From a young age, Ansar enjoyed riding fancy motorcycles and hanging out in the mechanical shop in the neighborhood of his hometown of Kailasapuram, in the Trichy district of Tamil Nadu.
“The mechanic was a hero to me. While he made us do all the odd jobs in his garage, I had to ride a bike, ”says Ansar, founder of Biking Brotherhood, a Chennai-based company with a turnover of 10 crore rupees that manufactures equipment. High quality riding jackets, boots, gloves and racing suits for adventurous bikers.
|Ansar launched Biking Brotherhood, a brand of riding equipment, with two used sewing machines and two tailors (Photos: Special arrangement)|
How a son of a welder with a passion for motorcycles not only started his own business but also became the owner of several high-end motorcycles such as KTM, Tiger Triumph, Hayabusa and finally a BMW R1200 GS, worth Rs 20 lakh in 2019 makes an inspiring story.
Ansar, 44, had a difficult childhood as his father, the only wage earner in the family, made barely 750 rupees a month as a welder. He was the last of four siblings and was born seven years after the third child.
“I never had to wear new clothes in my youth. I wore the used clothes of my older brothers, ”says Ansar, whose family moved to Chennai when he was 10 years old after his father went to work in Saudi Arabia.
In Chennai too, Ansar spent time in mechanical workshops. “I learned the nuances of cycling and running through these mechanisms and was a regular on the night street racing circuit in Chennai in the 90s,” says Ansar.
Chennai has the culture of young bikers who run high octane races overnight on lonely stretches, although law enforcement does not appreciate it.
Ansar studied at a school run by YWCA until the seventh grade in Kailasapuram. In Chennai, he joined MGR Adarsh School where he studied up to grade 12, then graduated in Electrical Engineering from PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore.
|Ansar manufactures jackets at lower prices than international brands, but adapted to Indian conditions and with an emphasis on safety and comfort|
In 1998, he got a job in a construction company in Chennai for a monthly salary of Rs 2,500 and worked there for three years. In December 2001, he quit his job and opened a store to sell branded T-shirts with his savings of Rs 50,000 and around Rs 2.5 lakh which he had borrowed from his friends.
“The store has done well. Since I had borrowed money from friends, I was in a hurry to return it. I was making a decent profit of 8,000 to 10,000 rupees per month, so I started to return the money, ”he says.
“Within a year, I was out of debt, but I had no money to buy new stocks. I learned a lesson when you should put your profits back into your business to keep it growing. ”
At that time, the sale of mobile SIM cards was picking up and Ansar partnered with Airtel, Hutch and Aircel to sell their prepaid cards in its store. For each sale of a postpaid card, he received 1,000 rupees. Ansar sold at least one postpaid SIM card every day.
“When all the other neighborhood stores started selling SIM cards, in less than a year, even this business lost its shine,” he shares.
In 2004 he joined Sutherland, a BPO, for a salary of Rs 20,000 thanks to a friend’s recommendation and helped set up their operations in Chennai.
Later he joined INSYS Inc, then joined Xoriant, a software company, in Pune in 2011 as assistant vice president with an annual salary of Rs 30 lakh.
From Xoriant, Ansar joined 8KMiles in 2013 as Vice President in Chennai in charge of recruiting their IT staff.
During his stints at various IT companies, Ansar continued to nurture his passion for bicycles.
The first bike he bought was a Yamaha RX 100 when he was a teenager. His first superbike was a KTM costing Rs 2 lakh which he bought in 2011 while in Pune.
|In its early days, Biking Brotherhood repaired the riding gear of bikers who sent their belongings from across the country.|
“Despite having a Scorpio jeep, I made frequent trips to Mumbai for work in my KTM, and I also made several trips to Chennai as well as from Pune covering a distance of around 1200 km in 12 am to 1 pm, solo, ”says Ansar.
Ansar was instrumental in founding ‘Dukes of Pune’, the first organized group of such superbike racers in 2012.
When Ansar launched Dukes of Pune, Alpinestars, an international brand of motorsport clothing and protective equipment, was the only store where bikers could purchase their riding equipment in Pune.
Their products were expensive. A jacket would cost around Rs 25,000. It was then that he had the idea of making affordable jackets.
With the urge to start Biking Brotherhood, Ansar, while still in Pune, bought two used sewing machines and a hemming machine in Chennai at half the price in mid-2013 for one lakh rupee. to experiment with his idea.
He hired two tailors, one of whom was a shoemaker who had mended biker leather jackets in Chennai for many years.
Initially, they undertook repair work on jackets. Ansar began posting before and after photos of repaired jackets on his Facebook page. Runners from all over the country were sending their jackets via India Post to Chennai.
While the postage for sending and receiving would be around Rs. 250, Ansar was charging around Rs 400 to 500 for repairs.
“When we changed the whole panel of a jacket, like the whole sleeve, collar or cuff in the same color, the repaired jackets looked like new and the rider saved time and money instead. than buying a new one. one, ”he said.
“Today, we are also trusted manufacturing partners for other brands of riding apparel. We manufacture protective gear for motorcycle manufacturers like Bajaj, TVS Racing, KTM and Yamaha.
Ansar claims that Biking Brotherhood is the only Indian riding equipment company to have its own full-fledged manufacturing unit, while also exporting its products to Europe, South America and Central Africa.
|Biking Brotherhood store is located in Mount Road, Chennai|
Ansar started Biking Brotherhood from a 600 square foot space on the ground floor of his home in Korattur, Chennai. Initially, he traveled from Pune to Chennai every other weekend to supervise the repair work.
In 2014, he left 8KMiles to devote himself full time to his business. He also established a 500 square foot flagship store in Mount Road with an investment of Rs 25 lakh.
Ansar started making jackets, gloves and boots. He first made orange colored jackets complementing the color of the KTM bikes.
However, they only sold four to five jackets per month initially. So, in 2015, he decided to close the business. But his wife Ayesha suggested they set up a sale during Diwali. It turned out to be a game changer.
“I uploaded the entire 50% off product line to my personal Facebook page. Within minutes of posting, I was inundated with requests of varying sizes, ”he says.
“In two weeks more than 80% of the inventory was sold and we got around Rs 8 lakh on our account.” Since then, they have grown from year to year.
The jackets sold by Biking Brotherhood are in the price range of Rs 6,000 and Rs 10,000.
|An avid biker, Ansar was instrumental in creating a group of superbike riders in Pune in 2012|
Today the company sells over 60 products and around 120 dealers sell them across India. Riding equipment is also sold on the company’s website and other e-commerce platforms, including Amazon and Flipkart.
Biking Brotherhood operates from a 6,000 square foot building in Korattur with 22 people, including a team of master bosses and tailors.
Ansar lives in Chennai with his mother and wife Ayesha, while his father is no longer. All of Ansar’s siblings are based in Saudi Arabia.