Case Studies - Brand & Marketing

How BlissClub is Filling the Vacuum for Women’s Activewear in India

Sharp consumer insights and a community-centric approach have helped the activewear brand grow 33x in 12 months to reach 70 crores in revenue.

Group of women different body shapes and sizes sitting and laughing while wearing sports clothes

In This Case Study

Finding the white space

Product: For women, by women

Brand: Celebrating movement, body-positive, inclusive

Community: Always core

What’s Next: A wellness app

Finding the White Space

Minu Margeret, the founder of BlissClub, recalls wearing men’s shorts to her early morning Ultimate Frisbee practice because “Knee-length shorts were not available for women and in India, going out in really short shorts is a problem.” 

She also noticed the narrow narratives around fitness in India. The focus was on the goal (“lose x kilos, get rock-hard abs”) rather than the joy of movement. Before and after pictures proliferated and only lean, toned models featured in product photos.

Brands were focused on gym workouts or marathon training, whereas many Indian women were just ‘hacking’ activity into their daily lifestyle. BlissClub was founded to address this audience of women on the move. 

Starting with leggings, today the brand has expanded to shorts, sports bras, tops, tees, and accessories. The pricing of most BlissClub products means they compete with international brands like Uniqlo or Marks & Spencer. Currently the brand sells online only, through its own site and marketplaces. However, a physical experience centre will come up soon in Bangalore.

Three women in activewear
BlissClub has expanded its product range to and now includes bottomwear, sports bras, Tshirts and accessories

BlissClub raised a Series A of US$18 million in May 2022, after a reported 33x growth in one year between May 2021 and May 2022, taking its revenue to Rs.70 crores.

We talked to the team to understand the brand and design factors that have powered their success so far.

Products for Women, By Women

Most mainstream activewear brands are men-first, with women’s lines taking second place. BlissClub focused hard on differentiating their product through details that addressed the needs of active women.

The brand’s first launch was ‘The Ultimate Leggings,’ with four pockets that could carry essentials like a phone, headphones or keys. It was an instant success – consolidating BlissClub’s image as a brand that understood today’s woman.

Woman wearing blue sports top and shorts with 3 pockets
BlissClub differentiates their product through intelligent details

BlissClub’s communication constantly reinforces this positioning. The recently-launched sports bras, for instance, are promoted as ‘boob-sweat wicking.’ Leggings with drawstrings — the brand’s largest selling category — offer comfort despite “bloating, heavy lunches, or that time of the month.”

Woman wearing workout clothes and pulling drawstrings of her track pants. Text says Why do you need em
BlissClub consistently reinforces a deep understanding of its target audience

Unlike a typical fashion business, BlissClub does not have a seasonal policy and their entire range stands at just 25 products currently.

Inclusive, Body-positive Imagery

Photoshoots are done with women from the BlissClub community, not professional models.

The brand has a shape-inclusive and neutral modelling policy to feature all kinds of bodies and break stigmas around body image. The team’s take: “We want authenticity. We want customers to come to our website and think, hey, she looks like me!”

Image of woman in workout gear with rolls of fat on her stomach
BlissClub features regular women and uses body-positive imagery

This policy also extends to mindful vocabulary choices like avoiding the use of the word ‘perfect’ in relation to bodies, workouts or diet.

Community at the Core

In the early days of launching the brand, founder Minu Margeret created an Instagram page to “talk about inclusive fitness for everyday women.” The page featured active women of all sizes, personal stories of fitness, body positivity reminders and live workout sessions.

As the page following grew, Margeret took a moonshot: An attempt to set a Limca record for the largest online yoga class for women.

“As a 3-month old company, our resources were limited and given the fact that we were all at home, it was obvious for us to celebrate this women-centric form of movement in the largest possible way. So we reached out to as many startups, friends and family, and got over 3000 women to attend a live Yoga session together, one of the very first virtual events. It was so important for us to be adaptable and get our growing community to also discover the new normal of enjoying time to move – and a key juncture for us to establish what’s core to our DNA – we are not just for the gymmers and runners, but all the movers.”

Minu Margeret, Founder, BlissClub

Today, the brand’s Instagram page has 140,000+ followers. In line with most D2C brands, the team tracks reach and shares rather than likes. The brand also has a closed Facebook group where women set personal activity goals, share updates, and participate in 21-day challenges hosted by the brand. “We focus on trying to get fit rather than end goals or fitness ideals,” says Sneha Subramanyam, Director of Brand, BlissClub.

This emphasis on community is critical for BlissClub. “No matter how slow or expensive community nurturing feels in the short term, we are up for it,” says Anoo Bhuyan, Creative Manager, BlissClub.

7 girls wearing workout clothes and standing with hands on hips. Body positive image
BlissClub will soon launch a wellness app as the next step in their community-building efforts

Regular email surveys and social media polls allow customers to weigh in on details in product design (“Pockets on the left or the right?” “Which of these do you like: dusty or fuchsia pink?”)

This close connection with the community also yields valuable insights – like the fact that standard sizing rarely fits all. The brand’s next big launch is a range of bamboo fabric products tailored to fit different body types: apple, pear, rectangle, hourglass, etc. This, the team says, will be a first in India.

What’s Next: A Wellness App

BlissClub has ambitious plans to launch an app shortly.

Says Subramanyam, “Beyond shopping, the app will be one of the levers to expand our wellness ecosystem that’s aligned to our vision. There will be experiences such as a trainer marketplace (we’ve pulled this off successfully in our FB group before), live sessions, sub-channels based on special interests, activities, cities, and much more.”

BlissClub has definitely found a white space in the Indian apparel market. However, hardly any Indian product brand has managed to create and engage a community for long, although there are global success stories like Canadian athleisure brand, LuluLemon. Perhaps BlissClub’s keen understanding of their target audience will make them the exception. Watch this space as we track their journey!

6 Comments

  1. Agree. Big white space. Go colours is good example of how a niche can become IPO gold. Subscribed 14ox. I feel Bliss club can do same with good execution.

  2. Love how you combine business brand consumer design – everything into one easy read. Well done THC. These brave emerging brands need a shoutout. Bahut ho gaya Nike

  3. Loved reading this 🙂 Love their inclusive tone. I have seen Blissclub’s promotion on nearly every influencer’s page but their praise about the product is most genuine.

  4. sounds great as far as a new company and that too focussing on the segment which has till now, not gained much traction in investor community. But times are changing and based in the innovation and start up capital in India, if this reaches a trigger point then, it will definitely attract big money. Market was always there.
    My suggestion to the Blissclub would be not to diversify too much, which would lead to distraction and also dilution of brand. Be focused, try to be a Page Industries in women segment and then engage in brand extension. Then only you can aim at Dalal Street.
    Thanks. All the best. You are doing a fabulous job. Continue with it.
    Prabhakar
    diginews4u

    1. 100% good advice. Also as Kailash says – be like Go Colours. Focus on building distribution only. This app and all is only for VCs who will run away in bad times. If you can reach 100 cr only online, you will easily reach 2000cr with good distribution network. Kudos.

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