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Australia's aussieBum to fuse global and local Innerwear styles

Sean Ashby, Founder and MD, aussieBum

With a strong focus on sustainability and cutting-edge technology, the brand aims to offer more than just innerwear; it aspire to revolutionize the Indian wardrobe

By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe

May 23, 2024 (IANSlifeThe innerwear market in India holds a significant value of approximately Rs 48,123 crore and is anticipated to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5%, projecting a market value of Rs. 26,952 crores by 2025. Despite its substantial size, the market is predominantly dominated by options that lack functionality in terms of quality, fabric, and regional suitability. There exists a noticeable void in terms of innovation, fabric diversity, density, and opportunities for personal expression.

aussieBum, an Australia-based Men’s Innerwear and Athleisure Wear Brand foraying into the Indian market aims to fill the lacuna and cater to all aspects of the wardrobe needs of Indian men. Specifically, the newer generation who aren’t enticed by the conventional designs and fabrics.

Sean Ashby, the Founder and Managing Director of aussieBum, shares insights with IANSlife about the brand's vision and its strategy for meeting the evolving preferences of Indian customers in the realm of innerwear.

How was aussieBum born, the story behind the brand?

Ashby: A brand born on the shores of Australia's famous Bondi Beach, has a rich history that began in 2001. As the founder and former Marketing Manager for Warner Music along with other credible entertainment industries in Australia, I decided to create a swimwear, clothing, and lifestyle brand that reflected my love and passion for the surf, sun, and sea. The brand's inception was sparked by a seemingly trivial inconvenience: the discontinuation of my favourite swimwear style. Discontent with the alternatives and driven by a deep-seated resolve, I decided to take matters into my own hands, marking the inception of aussieBum.

The word AUSSIEBUM is derived from my Australian background and the time spent at the beach, often referred to as a beach bum. Embarking on this venture was no easy feat. With no formal education in fashion or business, the journey was fraught with trials and errors, ranging from sourcing the perfect nylon fabric to partnering with craftsmen who shared my vision. The road was long, filled with rejections and learning curves, but it was these very challenges that forged the brand's identity and values.

My journey is a testament to perseverance, from knocking on doors with nothing but a prototype and a dream to facing the harsh realities of retail rejection. Yet, it was the rejection from mainstream retailers that propelled the innerwear brand towards its destiny – a digital frontier that was still in its infancy. With a newfound focus on e-commerce, the brand not only found its audience but created a global community, a tribe of like-minded individuals united by a love for quality, design, and the Aussie way of life.

As the innerwear brand grew, so did its offerings, expanding from swimwear to underwear and beyond, each product echoing the brand's commitment to quality, innovation, and authenticity. The brand's success is not just measured in sales but in the impact it has had on its customers and the fashion industry at large.

 

What is the idea, mission, and vision behind the brand in India?

Ashby: In 2023, I was approached by a Singaporean representative of wealthy Indian families interested in acquiring aussieBum after Earnst & Young (EY) conducted research to source brands for the Indian market. This marked a pivotal moment in aussieBum's journey, signalling our entry into the vibrant Indian market. However, aussieBum's venture into India is not merely about entering a new market; it's about embracing a vibrant culture and celebrating individuality.

For us, aussieBum has always stood for more than just clothing; it's a lifestyle choice that resonates with people who dare to be different. Recognizing India's potential as a global fashion hub and inspired by the country's rich cultural tapestry, I envisioned aussieBum establishing a business entity in India. This move aligns with the Indian government's focus on boosting the economy and keeping revenue within the country.

We aim to be more than just a clothing brand in India; we want to be a part of people's lives, offering them quality products that reflect their personality and style. Our mission is to cater to the evolving fashion needs of modern Indian men, offering them a diverse range of apparel that combines style with sustainability. At aussieBum, we believe in empowering individuals to express themselves through fashion, regardless of their body type or size.

aussieBum's presence in India signifies a deeper commitment to mutual growth and prosperity. Through partnerships with local stakeholders, we aim to contribute to skill development, job creation, and community empowerment. We see India not just as a market but as a partner in our journey towards a more inclusive and sustainable fashion industry.

 

Why middle-class Indians are an important touch point for your brand?

Ashby: The middle-class segment in India is a pivotal focus for the brand due to its sheer size, burgeoning potential, and evolving tastes. At aussieBum, we are strategically positioned to bridge this gap by offering innovative, high-quality products tailored to the evolving needs and preferences of Indian men, especially the newer generation disenchanted with conventional designs and fabrics. With an unwavering commitment to quality and creativity, we are not just redefining but setting new standards in modern menswear. Our diverse range of products caters to various wardrobe needs, reflecting our strong commitment to quality and creativity.

