On the coronary heart of each firm is a mission to resolve one of many world’s issues. For Romain Jean de Dieu, the CEO and Founding father of UGLOW Sport, he needs to enhance the consolation requirements of sports activities fanatics and athletes alike. This spurred him to dive head deep into designing sports activities attire that met his personal set of standards.
Years of analysis ultimately paid off and UGLOW Sport is the world’s first 100 per cent stitch-free model. The expertise represents the model’s relentless pursuit to be on the prime of its recreation on this extremely aggressive market with giants like Lululemon, Underneath Armour and others. The model shares that it’s all the time looking out for the way it might higher serve the wants of the market and its prospects. This could vary from addressing ESG considerations to new initiatives reminiscent of UGLOW Well being — these are hallmarks of a progressive firm.
Forward, LUXUO speaks with Romain Jean de Dieu to be taught extra about UGLOW Sport and what’s in retailer for the corporate within the years to return.
You’re an entrepreneur born in Nimes, France. How did the concept of launching UGLOW in 2015 come to you?
After I created the primary UGLOW ideas again in 11.11.11 (the date of our first BR in Hong Kong for UGLOW), I wished to deliver extra security into sports activities and industrial life. I used to be Basic Supervisor within the lighting enterprise for a Jackie Chan and Airstar worldwide three way partnership in Hong Kong. UGLOW was a facet challenge the place I researched instructions into its design, innovation, expertise, and sports activities. The preliminary merchandise had been fairly subtle; we had been embedding Electro Luminescent expertise (EL) to boost customers’ visibility at night time underneath all circumstances. The idea was new and daring but heavy in analysis and improvement charges, very area of interest.
In 2014-2015, the market demand for typical sports activities attire and equipment turned extra intense, and the varied gala’s we attended confirmed the pattern. I knew I needed to develop a brand new vary, but it surely needed to be typical clothes but distinctive. Within the following months, I solved the issue with the clues given to me. UGLOW as we all know it right now started to take form and develop in my head. It’s the primary 100 per cent stitch-free model and represents the most effective in consolation, expertise and efficiency.
You’re taking pleasure in being the world’s first 100 per cent stitch-free clothes model. How heavy has been the R&D there to realize such an goal?
UGLOW is right now the one 100 per cent stitch-free model and attire worldwide. We’re distinctive, so the pleasure and emotions of operating in UGLOW are similar to our DNA; we offer a novel sense of freedom and luxury. Such a degree of excellence requires the approaching collectively of worth and time to good our craft.
Reliability was our most important problem initially since we had been on one thing new; not all parts and supplies had been optimised again within the day. We had been pioneering in an space none had explored earlier than, and there have been clear indicators of why! The expertise was expensive, and manufacturing was taking longer.
Our first three years (2015-2018) had been difficult for the manufacturing groups, however we nonetheless have the identical core from 2014, which I’m pleased with.
We needed to evolve with our expertise, adapt our expertise, and enhance our designs to suit what was technically doable all through the years. It was unimaginable because it was a interval the place we outlined our model and cuts, which now turned recognised as a part of our uniqueness.
The supplies you might be utilizing and your particular manufacturing strategies present light-weight, practical, and irritation-free garments. What suggestions do you obtain from customers of the UGLOW vary of clothes?
We primarily use polyamide materials which affords premium consolation to the consumer’s pores and skin. Furthermore, polyamide is softer than polyester, guaranteeing a discount of chaffing and minimising irritations.
Such combos of materials mixed with our 100 per cent stitch-free manufacturing strategies assist us elevate the status for our garments.
Clients write to us, and I’m all the time impressed by the optimistic notice they will depart; final time, one had the impression she was operating bare.
Within the quintessence of our work, we need to make folks be happy and lighter to the purpose they really feel like sporting nothing. What is best than feeling mild as ever to carry out at your greatest, proper?
Is your focus extra on consolation or efficiency?
We deal with consolation and all its technological options that may elevate the consumer’s consolation expertise. Consolation is crucial these days, permitting you to carry out effectively and push past your private greatest. Consolation is prime, and we prefer to hyperlink consolation and efficiency since they’re interconnected.
You point out the flexibility of your merchandise to endure harsh circumstances. Through which half(s) of the world do you take a look at and take a look at the UGLOW merchandise?
We presently promote our merchandise worldwide by way of our distributors’ community (13 international locations) and our on-line channel. Merchandise are examined primarily in France, Singapore and Hong Kong. We have to discover all terrains and circumstances to have them carry out excellently in assorted circumstances.
