to hit that sweet spot between quality and affordability. Our products bring consumers technologically-advanced products backed by innovation; are stylish & comfortable and at par with international brands at very affordable price points.

Q. Who has been the inspiration of your life and what life lessons you learned from them?

Ans: I believe in two things for success – hard work and more hard work. There is no substitute to rolling up your sleeves and putting in the hard yards for success. My father is the most inspirational person in my life and I have learnt to work hard from him.

Q. What kinds of challenges you face on a daily basis? Would you like to share your thoughts on work-life balance for entrepreneurs in general?

Ans: Although I am in the industry for more than two decades with Alcis Sports, I am starting afresh like any other startup. The pressure of starting a new company, getting investments, order, production on time, maintaining quality, marketing and making it a brand, need a lot of attention from my side. I am trying to cope up with the pressure. But when you know that you have a good team with you, you can achieve anything.

Teamwork instead of a one-man show helps maintain work-life balance for an entrepreneur. It is also imperative to unwind and relax from time to time, spend time with the family, and engage in some leisurely pursuits to ease things out. Personally, I always look forward to spending some quality time with my family and a round of golf to help me keep afresh.

Q. What are some of your key priorities for your people?

Ans: Firstly, the thought process for all the people involved in any company should be in sync with the company’s vision and its aspiration. My role is more of a guide to show the direction and empower them so that that they can take their own decisions.

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