Two childhood friends shared passion for fitness was officially transformed into a commercial venture beginning November 2016, as both Afif Rahman and Young Tet Wee cemented their fate as the proud co-founders of Repathlete, a home-grown sports brand that carries huge ambition and goals.
According to the founders, Repathlete’s main mission as a brand is to offer premium sports apparel and well-fitted products for the active, across all domains of fitness in the region (ASEAN) and globally.
Today, Repathlete stands as the first local sports brand that is both designed and manufactured locally. It is also modernly equipped with an e-commerce website address www.repathlete.com.
Speaking to the New Brunei Daily, co-founder Afif Rahman explained the brand’s meaning in detail, “The ‘REP’ in Repathlete is an abbreviation of ‘Represent, Excel, and Pursue’”.
“When you are wearing a Repathlete product, you are representing a greater ambition. You want to excel in it, and you are driven to pursue your goals. That’s what it means for Repathlete.”
Afif also mentioned that being one of the few local sports brands in the market has tremendously helped the company to achieve notable market growth so far.
Asked regarding the influence of cross-fit and other fitness-related gyms opening in Brunei, Afif replied “I feel that fitness or exercising in general will continue to be a necessity, so there will always be a customer for Repathlete. So, it’s a good market to be in, because, although styles may change, there will always be a market over the different generations.”
The other co-founder, Young Tet Wee, told NBD that their aim is to merge sportswear, comfort-wear, and everyday clothing into one. “It’s something that you can wear to go out or to head to the gym in. Or perhaps to do other sports. It’s very much keeping up with the trend of ‘athleisure’”.
“Our branding is very minimal. It’s not loud, but it’s obvious that it’s from us. That’s the distinct nature that we want to be perceived and known for.”
Both owners explained that Repathlete is a sports brand that is ‘created and designed for everyone’. Repathlete maintains a strict compliance to their integrity of providing well-fitted premium clothing for all consumers.
On the brand’s marketing strategy, the co-founders explained to NBD how the both of them learned to approach potential partners with patience, persistence, and an open attitude to facing rejection.
The owners found a number of suitable partners who responded positively to their proposal. Afif and Tet Wee told NBD, “The ones who accepted are companies and people who share similar principles and are those whose direction is aligned with where Repathlete is heading towards.”
Repathlete now has a number of endorsed athletes, both locally and internationally, whom they are keen to support. “These athletes have their own following, so as they grow, so do we.”
Recently, Repathlete managed to successfully collaborate with McDonald’s Brunei. Although some may question their decision of partnering with a global fast-food chain, given Repathlete’s message of health and fitness, ultimately Repathlete found that this was an unmissable opportunity.
“McDonald’s is a globally-known brand. Everywhere you go in the world, everyone knows McDonald’s. This was our goal in the collaboration: to learn about branding, and how to become a household name. We hope to apply what we have learned from McDonald’s and work towards achieving our long-term goal of growing this local company into a global brand in the future.”
On entrepreneurship, Tet Wee advised the youth to “turn passion into business”. However, he also cautioned to “take the time for due diligence and market research, and to be sufficiently prepared in every aspect of running a business”.
“When we first started out, it was just an idea. There were no building blocks in place yet. It took about eight months just to prepare and work on the idea, and to secure the foundation of the company.”
They both agreed that Repathlete has only become what it is today by learning from mistakes and overcoming obstacles. “Our mistakes have enabled us to pin-point and learn on which areas to improve on to ensure the quality of our products.”
“Starting a business may be daunting for some. However, we must not be frozen by overthinking too much. Rather, it is important that we just start making things move, and implementing ideas. It may take a long time to see results, but trust and believe that everything will eventually come together. Don’t give up after a small hurdle, because if you keep working, insya’Allah, the results will come.”
Asked about future plans and directions, the co-founders said that they are constantly challenging themselves on how they can improve with their brand designs, fitting, and fabric, in order to compete with big-name companies globally.
The founders also hinted at new lines that are planned to be released soon, and with exciting collaborations in the future.
“Hopefully, we can make things happen,” the duo said.
New Brunei Daily