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How the activewear brand Tego is winning over customers

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Tego’s revenue has grown in triple digits every year and it is looking for the right institutional or strategic investor who can help it grow even faster

Over the last few years, niche activewear brands have been gaining traction, especially among the millennial crowd that is experiencing brand fatigue and demanding differentiation. Take for instance Tego, a premium fitness apparel and accessories brand that is winning over customers by moving quickly on relevant trends to create tight product categories and a focused narrative.

Birth of an idea

Since its birth in 2016, Tego has worked its way to becoming a pioneer in the premium activewear segment. The brand, which was founded by Krishna Chandak and Ashish Naik, also sells accessories such as yoga mats, skipping ropes, anti-microbial towels and water bottles. So, how did Tego start? “We noticed early on that that a revolution in materials was taking shape in research labs over the last decade, with new emerging textiles and technologies getting commercialised faster than ever before. We also studied consumer growth segments after the global financial crisis of 2009 and realised that activewear outpaced traditional apparel in sales internationally. At a macro level, it was clear to us that in uncertain times, working out is the one thing that gives people control,” shares Krishna Chandak, co-founder, Tego.

Over time, Chandak and Naik built relationships with leading technology providers, testing labs and manufacturers in India and abroad. This allowed them to create athletic gear with clear differentiation through material innovation, functionality and design. “We also invested considerable time to build deep relationships with the right supply chain partners so that we could continue to innovate and maintain an edge for product differentiation even in a downturn,” adds Chandak. These data points, he continues, helped them recognise the clear opportunity there was to apply these new concepts to specific unaddressed pain points for the growing tribe of fitness-oriented consumers in India. “It was also the right time to leverage market dynamics and create an Indian challenger brand [i.e. a brand in an industry where it is neither the market leader nor a niche brand] with a premium appeal,” conveys Chandak.

Even before Tego was launched, the team was working hard to ensure that the product quality, technical innovations and brand experience were miles apart from anything else available in the segment in those days.

Thinking out of the box

Each Tego product is developed with a clear value proposition and a strong point of difference. “For example, we have anti-microbial sports towels that not only wipe away a user’s sweat faster but also reduce the threat of using shared surfaces at fitness facilities. Our yoga mats are built to last on any surface. We also have the lightest cushioned athletic socks in the market. Our performance seamless apparel comes with natural stretch to avoid clinging to a user’s body in humid conditions,” explains Chandak.

Overall, when it comes to product development, Tego follows a unique approach across material, design and fit. When it comes to the product material, the team engineers unique blends from performance yarns suited for Indian weather. These are also tested at leading labs and certified for efficacy in Indian wash conditions. When it comes to design, Tego believes in elevating mundane product categories through not just functionality, but also design keeping in mind the multiple usage occasions (from the gym to a long-haul flight). “We work with soft and hard goods designers who have led teams at global sports, lifestyle or white goods brands. Their insights help us balance product designs that are not just differentiated but also commercially viable,” shares Chandak. When it comes to fit, the brand designs its products for Indian sizes—a far cry from most of the products sold in India by global brands which are either for Western or East Asian fits.

Tego’s revenue has grown in triple digits every year, and the brand is looking for the right institutional or strategic investor who can help it grow even faster. Chandak says Tego has reached the tipping point and plans to take advantage of the momentum by building adjacencies and going deep into every category that it is currently in, leveraging its USPs along the way to become a trendsetter. The goal is also to make the brand a household name and build a platform for fitness-oriented consumers who are discerning and quality-focused.

Brownie Points

  • In 2016, Tego established its mall presence through Planet Sports (a multi-brand sports and lifestyle speciality retail chain) and expanded in retail through other sports speciality stores pan-India.
  • In 2019, the brand expanded to eight product categories and decided to focus on its D2C channel along with its presence in e-marketplaces such as Amazon.
  • Tego added 14 new product categories in 2022. The brand is now in advanced talks with leading department stores as they expand their sports or activewear categories.

First appeared in The India D2C Yearbook 2022

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