- Shiv-Naresh was granted the apparel and sporting attire contract of athletes representing India at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
- The brand Shiv-Naresh is an Indian success story and a stiff competition for brands like Nike and Puma, in India.
- With time, Shiv-Naresh has become the go-to brand for many Indian athletes.
A few months ago, amid the uproar from a section of the Indian public over granting the apparel and sporting attire contract of the athletes representing India at Tokyo Olympics 2020 to a Chinese company, the Indian Olympic Association haphazardly resolved the contract and started looking for an Indian company. The deal was made with a West Delhi based sports apparel company Shiv-Naresh, the brand that has lately been giving stiff competition to the likes of Nike and Puma in the country.
How did Shiv-Naresh come into being? How did the company manage to bag the coveted honour of dressing the gallant athletes of the country?
The multi-crore apparel brand started over four decades ago in 1980, when the founder Mr RK Singh, an athlete, was looking for high quality yet affordable sportswear in Delhi. Unable to find what he was looking for, an idea came into his mind to start a sports apparel company. With the support of his wife Kusum, the idea soon came into the existence. In an interview, Singh was quoted as saying, “We have always believed in providing our sportspersons with the best-quality apparel. I have myself been a sportsperson. I started this company with my wife Kusum in 1980.”
Initially, he tailored the athlete-wear at home. With time, Singh increased the production by distributing the products to local athletes. RK Singh learned things over time and grew in this sector. In 1987, he set up a small factory-cum-shop and till 1991 operations were carried out from the same factory.
When demand increased, the factory was shifted to a larger place at Samaypur Badli on the outskirts of Delhi. After that, there was no looking back for Shiv-Naresh, as it became the go-to brand for athletes across sporting disciplines.
The story behind the name of the company is rather fascinating as well. The indigenous sporting company is named after Singh’s two sons—Shiv and Naresh. While the elder son, Shiv, looks after marketing and sales, the younger son Naresh is in charge of production.
Despite the athletes and common Indians donning the clothes of Shiv-Naresh for years, the company, surprisingly, always remained under the radar. Talking about not being too aggressive on the marketing front, Singh stated: “Yes, I agree that we haven’t been too aggressive on the marketing front but in the past we never felt that there was a need to do that. All the players and sports bodies are aware of our products. Players at the grassroots as well as international level use our products. So we never thought it necessary to advertise our products.”
However, the company is making the desired changes now. It has been associated with movies such as Mary Kom, Azhar, Budhia Singh and Soorma where the brand has been the principal apparel sponsor. The films have brought visibility to Shiv-Naresh and now the most successful Olympic tournament for India in its history is sure to invite further eyeballs, even from the International audience.
Speaking of visibility, Singh says, “Everyone knows us in the Indian sports fraternity. But the common man is not aware that a brand like Shiv-Naresh exists which manufactures quality apparel at affordable prices. We have been associated with Hindi movies as a sponsor for the past three years. We started with the Priyanka Chopra-starrer ‘Mary Kom’ and our latest association was with ‘Azhar’, for which we have got good mileage,”
Shiv-Naresh is an Indian success story that deserves to be lauded and cherished. While we wear foreign, overpriced brands, there is a need to support Indian businesses. Not many Indian companies can compete with the quality and scale of multinational foreign retailers, but Shiv-Naresh stands as a proud exception.