Targeting the middle-class segment allows us to offer affordable yet stylish and functional garments that resonate with this burgeoning consumer base. By focusing on innovation, fabric diversity, and personal expression, it emerges as the preferred choice for middle-class Indian men seeking quality innerwear that aligns with their evolving style and personality.

 

Product and process innovation taken up by the brand to cater to the needs and tastes of the Indian market.

Ashby: The brand's entry into the Indian market is driven by our commitment to innovation and a desire to redefine menswear. With a strong focus on sustainability and cutting-edge technology, we aim to offer more than just innerwear; we aspire to revolutionize the Indian wardrobe.

Leading this journey, I have always been passionate about creating groundbreaking products. One of our key achievements is the Men's Wonderwork for comfort. This pioneering technology, although often imitated, remains a hallmark of our dedication to quality and sustainability. Additionally, we've developed unique products like the world's only 24-carat gold men's underwear and Vitamin-infused men's underwear, combining comfort with health benefits.

Innovation is central to aussieBum's approach to the Indian market. We strive to provide Indian men with the best in comfort, support, and performance, tailored specifically to their needs. From 'Ultra Pouch-Enhancing Technology' and '4D Framing Technology' to anti-chafe technology in our 'Comfy Bamboo' range, each product is designed with care. Our use of natural fibers like Merino Wool, Modal, and Bamboo reflects our dedication to sustainability and high standards.

Understanding the unique demands of the Indian market, we are focused on creating products that resonate with local preferences. We also recognize the importance of strong bilateral relations and have streamlined our export methods to expedite shipping to India within just five days. This approach not only strengthens trade ties but also highlights our commitment to sustainability and efficiency.

Through these efforts, it aims to meet the evolving needs and tastes of Indian men, offering high-quality, innovative, and sustainable menswear that enhances their wardrobe choices.

 

What sets your apart from its competitors in the Indian market?

Ashby: In the vibrant and competitive landscape of the Indian market, aussieBum stands out with its unique blend of Australian lifestyle and innovative design philosophy. We understand that the Indian youth are looking for something different from the conventional innerwear designs and fabrics. By focusing on quality and creativity, we are redefining the standards of modern menswear in India.

What sets us apart is our commitment to breaking stereotypes and educating consumers about the diverse range of innerwear fabrics available. Each fabric is chosen for its improved functionality and performance. We are dedicated to developing products that suit the climatic conditions of the region, ensuring each garment meets the specific needs of the Indian demographic.

Our core strategy involves adapting our brand and persona to the local market. This includes using local dialects, featuring authentic models who resonate with our consumers, and crafting messages that speak directly to the needs and aspirations of our audience. This approach not only enhances our brand's appeal but also underscores our dedication to inclusivity and empowerment.

In essence, aussieBum is more than just a brand; it is a lifestyle that celebrates individuality, creativity, and authenticity. As we continue to redefine the boundaries of menswear in India, we remain committed to offering products that not only look good but also make people feel good.

 

Long-term vision for the brand in India, and how do we see it evolving over the next few years?

Ashby: In the dynamic landscape of the Indian fashion market, aussieBum is all set to play a pivotal role in redefining standards and inspiring self-expression. With a strong focus on innovation, quality, and sustainability, our goal is to establish aussieBum as a leading brand in India within the next 2 to 3 years, offering a fresh perspective on fashion and inclusivity.

Recognizing India's potential as an emerging fashion hub, we are committed to bridging the gap between global and local styles, empowering individuals to showcase their unique style to the world. Our presence in India signifies a deeper commitment to mutual growth and prosperity. I see establishing a manufacturing unit in India as a natural progression. Through capacity-building initiatives and partnerships with local stakeholders, we aim to contribute to skill development, job creation, and community empowerment.

Looking ahead, I aspire for India to become one of our top three markets globally. Currently, India is the third-largest source of website traffic to aussiebum.com, and we are poised to capitalize on this momentum. Our long-term strategy for India goes beyond expanding market share; it’s about embracing Indian culture, fostering inclusivity, and providing individuals with the opportunity to express themselves through fashion. As we continue to evolve and innovate, we seek to inspire confidence and self-expression in our customers, bridging the gap between different regions and cultures in India.

IANS Life