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From Family Tradition to Cultural Brand: The Journey of 'RAUR' in Athletic Leisure Wear

Raur Athletic Fitness Brand the team

The Shergill Family: Davinder & Arun Shergill (father and son co-founders shown above), plus Naminder (mum) and Jeevan (son)

 

Welcome to a journey of strength, resilience, and cultural significance as we sit down with the creators of 'RAUR' - the athletic leisure wear brand that reflects the identity and values of the Sikh community. Let's hear from the founders themselves about their journey and the significance of their creation in this exclusive interview.

 

Raur Athletic Fitness Brand the team

The Idea

 

As a family of 4, we have this cherished tradition. Every evening, at around 8:30 pm, we gather in our cosy living room and tune into the TV for our nightly ritual. It's a time when we come together, unwind, and share moments of laughter and connection.

 

But, during the pandemic, as the world seemed to slow down and our routines shifted, we began to ponder something important. We realized that there wasn't an athletic leisure wear brand out there that truly represented us, our people, and our values. It was a moment of reflection for us, a time when we questioned if there could be something more meaningful, something that resonates with our identity as Sikhs within the vibrant Punjabi community.

 

Just like when we hit the gym, we want our chosen brand to symbolize our strength and resilience. We've witnessed big brands like Nike and their collaboration with Colin Kaepernick, taking bold stances on issues they believe in. So, we thought, why not create something that stands for us, our community, and what we hold dear?

 

The Name

 

In Sikh tradition, it's a common practice for women to carry "Kaur" as their middle name, signifying "princess," while men proudly bear "Singh" as their middle name, representing "Lion." In our quest to create a brand that represents both strength and grace, we fused "Kaur" and "Lion" into the name "RAUR." This unique blend perfectly symbolizes the essence of our brand.

 

The Logo

 

Raur Athletic Fitness Brand logo

We initially had a friend from our university design our logo, which we were quite excited about. We even contemplated trademarking it, but we hit a roadblock when Jaguar Land Rover raised objections due to some similarities. This situation prompted us to rethink our brand image and come up with a new logo.

 

The process of redesigning our logo turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The current logo not only avoids any trademark issues but also represents us more authentically, truly capturing our essence and values.

 

The Sustainable Products

 

Raur Athletic Fitness Brand made from sustainable materials

Another important aspect we discussed is sustainability. Initially, we worked with a manufacturer in London, but the cost per unit was high. We felt they were taking advantage of our lack of knowledge. So, we found a new manufacturer in China that offered sustainable materials.

 

Our women's wear is made from 77% recycled nylon and 33% spandex, while our T-shirts are 95% recycled bamboo and spandex. We were impressed with the material's softness and quality. We also considered different colours, involving our Instagram followers in the decision-making process, which means we reached out to our target market and asked their opinions.

 

The Logistics

 

The process of getting our products involved is a bit of a logistical challenge with shipments arriving at different times. But we made the most of it by organizing photo shoots with friends who were more than willing to help. The energy during the shoot was great, and it turned into a fun, memorable experience.

 

We were working on a video, and my friend had a song suggestion. However, we couldn't use that song due to royalty issues. Since we're a business, we'd have to pay a fee for using it on Instagram. This was a concern because one of our previous posts got a copyright strike for using a song. So now, when we plan our posts, especially our reels, we carefully choose the music to set the right mood.

 

Our goal is for the music to make an impact as soon as the video starts, alongside our logo or an initial question to engage the viewer's attention. It's about creating an atmosphere that interacts with the viewer and gets them thinking.

 

The Promotional Events


Promoting Raur Athletic Fitness Brand

Our journey began in April 2023 when we introduced our products to the market. We had successful events, including a significant one in Coventry. We had to prepare for these events, acquiring the necessary equipment like tables, chairs, and a marquee.

 

Setting up the marquee turned out to be easier with a pop-up structure. We also got a banner made for our branding. We worked hard to prepare for the events after our regular work hours.

 

Our first event was a unique experience, full of obstacles, such as being placed next to a food stand, leading to long queues in front of us. It was a struggle, but we worked hard and realized that in this situation, we needed to make the most of it. So, we decided to go out with our business cards and offer help. It was a difficult experience.

 

The following week, we had an event in Coventry, and we were a bit hesitant initially, given the tough previous experience. But we were determined to make it work. Surprisingly, the Coventry event was a complete turnaround, with our target demographic, and we did exceptionally well. It was a drastic difference between the two weekends, and it reinforced our commitment to keep pushing forward despite our initial setbacks.

 

The Challenges

 

When it comes to challenges since we started, we've faced several. First, we had to transition from the initial idea to actual execution, which was a significant hurdle. We had to learn to manage production and supply while working full-time jobs. Another problem was making international payments, which involved a lot of attention to detail and addressing issues promptly.

 

We also faced delays due to holidays like Christmas, New Year, and the Chinese New Year, which affected our lead time. We had to be patient and coordinate everything correctly. Despite having precise contract quantities, it was a learning experience with unexpected hiccups.

 

One notable challenge was managing the FedEx promo shipment. We had to ensure the delivery was prompt for a photo shoot, and it was a chaotic but successful endeavour. We had to be meticulous about the address and deal with international shipping quirks, such as the difference between O and 0 in addresses.

 

In all this, we persevered and made everything work. Despite the difficulties, we remained committed to delivering a quality product at a good price point and continuously improving our brand.

 

The Health Setback

 

Shortly after our launch, we faced a major health scare when my dad experienced alarming symptoms. Minutes later, we found ourselves in an ambulance racing to the hospital with a heart attack. The symptoms were peculiar – a sensation of pressure in my chest, not the usual sharp chest pains.