Has your group been made conversant in ESG necessities?
We’re very involved about making the world and our firm a greater and safer place. We, as producers, are function fashions, and all of it begins with the precise actions. We’re liable for appearing exemplary, and security is our precedence and inclusiveness. UGLOW affords everybody an opportunity to begin with us and welcome all variations since they’re supplies to gasoline our private progress.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve been assembly challenges whereas evolving round variations of every kind, however they’re probably the most extraordinary richness; inclusivity is our key to growing additional. I embrace the saying, “United we stand, divide we fall.” I remind my workers the identical each day by encouraging variety to create a novel identification for our firm.
Our enterprise ethics are straight, but our governance is small, making it simpler to handle any new instructions for the corporate.
We basically produce in China inside our services and are in command of all our processes and actions. Moreover, we’re working very intently with the federal government to maintain a rigorous act of conduct.
We’re as honest as doable with our employees, providing social and bonus schemes. All the things is considerably regulated in China these days. As UGLOW’s authorized consultant and proprietor, I need to adjust to the native authorities. They anticipate foreigners to have impeccable respect for labour legislation, waste administration, and enterprise ethics.
How do you outline sustainability? How modern are your imaginative and prescient and the measurement instruments you have got put in place there?
Sustainability is our technique of reaching a greater future with a extra acutely aware strategy. Consuming and producing with purpose is the place sustainability finds its roots. We should lead rightly and responsibly with actions to minimise our influence and traces inside our enterprise.
Our current collections have seen extra recycled materials in use. Since we’re primarily utilizing artificial as our uncooked materials, we attempt to minimise our influence at this degree; it’s one approach to quantify our influence simply.
You’re bullish in regards to the progress of the sports activities attire market — what numbers and analysis papers do you have got available which maintain your imaginative and prescient?
Sport has turn out to be much more current in our life recently because it has turn out to be very important that we keep lively.
Sports activities attire is an ever-growing market. There’s a robust demand for expertise, efficiency and performance. In case you are the primary to hit the market onerous with collaborations, recent colors and new expertise, you’ll succeed. The human psyche has a pure attraction to succeed in for the most effective; due to this fact, it seems to be to enhance its place by including a brand new and slight edge to make a distinction. The pandemic has put many individuals on a extra common schedule for bodily actions, which we instantly noticed in our figures. On the similar time, in 2020, everybody wished to stay match and wholesome. For some people, sports activities have greater than only a morning routine. It’s a faith.
Take a look at biking. Who would have thought it will have turn out to be the brand new golf? It’s a outstanding breakthrough on this area and a very good alternative for manufacturers like UGLOW to sharpen their presence with nice merchandise.
I like to seek out my sources from vogue traits specialists and operating insights. For the remaining, we take pleasure in creating our path and staying loyal to our philosophy: “be the primary, be quick, create uniqueness, be excellent.”
Are you able to identify a number of of the early backers of UGLOW?
An in depth circle of relations and buddies had been our early backers initially. I’m very pleased with our humble but daring begin.
I’ll always remember my first manufacturing supervisor being impressed by our ardour for our work and our innovation-driven thoughts. “Romain, don’t go into knowledgeable mode on 12 months 1,” to which I replied, “sure, we are going to!“
I’m very pleased with the place we’re right now. It’s a nice satisfaction to enhance folks’s sports activities expertise whereas growing the most effective and most snug gear. This vitality fuels me for extra innovation.
Jean Luc Diard, at present VP of innovation at Deckers corp, founding father of HOKA ONE ONE, and former CEO of Salomon, noticed UGLOW’s potential and instantly pushed us to develop extra till we lastly collaborated on a number of secret initiatives to be launched this 12 months.
You could have been specializing in innovating and standing out from day one. What was your greatest problem in manufacturing/conception/design?
Unquestionably UGLOW Well being is the challenge that has been probably the most difficult technically.
Such expertise is outstanding and didn’t exist till we made it. We’re embedding three applied sciences into one piece of attire: Well being magnets, far-infrared and pure silver yarn. It has been probably the most difficult challenge collectively for the reason that inception of UGLOW, with the Lively Lighting Gear developed in our early phases.
UGLOW Well being revolutionises well-being with the three applied sciences mixed. Lengthy-time utilization of the product probably improves blood circulation, eliminates free radicals, protects towards dangerous rays, and prevents micro organism/viruses from spreading from the silver yarn.
That is an thrilling challenge I might have prefer to get extra time to push additional.
