Investing in Bliss Club
Activewear brand crafted for Indian women
The last two decades have witnessed a massive growth in the adoption of athleisure as a lifestyle choice worldwide to become 20%+ of total apparel sales. The demand for comfort, style, and performance in clothing and footwear has encouraged consumers to include activewear as an integral part of their wardrobe, pairing items with denims, dresses, and even formalwear.
Size of women’s activewear market is 4-5X lower than men’s
While athleisure as an apparel category is still in its early days in India (we are not surprised) being less than 3% of the total apparel sales, it is a fast-growing segment (20%+ YoY). What comes as a surprise, however, is the fact that the size of the women’s activewear market is 4-5X lower than men’s activewear currently. Intuitively, this did not make sense. Most global fashion trends in apparel typically find acceptance and adoption among Indian women before reaching the men. So what happened with athleisure?
Women were facing recurring issues such as poor fit, excess sweating, and lack of pockets with their leggings
Minu, the founder of Bliss Club, is a fitness enthusiast and plays ultimate frisbee at the national level. She knows her activewear and athleisure. Hence, she viewed this space from a different lens and often found herself (and women around her) complaining about recurring issues such as poor fit (e.g. waistbands rolling down, chafing around the thighs), excess sweating because of the material being less breathable/plasticky, and lack of pockets. Women were so tremendously dissatisfied with the available choices and alternatives that many had either stopped using nylon products or would only use them for the gym and resort to poor-performing cotton alternatives for everything else.
As Minu dug deeper, she realized that most of the international brands in this apparel segment were designing and sourcing products globally instead of considering region-specific (India first) factors. Given the varied body types, weather conditions, and cultural sensibilities (e.g., preference for more “covered” clothes, limited use of sports bras as outerwear), Minu understood there was a big product gap in the space and set out to build Bliss Club.
Unlike most companies in the apparel space, Bliss Club is focused on its hero products
Unlike most companies in the apparel space, Bliss Club is focused on its hero products. The company started operations by selling only one SKU - “The Ultimate Leggings” in just one colour (Black) and in four sizes on its website. These leggings have been specifically designed for Indian women, and feature high waists for a snug fit, no roll downs of waistbands, and the perfect ankle length. Minu was quite particular in her choice of the material, i.e., CloudSoft fabric, to ensure the leggings were soft, airy, and breathable with a cotton-like finish. These leggings also have 4 pockets (a lifesaver in women’s clothing!), to carry keys, cash, phones, earphones, etc.
Customers were absolutely in love with the product and did not hesitate to say that this was indeed the best legging they had ever purchased
We were honestly amazed at the kind of scale that Bliss Club built with 1 product and that too with minimal marketing spend. Even for their customers, there was super-normal delight (as we gathered in our conversations). They were absolutely in love with the product and the brand and did not hesitate at all to say that this was indeed the best legging that they had ever purchased. This gave us the conviction to move ahead, and we had a term sheet for the company in less than 72 hours from our first meeting.
Team Bliss Club is now on a mission to spread happiness through movement and is engaged in crafting multiple products and services only for women. They already have a highly engaged community of over 15000 women, and will continue to listen to their needs and pick a few problems where it is possible to create 10X better products and experiences.
The clarity of the company’s vision, the uniqueness of their approach, and the passion of the founder are indeed inspiring and we are super excited to be their partners in this journey.
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