Bringing Performance and Innovation to South East Asia: An Interview With Triple Co-Founders
Triple co-founders Michael Binger, Adrian Chai and Angelica Suiza, are set to inject South East Asia with some quality sporting apparel. Their company has been named exclusive distributor of Under Armour for its footwear, apparel and accessories in 9 countries across Southeast Asia.
The Under Armour brand itself has surpassed international sales of US$2 billion in 2013, making it a real heavy-hitter in the sporting apparel business.
With more than 40 years combined experience in the sports, apparel and fashion retail industry, we catch up with the 3 minds behind bringing the renowned international sports brand to the region.
Q: Let's get started by introducing yourself please. Who are you and what do you do in Triple?
Michael Binger(MB): Chief Executive Officer.
Adrian Chai (AC): Chief Marketing Officer, in charge of all brand marketing including digital and sports marketing.
Angelica Suiza (AS): Chief Product and eCommerce Officer.
Q: How did the 3 of you start Triple together?
MB: We were at the stage in our professional lives of being ready to launch our own business venture and we wanted to identify a brand that we believed in and a brand partner in search of assigning us the exclusive rights across Southeast Asia.
AC: We came together with the idea of bringing Under Armour into Southeast Asia. All of us have been involved in the sporting goods industry before, and had quite a good few years' of experience.
Upon successfully pitching for the brand, we formed Triple as an entity to represent all 3 of us to bring in Under Armour's exclusive distribution through traditional retail and e-commerce across the region.
Q: Under Armour currently has a modest, but loyal following in Singapore. Why did Triple decide to bring in the Under Armour brand, and why now?
We realized that there were not many brands with the kind of potential and following that Under Armour has garnered over the years. While the brand has a lot of traction in the US, who is currently the biggest sporting goods market in the world and is the trendsetter globally for sportswear, it has not made its entry into the region, till now.
Looking at the sports industry in the region, we could see the huge potential of this brand in our SEA markets and the ability for us to propel this brand to success.
We see that consumers are looking for alternatives and Under Armour with its focus on innovation and performance has the potential to make inroads to athletes and active sports people in Southeast Asia.
From there we have created a strong and credible plan to launch and propel Under Armour; a plan and vision that is shared cohesively with Under Armour.
Q: Do any of you play any sports yourselves?
AC: Running, Swimming, Squash and Golf.
AS: Running and Yoga.
MB: Product fit and function. For example, it needs to keep me dry when it's hot and it needs to keep me warm when it's cold! In terms of footwear, my shoes need to be light and breathable.
AC: It has to be comfortable and definitely must look good. Under Armour with its technical fabrication and great cutting is a great fit to what I look for.
AS: Comfort and protection.
Q: The first Under Armour retail store will be opening in Singapore and Philippines. Why did you choose these 2 countries for your Southeast Asian expansion?
Our headquarters for Triple is in Singapore and it is where the 3 of us are based. It is also our home turf, and currently the leading market for the region so it naturally became the city where we wanted to first launch Under Armour.
The inclusion of Philippines first stemmed from the fact that the Philippine community is very strongly attached to the American culture and also the strong partnership that we have with retailers in that country. As such, co-launching the brand in Singapore and Manila was an obvious choice to us.
Both retail stores will open mid to end of May. The first Singapore store will be located in Orchard Gateway, a new mall that is situated in the prime Orchard Road shopping district.
In Manila, we will open in the exclusive Bonifacio High Street. Both locations are prime retail locations for Under Armour to gain traction with local consumers and sport enthusiasts.
Q: Apart from branded retail stores, what other ways will we see the Under Armour brand?
MB: You will also find Under Armour in specialist running, golf and basketball stores in the initial launch period. We are also intending to enter into the shop-in-shop format at selected department stores that cater to the consumers of Under Armour.
Specifically, we will be in iRun, Hoops Factory and Golf House in Singapore and Titan in the Philippines. In addition, we will seamlessly integrate e-commerce into the offering toward the later part of the year to cater to all markets across Southeast Asia.
You heard it first from RunSociety: Under Armour's first retail stores will open later this month in the new Orchard Gateway mall in Singapore, as well as Bonifacio High Street in Metro Manila, Philippines.