UGLOW has been a worthwhile firm for the previous years. Are you aiming for an IPO quickly, and the place do you see the corporate in 5 years?
The business we’re concerned in might be probably the most aggressive and populated. Even with probably the most refined merchandise, it all the time takes extra to develop additional. Our natural progress is an important asset however all the time comes with limitations. We’re rising at a mean of 35-40 per cent yearly on-line and 50-65 per cent on BTB. UGLOW has been worthwhile three years after its inception and continues to be.
Such progress comes with the challenges of discovering extra labour and extra capital. We have to work on a number of issues to get stronger. I imagine the primary is to place collectively our groups in an identical location. We plan to have our headquarters in Europe two years from now.
To this point, we’re largely scattered and had been Covid proof, remotely working even earlier than Covid existed. Second, inevitably, we must always search additional to open our capital to strategic buyers or enterprise capitalists. I’ve been interested by it, and this 12 months, we’re actively engaged on discovering the precise companions.
In 5 years, I see UGLOW spreading extra and stabilising its distribution with its first small boutiques linked to our on-line retailer as a bridge between the digital and the bodily world. Each, to me, will not be dissociable and interdependent.
We’ve a stable plan to proceed our current distribution of the UGLOW vary and transfer additional and extra actively with a barely completely different vary referred to as UGS, which is already deploying slowly. We’re testing it in the meanwhile. There shall be a 3rd vary DTC with out an middleman based mostly direct mannequin seen from the biggest manufacturers. Our model and enterprise mannequin don’t have any limitations since we management the design, manufacturing, and distribution.
The place ought to our LUXUO readers go to purchase the UGLOW merchandise? Who’re your retailers? Do you additionally promote on-line?
We invite everybody to go to Key Energy Sport in Singapore, which has places in Paragon and Velocity. We’re additionally reachable on Lazada’s lazmall (@KEYPOWERSPORT). They’ll additionally discover our merchandise in Hong Kong at CAM2, Motion Panda, and others.
We even have our on-line retailer, which delivers the world if a product just isn’t accessible at a stockist.
What’s the most important high quality an entrepreneur ought to all the time have?
I all the time take pleasure in this query as a result of we develop new qualities whereas getting older, which brings me so as to add extra to the reply every time I outline what makes an entrepreneur.
Being an entrepreneur takes braveness, endurance, curiosity, persistence, ardour, love, concepts, motivation, and rigorousness. It’s not a dash however an ultramarathon; it’s the reverse of straightforward and certainty; you want robust nerves to stay lucid and calm.
In the end entrepreneurs are leaders with a substantial understanding of every part in an organization whereas additionally outfitted with extra freedom and creativity to steer the enterprise.
Entrepreneurship is actual and brutal within the meantime, but extraordinarily rewarding when you move sure crucial milestones. It’s life within the driver’s seat — you embrace all of the bumps and must not ever hand over in your goals.
My recommendation is to encompass your self with the precise folks and select high quality over amount, and you will want assist, a lot assist. I used to be lucky sufficient to have the precise folks round me. My primary supporter has been my fantastic spouse, who has all the time believed in me since day one, and he or she allowed me to develop and make sacrifices whereas accepting me leaving for days and weeks for work. I can’t thank her sufficient for it, or there wouldn’t be any UGLOW in some methods. An incredible household and buddies to assist are what you want first if you wish to develop and develop. I name it the core basis, and it’s crucial.
A robust group is important too, and nothing would have by no means been made proper with out their limitless assist.
Would you want to call a mentor who conjures up you in your day by day work?
I’ve a number of. The primary is Steve Jobs, and I like his quote: “The people who find themselves loopy sufficient to suppose they will change the world are those who do.” I can’t get sufficient of it because it helps me look additional into myself to seek out the vitality to maintain ongoing. I imagine it’s already 50 per cent of the job performed. Steve Jobs is the supply of inspiration, my digital mentor.
Invoice gates is a genius and stated this quote, “Your most sad prospects are your best supply of studying.” And, “Don’t examine your self with anybody on this world… if you happen to accomplish that, you might be insulting your self.” He’s one other digital mentor that conjures up me.
Final however not least, a detailed pal from the highest spheres of California. My pricey pal/mentor, Jean Luc Diard, I take pleasure in being round his knowledge and kindness. Our collaboration and connection have all the time helped me imagine extra in my initiatives throughout difficult instances. I do know Jean Luc has all the time saved an eye fixed on me and supplied nice items of recommendation.
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