 

These symptoms emerged after I had completed a 10K run at the gym, and I initially thought it might be due to low blood sugar levels. I had some quick snacks, including a banana, chocolate, and tea, but they didn't alleviate the issue. Taking aspirin turned out to be a crucial step in thinning my blood while awaiting the ambulance.

 

We believe that our strenuous work schedule without breaks might have contributed to this scare. As a result, we've learned the significance of taking time off to care for our physical and mental well-being and encourage others to do the same.

 

Additionally, we're dedicated to raising awareness about heart health within our community, particularly among Asian males. Our current goal is to share our experiences and offer guidance on how to handle such situations.

 

We were amazed when we got to MK Hospital. We couldn't believe how quickly they responded and treated us. It was so different from our expectations. We need to appreciate the hard work and dedication of the healthcare professionals. They don't always get the credit they deserve. I want to thank them.

 

Fitness Experience

 

In terms of our fitness routines, as a family, we each have our unique preferences. Naminder (mum) has a background in teaching Pilates, and Davinder (dad) enjoys playing football. Arun (pictured above) is into weightlifting, and boxing, and used to be a sprinter, while Jeevan leans more towards running. Running became a significant part of our fitness journey, starting with a 5K and progressing to memorable experiences like completing our first 10K.

 

We even took on the challenge of running our first half-marathon, which was a truly remarkable day for us. Over time, we've continued to grow and enhance our fitness.

 

The Number One Goal

 

We’re not just in it for the money. We aim to support communities and maintain our core values, even as our business grows. The idea of protecting women's rights, promoting mental health, and being open about our values is a significant part of our focus.

 

Mental health holds a special place in our hearts, largely influenced by our own lived experiences. We recognize the profound importance of addressing and supporting mental wellness, and we're actively engaged in raising awareness on this vital issue and feel lucky to have discovered a remarkable and revolutionary group called "Man Cave."

 

"Man Cave" is more than just a support group; it's a beacon of hope and a driving force for positive change in the realm of men's mental wellness. Initially established in Milton Keynes, this group has now started to branch out into surrounding areas, impacting lives far beyond its original location.

 

What's truly inspiring is the way "Man Cave" has managed to create a safe and inclusive space for men to open up about their mental health concerns. Arun recently leaped and attended one of their meetings. He was utterly impressed by the profound positivity and genuine help that this group offers to the community.

 

The value of "The Man Cave" extends far beyond just providing a platform for men to express their feelings and experiences. It's about developing a culture of support, empathy, and understanding. By encouraging dialogue and offering guidance, they're making a significant impact on the lives of countless individuals. We firmly believe that initiatives like "The Man Cave" are instrumental in shaping a brighter and more empathetic future when it comes to men's mental wellness. It's a cause we're proud to support and celebrate. Follow The Man Cave on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/themancave_uk

 

The Next Move

 

Raur Athletic Fitness Brand promoting Boxers

We discussed upcoming plans, such as hoodies with sustainable materials and promotional merchandise for boxers, promoting local brands at various events. We currently sponsor Dylan Cheema which has been a mutually beneficial partnership, and we are genuinely thrilled to back him.  There was a mention of a pop-up shop and a Christmas market as part of our marketing plan.

 

 

The Advice

 

As for personal trainers or anyone starting a new venture, patience is key. Stick with it, work hard, and be patient. Don't be too quick to expect results and understand that it takes time to achieve your goals. Success doesn’t happen overnight, and hard work is essential. Don't let expectations lead you to despair.

 

“I feel like I've learned a lifetime's worth of lessons in a short time”, explains Arun. When you feel deflated after hard work, you need to keep going to build resilience.

 

On the topic of running the business, it's essential to manage third-party relationships and apply corporate principles like supply management and prioritisation.

 

Additionally, consider the opportunity cost of your time and do not spread yourself too thin. Remember to plan and manage your finances effectively and never be too quick to declare success. Calculate your costs and margins and make sure it's sustainable.

 

Lastly, consider the importance of mental health. Don't overwork yourself and take breaks when needed. The opportunity cost includes your well-being so make sure to prioritise your well-being when necessary.

 

We'll keep going and figure out how to expand internationally, although we anticipate the cost of postage will be another issue to overcome. Regardless of the outcome, we've already helped the community and worked together as a family, which continues to inspire us. We did it the right way, even though we could have chosen cheaper quality and not put money back into the community, this feels a thousand times better.

 

I'm grateful for being involved in something like this, and I'm enjoying it. Win, lose, or draw, it would have been a nagging "what if" if we chose not to try. What if we had done well? What if it had worked? You miss 100% of the shots you don't take, and I'm just grateful to have given it a go.

 

It's been a lot of fun, and we've met great people. We've been in rooms with professional athletes and had engaging conversations. It's crazy to think about and something I cherish.

 

You've seen a lot of growth and we're hoping to offer more work experience to the locals in the future. The transferable skills they will gain is just as much of an investment as much as we put into the product.

 

Qualities of RAUR Products

 

Excellent Fit: The tee shirts from RAUR are praised for their amazing fit, providing comfort and style.

Sustainability: RAUR's material is sourced from sustainable and eco-friendly sources, making them an environmentally conscious choice.

Luxurious Texture: Customers have raved about the buttery soft feel of RAUR products, ensuring a pleasant tactile experience.

Family-Owned: RAUR is a family-owned business, reflecting a personal and dedicated touch in its products and customer service.

 

Where to Find RAUR

 

 

 

 

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