Everyone has some kind of a fetish for that one thing that melts their heart every time you see it. It could be food, clothes or maybe even a pair of shoes., It is quite similar to what athletes or sports enthusiast feel when they see a candy store. Recently, we got in touch with Sagar Haria, head-eCommerce & Online Marketing, Outdoor Travel Gear to give us his opinion and a story behind the scenes when it comes to sports and adventure with a flavor of cycling.
- Behind the scenes: Outdoor Travel Gear was started by the older one of the Haria brothers, Jitesh. He initially started off with a sister company called ‘Wild Escapes’. During this time they used to take cycling trips around Mumbai as they had a tie up with BSA. Their passion for trekking, camping, water sports, climbing and travelling drove them to realize there was a shortage of outdoor gear in India which could suffice their needs for trips. Certified in Adventure Sports & Sports Recreation from Canada, Jitesh started a company under the name of ‘Smart Designs’ which was later transformed to “OUTDOOR TRAVEL GEAR”. The aim was to have different kinds of products related to adventure sports and travel under the same roof.We started with motorbiking, camping and hiking under the name of ‘SmartDesigns’. And that’s when Outdoor Travel Gear came into inception with a website in 2007-08. What more could the brothers ask for when it came to sharing quite the similar passion in an adventure. This interest drew them to research and develop more products which eventually helped them understand what the Indian market needs. During that period cycling existed in pockets and no one thought it could get so wild in the coming years.
- When did you be a part of Outdoor Travel Gear?
- I became a part of Outdoor Travel Gear in 2009. Before that, I used to freelance with Wild Escapes and Outdoor Travel Gear. Adventure and travel run in our family and I used to help around. Earlier it was three of us – Dipesh (our first cousin), Jitesh (elder brother) and I, who started off and now we have a lot more
like-minded people who have joined the endeavour.
- When you started off, where was outdoor travel gear and how is it today?
- Initially, our store and warehouse were in Wadala and it was difficult for our customers to locate us. The website was like a displayed website for people to view the products and reach us. We had a small office in Wadala. Slowly we moved on to acquire more working area close to our office and turned into our first. The three of us used to work and manage everything from sweeping, cleaning and arranging the store to attending to customers, updating the website and doing home deliveries. It is only since last year that we moved our flagship showroom to off Carter Road in Bandra. In the past two years, our staff strength has now increased to 15 members with warehouse facility and two more stores in Guhawati and Goa.
- Are you also an adventure fanatic?
- Studying was never on my agenda. I was in a boarding school isolated from the city at My school was located on a mountain with a river flowing at the
back. That’s how I was introduced to nature. I was fed up by the time I finished
junior college and in spite of getting admission in Ruia’s, I decided to do
correspondence and worked in a call center simultaneously. After I worked for
five months I quit and went to Uttarkashi to pursue a basic course in mountaineering. In the meanwhile, my brother had already started out with Outdoor Travel Gear. I would help my brother and work at summer camps in India, that’s when I got an opportunity to work at a summer camp, in the USA, for four months. I cleared my interview on Skype and taught the kids to play football amongst other sports. I also introduced the game of ‘kabaddi’ to them which they quite enjoyed and loved. I went on to work another four months the coming year as part of the high and low ropes department.
- What is the fun part about your job?
- From my experience of working in a call centre, I realized I could not sit in one place and work. I loved biking and so I used to do a major part of delivering giving me the freedom of exploring my own city. Moreover, I love interacting with customers over the counter which helps me understand the needs of the client from the customer’s point of view. Not only did I enjoy talking but also learning. All my knowledge has been gained through these interactions and it is engraved in my memory.
- Tell us something about Outdoor Travel Gear which not many people may know?
- Well this year is special as we have a reason to celebrate and memories to look back. Outdoor travel gear will be finishing ten years this June.
- Which product receives the highest amount of sales?
- For motor biking,
a lot of protective gear like jackets, saddlebags and gloves are purchased.
The most important and a must that every biker should have is the “Balaclava”. For cycling a lot of padded shorts, hydration, and lights and when it comes to
hiking sleeping bags, backpacks and shoes have been bestsellers.
- What is your website’s USP?
- Well, we are customer friendly and the website is as informative as possible. Speedy delivery is something that we want to start across India. We also want our
customers to understand what we are selling. Hence, the blog, which has reviews
of products, product information, tips & tricks, product videos, etc. that helps
in keeping our customer up-to-date and giving appropriate knowledge about our
- Are you planning on adding more product categories to your website?
- Yes! We are planning on introducing water sports and aero sports which we don’t have, yet. We also plan on adding more of cycling products. We are under the process of procuring racks, helmets, and lights soon.
- Considering cycling is a niche sport and market in India have you noticed any growth in acceptance of cycling in the country?
- Cycling has grown massively in India over the past few years. More cycling brands have also started to land in the Indian market. Decathlon has contributed a lot and has had a major impact to spread awareness not only when it comes to cycling but also other sports. I had a BMX when I was small and I used to go around my building or society, but now it’s not the same, cycling is more than what was there earlier. People buy bicycles to ride in the night or long distance. Many of them ride just for leisure.
- How much do cycling products contribute to your total sales on an annual basis?
- As most of the products we sell complement, each other cycling contributes around 10% to 20% of the yearly turnover.
- Are you planning on getting more cycling (Accessories) brands in India?
- No, we are not planning on importing any brands related to cycling but we will definitely be procuring brands which are already available in India.
- What are your future plans with Outdoor Travel Gear?
- We want to get into a multi-brand store, catering to as many adventure sports as possible under one roof. We want to make sure we don’t compromise on quality and provide a better customer service post sale which they plan on maintaining and give people helpful information in any sport they are.
- Sagar Haria
- Aditya Phadke (Monotonous & Co)
- Outdoor Travel Gear