How a gym abadá led this entrepreneur to create a fitness brand worth R$ 5 million
- July 17, 2022
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For Rayssa Thebaldi, seeing people work out in unattractive clothes was a business opportunity; today, the brand created by her earns BRL 5 million and exports to four countries
For entrepreneur Rayssa Thebaldi, the idea of going to the gym wearing ugly, outdated clothes was unacceptable. Comfort, for her, was also related to style.
Graduated in chemistry and with a long-standing career in a multinational mining company, she has always looked for something that could awaken some entrepreneurial acumen in her. In this scenario, the passion for fashion and the indignation with the cheesy looks — which includes the famous abadás — in the gyms served as a stimulus for her to create, in 2018, the Blue waterfitness clothing and accessories brand.
With some sheets in hand, she started to design, one by one, the pieces that would make up the collections of pants, shorts and gym shirts. “I always knew that there were dominant brands in this segment of sportswear, but it was still an opportune market that didn’t really care about style”, she says.
At the beginning, Thebaldi’s investment in the company was R$ 800, which included costs with the purchase of fabrics and payment to the seamstress hired to make the pieces. With a door-to-door sales logic, it offered parts to customers in the city of Vilha Velha, in Espírito Santo. “I walked up and down with my clothes bag,” she says.
A short time later, she realized that the best way to exhibit the pieces, which had as their basic premise the difference in design, would be with a website. So, she created an Instagram profile and her own e-commerce, which, little by little, began to yield good results. “My wish is that the clothes have a different touch, with more prints, colors and a younger touch”.
In the pandemic, the business took off. Even with the intermittent closure of gyms and sports centers, the search for gym clothes has grown. According to Thebaldi, it was an immediate response to interest in exercise at home. “I grew 400% in the pandemic, which led me to leave a small store and invest in my own distribution center”.
With the change, Água Azul now has its own factory and is in charge of all aspects of the operation, from the creation of parts and storage to delivery to the buyers. For this, a team of 25 employees make up the areas of marketing, design, legal and human resources. The production, still outsourced, is carried out by 17 seamstresses in the region.
Supported by a digital strategy that relies on a partnership with digital influencers who promote the brand on the internet and also with attention to the customer experience — Água Azul customers even receive personalized boxes — the company, four years after its foundation, earns BRL R$ 5 million and exports to four other countries.
According to the entrepreneur, the next step is to bring the production into the house as well. In addition, the objective is to expand the product mix, which already includes bags and caps, and also start selling shoes. “We see that there is a brand identity, because a consumer who wears the clothes also wears the bag and cap, for example. It is a chance to retain this customer,” she says.
Now, Thebaldi wants to take advantage of the company’s good moment to also format the business for a franchise model. “The goal is to have 1 million revenue per month this year, and certainly having a solid model like the franchise model will help”, he concludes.