One of the fastest growing sports performance brands in the world, Under Armour, has caught the attention of Asian consumers lately, where it is holding its own against bigger and more established sportswear brands.
The American brand was brought in by Triple, a Singapore-based sports and lifestyle retailer established in 2013. It holds the exclusive distribution rights for Under Armour across South-east Asia under its subsidiary, UA Sports (SEA), which initially launched in Singapore and the Philippines.
Last year, the company earned $120 million in revenue - a significant increase from $8 million in 2014. Its staff strength has grown too - from a team of three to the current 400 employees.
Mr Michael Binger, the chief executive officer of Triple and UA Sports (SEA), credits its rapid success to a winning combination of increased speed to market, and the core values of being customer-focused, results-oriented and leading with integrity and innovation.
Given the unpredictable nature of the sports apparel business, achieving growth is not without its set of challenges.
But the company's shrewd and pragmatic approach towards marketing the brand has helped to steady it through some tough times in the past four years.
Adds Mr Binger: "We have a very balanced portfolio across distribution channels and geographies. This helps to balance out the ups and downs across the business. In other words, we are not solely reliant on the health of the retail business in Singapore but are well diversified beyond our shores."
Today, UA Sports (SEA)'s efforts have given Under Armour a strong presence in the region's activewear market, successfully branching out to all of South-east Asian markets.
In April 2018, Triple and UA Sports (SEA) each won a coveted award at the Singapore 1000: The Singapore SME 1000 Sales/Turnover Growth Excellence Award and Singapore SME 1000 Net Profit Growth Excellence Award respectively.
The Singapore 1000 is an annual award and ranking guide of the top 1,000 companies and small and medium-sized enterprises in Singapore.
Triple and UA Sports are not content to rest on their laurels. Mr Binger shares that the success of the first phase of the business has only served to propel Under Armour forward to realise its goal of becoming the leading retailer for activewear in the region.
He aims to look for new vendors and partners to help improve UA Sports (SEA) efficiency and workflow to continue on its trajectory of achieving a percentage growth in the mid-to-high-teens over the next few years.
He adds: "Our definition of success is to meet UA Sports (SEA)'s targets financially and in terms of soft goals. Success also encompasses building the right team and culture to have sustainable long-term growth."
In its next expansion phase, the company plans to move beyond the capital cities of each market it already has a presence in, and will be looking at various emerging tier-two locations where the population has seen a shift in lifestyles, and where the demand for sports apparel and footwear is growing.