uhane startup

Uhane Fitness Start-up story


Website – Uhane Fitness

Founders – Rekha Mahendra & Bindu Chava

Embracing comfort and ease in activewear
The woman fitness industry is teeming with several players. There are a lot of labels with the same aim out there-to supply the consumer audience. Some don’t gamble on quality, so on the higher side are the price points. Others keep their prices extremely low, but they do not last for more than a few wears.

Redefining athleisure

What is lacking is fun. We ought to dump all those dull blacks, whites, and grays. How do we ever expect them to make our day brighter? Uhane believes that She, you, I, for more than just the workout, we all want to wear our athletic wear, so it needs to be something full of color and strength. Colors, patterns, designs- all of them are majorly missing from Indian women’s fitness wear sector.

A Brief Overview of Uhane
Uhane is a sports company that produces athletic apparel for Indian women. It is a company that crafts sportswear that has Indian body form in mind. The sportswear collection from Uhane is perfect for jogging, gymnastics, and sports like rugby, badminton, soccer, and football. The brand has developed a range of comfortable premium wear that suits you well without being clingy or too loose. They integrate diverse structures into their designs to render the activewear more breathable.

Innovative fabric play
Uhane uses various fabrics, based on the season and the purpose of the clothing, all through collections. Their fabrics-crafted according to the yarn, weight, and ideal texture-are lightweight and super stretchy. Uhane selects fabrics predicated on Indian climate applicability, fitting that works for the Indian body, and styling that makes women feel comfortable and confident.

Can the millennials perceive Uhane?

Millennials view fitness as a necessity, part of their schedule. They do set aside some time for their fitness regime, no matter how tight their time frame is. As for fashion, this generation often assigns equal value to looking good. Uhane follows their mantra to design such outfits that would attract these millennials — they see exercise, yoga, etc. as a re-energizing part of their lives rather than a tiresome chore, plus their efforts to execute eloquence in every outfit they wear. Then put them together.

And Uhane makes what looks nice to wear and what helps the millennials feel good.

Style and comfort go hand-in-hand
With their line of t-shirts showcasing sleeveless and sleeve styles as well as trendy and vibrant colors such as purple, blue, orange, and mix of colors, it’s also fashionable.  While the t-shirts are designed for workouts or particular sports, the blend sports t-shirts collection comes with Dri-Fit technology. It essentially ensures breathability whilst you practice or play any sport.

The Brand reflects the vision of- Fashion and Fitness
Uhane believes that it should always be about self-identity, be it fashion or fitness. So Uhane’s encouraging this – be proactive, speak up for yourself. Here, they need warmth. Their clothes are designed to take on the form of the body, and not the other way around.

Uhane was born to mirror the customer’s positive thoughts on what women wear, match their comfortable lifestyle with activewear, and beautifully emphasize all types of body through its unique collections.

What made you strike this business idea? What inspired you to start this company?

Rekha – I have always been very active and play tennis almost on a daily  basis. However, living in Chennai, one is very conscious of the kind of clothes one wears. Mostly playing early morning with markers or other gentlemen in my club, I used to wear dark, oversized T-Shirts, which did not really look great but made me feel comfortable as they would not be clingy or transparent esp against sunlight. When I was returning from the club after a game of tennis, a male friend of mine asked me where I was coming from and why I looked so shabby. That at 6.30 in the morning. I reflected on this and started looking at other women in the gym, at the badminton and squash courts and realized, most women (25+ age group) where wearing oversized T Shirts, many a hand-me-down from some marathon their husbands’ companies had participated in. More introspection and a look at the available offerings from the big brands gave a clear answer to why so many women looked badly dressed at the gym: for the rational, average Indian woman’s shape there is hardly anything that suits us. The big brands cater largely to very athletic women, while most average women (not the plus size category) don’t feel comfortable in wearing clothes that are tight and exposing.

Discussing this idea with a college friend from the US, we decided to give it a try and create fitness wear for the active, average Indian woman. More research and we realized that there  are a lot of women who are super fit, by health and fitness standards, but are not perfectly athletically shaped. That is our target. Women for whom fitness is a way of life, who are fit but don’t have a perfect athletic figure.

When did you start your business?

Rekha – We took some time registering our company, Crazy Coconut Pvt Ltd (2018) and registered Uhane as a trademark in 2019.

What does success mean to your company?

Rekha – Reaching out to as many women as possible to get them to work out in clothes that are comfortable and make them look their best.

How are you performing currently?

Rekha – We are just at the very beginning of our journey…but what is encouraging is that 90% of women who have bought our products, are extremely happy with the fit.

What is the biggest risk to your company?

Rekha – The concept being copied by established Indian companies.

What are your plans for the funding?

Rekha – Currently we are growing organically, but would be looking at investors in the very near future to step up product development, production and most importantly, marketing.

What is the biggest challenge you faced during your start-up setup?

Rekha – Each step of the process from product development to marketing took more time than if we had experience in the garment field….lots of trials, errors but great learning.

What does growth mean to you and your business?

Rekha – Proof of our concept.

How does your product stand different from others in the market?

Rekha – It has a USP in terms of fit and also attitude, we believe in enjoying the entire process / journey of fitness rather than a killer drive to lose weight or get that perfect shape. Fitness should make you happy, not stressed out!

How does it feel getting up every morning and getting on to work?

Rekha – This is my 2nd start-up venture, the first being in the corporate film making space. I am very close to the brand; personally, for me the brand is an extension of what I believe. Every order is super exciting! 

(Bindu is more of an investing partner with a lot of ideas but the day to day running is left to me as she is in the US with a full time job.)

Where do you see your business standing in the next 5 years?

Rekha – Own retail outlets, a solid customer-base and a brand our target has heard of!

Who support you to stand this business and how?

Rekha – We had no outside support, just Bindu and I in terms of investment and ideas, with Biniya Arun as our extremely patient and helpful designer and Suresh of Astraa Apparels in Tirupur the ever-encouraging and obliging manufacturer. Both Biniya and Suresh have really guided us through a business neither of us had any experience in. Our motivation was purely to create a brand that many women could use and feel good about.

A small team of very dedicated people who are there to help build the brand before worrying about the bottom line.

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