Venture Tuesday: Sport your school’s funky sweatshirt and reconnect with friends!
Alma Mater is a start-up that supplies custom-made sweatshirts for outgoing students as well as alumni of leading schools and colleges in the city.
Now you can relive the good ol’ schools days by sporting your school’s sweatshirt and probably reconnect with friends too! How, you ask? Alma Mater is a venture started by Varun Agarwal and Rohn Malhotra, both ex-students of Bishop Cotton Boys' School.
Alma Mater aims to provide students and alumni of premier schools and colleges across India with a means of expressing their pride at being products of such reputed institutions. Established in July 2009 by Varun and Rohn who initially just wanted a sweatshirt with their schools name on it, Alma Mater has since been successful in partnering with some of the most prominent institutions across the country to provide their present and former students with apparel and other memorabilia to help them remember the good ol’ days.
Says Varun, “I’m basically a film-maker and when I came down from Mumbai, I met up with Rohn and we just got talking about our school days. We decided to get our cottonian sweatshirts done, which we wore it to the old boy day, the response was astounding, everybody wanted to know where we got it from, and we had people requesting us to get it for them, that’s when we realized this could be a business opportunity,”
The duo has a website and supplies sweatshirts for all the top schools in Bangalore like Baldwin Girls’ High School, Bishop Cotton Girls’ School, Sophia High School and VNS. The sweatshirts are priced at Rs525 and t-shirts at Rs. 295.
“We didn’t want to borrow money from our parents, so we’ve put in our savings. The initial investment wasn’t that huge but now to take it forward we need huge funds and we are working towards that. Our main aim is to cater to the top 50 schools in India. As of now, we’ve tied up with nine schools in Bangalore and three schools from other places,” Explains Varun.
Advertising for the brand is done through their facebook page, which has over 2000 fans now; Varun says “Facebook community is what helped us reach out to the target audience. The response so far has been tremendous; we’ve had people telling us how they spotted another cottonian wearing the sweatshirt and ended up reconnecting with them,”
Talking about the designing process, he says “We don’t compromise on the quality of our products. If we’ve achieved success it’s because of the attention we give to detailing. The designing is done by a design company called Exit and we make sure, we only deliver the best.”
Ever since its launch, the enterprise has received an overwhelming response from ex-students and schools across the country. “We’re getting so many requests from other school alumni to get their schools involved as well. Our main intention is that every student of these schools should be able to get a piece of their school, wherever they are. We choose schools based on their legacy and tradition.”
So, what are you waiting for? Sport your school’s sweatshirt and experience the joy of being able to reconnect with the school again!