A man who works purely for passion, a man who is committed to the growth of the Fitness Industry, and a man, who bravely pursues his dreams with an innate zeal and determination ,is GAGAN SACHDEV.
In our series of interviewing the top 10 businessman of the industry, we have Gagan Sachdev in a candid conversation with Jinnie Gogia Chugh, where he talks about his beginning, his growth, the fitexpo, and future plans of expansions.
1. Firstly congrats for your achievements. Please give a brief about yourself ?
I am the Director of Bodyline Sports, a leading brand in Sports & Fitness Industry of India having multiple stores based out of Kolkata & Bhubaneswar. I’m primarily into business but more than that I am a fitness enthusiast who is always on the lookout for new trends & the latest technological advancements in the field of sports & fitness.
2. When did you start your journey ? Was it a choice to get into the Fitness Industry ?
My journey started around 26 years ago when I was working alongside my father. In those days we used to deal with sports goods, sports shoes, apparel2 etc. We started out of our house, gradually ended up with a shop cum warehouse in one of the most famous bazaars in Kolkata for sports goods in those days. From there I took the risk upon myself and started the brand Bodyline Sports in a prime location in the city.
It was never about choice or compulsion, it was just what we knew how to do then. I started enjoying and went with the flow. And in not much time I realized my passion for it.
3. You have been referred to as the KING OF THE EASTERN FITNESS INDUSTRY, and you completely justify this title. Please let us know how did you expand and influence the industry ?
Thank you for your kind words but I do not consider myself as a King of any kind. But I am very passionate about promoting fitness in the country and therefore I’m always thinking about ways to revolutionize the fitness landscape specially, in the eastern part of the country where I see untapped potential.
My small business had started growing with the amazing reception we were getting as people became more aware about Fitness equipments. I started setting up gyms one after another, and I’d always asked for Bigger Brands to help and support the gyms & fitness centers we were setting up, much more to my disappointment, none were ready to support us so easily. Over time, I took the decision of helping out by myself, taking more risks for the people to help them develop themselves and before I knew it, we had help set up over 2000 gyms & Fitness Studios.
As far as being influential is concerned, I guess honesty, passion & hard work speaks volumes and if the right people are listening, they are bound to get influenced by it.
4. You have been very supportive of the athletes community also, and the athletes speak very highly of your initiative for them. Pls elaborate on this ?
Every movement needs heroes… and the athletes are the heroes of the fitness movement.
I firmly believe that given the right kind of support our boys & girls can bring a lot of laurels to the country and inspire more youngsters to take up fitness seriously.
I believe all sports & fitness disciplines need support from Brands. The dedication, time, energy & expense required to do well in any sport is tremendous. So the industry must see them not just as customers but as Brand Ambassadors too.
In fact I would urge all the Brands from the Industry to come forward and support athletes to make sure that India starts leading in Fitness & Sports.
5. What has been your motivation for this journey ?
My goals are my motivation. My vision of seeing all individuals of our country care for themselves, for their health, for their well-being is my motivation.
I full heartedly support the slogan coined by the former Minister of Sports, Shri Rajya Vardhan Singh Rathore #HumFitTohIndiaFit. Fitness is the key word for the overall growth and well-being of our Nation, and I am ready to do every little bit that I can.
6. Who have been your strongest supports ?
It has been an exciting journey through these years. I can always say my strongest supports are my wife & children. There were countless times when I have had erratic work hours, and I didn’t get a lot of time to spend with them but whatever time I got, they made sure we had the best time as a family together. This helped me power through the bad days and celebrate the good days.
7. What have been the major hinderances and obstacles, and how did you overcome those ?
The biggest hindrance in Eastern part of India is the lack of Infrastructure. Even today when we are looking to hold such events like The Fitexpo, we face some major hinderances, as well as see a lot of drawbacks. In most Metros & Tier I cities, the scale of the event is easily achieved because the basic Infrastructure like equipped venues is very strong.
As for the industry of fitness & sports, it was the hindrance of people accepting the need of fitness equipment. Gradually with time & the busy lifestyles we started developing, the people saw the need and started demanding more & more.
It was just a matter of time before my hindrances were out of my way but some were to always remain and I’ve learnt to live with it, we can’t have it all you know!
8. FITEXPO today is one of the biggest fitness events in the country and is attended by all the big players, be it in sports nutrition brands, athletes, equipment dealers, or anyone with fitness industry. KUDOS for this milestone ?
Thank you, but this is just the beginning. Fitness movement has a long way to go in India. While we have made a good start a lot of work remains to be done. There’s always more & more that needs to be added, focused on & looked after. For example, this year we are also partnering up with the apex bodies of Nepal, Bhutan & Bangladesh’s trade bodies to motivate them to increase trade with India on the lines of sports & fitness.
With the love and interest that the people are showing towards this event, I feel it’s just a matter of time before many more milestones are achieved.
9. How and when did you get this idea of FITEXPO ?
For many years I have been attending such shows all over India and abroad in places like Germany, USA, etc. The passion, effort & dedication shown by competitors, exhibitors & even visitors in those shows were magnanimous. I was really inspired by it & wanted someone to have a show of that scale in Kolkata, for I believed that East India had a lot of untapped potential. I approached many people but they always rejected the idea of it.
I still decided not to give up, believed in myself, and trusted my decisions. I knew it would be tough, still I did not look back, and finally, in 2015 I decided that I must take initiative and get something done. By 2016, with a small group of people who showed great initiative to join me in this movement, we created The Fitexpo. Today I am proud to share that Fitexpo is making its mark on the national scene & indulging and influencing more people to live a better life.
10. What is the modus operandi, and aim of FITEXPO ?
Fitexpo is a collaborative event and is now shaping up as a movement. The aim is a fit & Healthy India where everyone from the age of 5 onwards is active & fit and therefore healthy. Health cannot be given by hospitals – it must come through good lifestyle. That is why we also include a section on Health food. Motto is “Inspiring Fitness” and that too for the masses.
11. Has your initiative of FITEXPO, influenced and had an impact on the north eastern side- kolkata and the neighboring areas ?
Definitely, in fact we have received tremendous appreciation from the North East & moreover are still getting amazing response from them. I get numerous calls from the neighboring states and now people are impatiently waiting for the 3rd Edition of the FitExpo India which is going to be held on the 6th, 7th & 8th December 2019.
12. What is the general state of fitness and gyms in this area ?
As far as the state of fitness is concerned, people are becoming much more conscious and concerned for themselves, they are investing in fitness trackers, applications that remind them to take care of themselves and so much more. It is a very great scenario but its only 10-20% of us who are like this. If I look at it, there is still a long way to go for the masses to incorporate this in their lifestyle.
Today there are almost 5 gyms in one locality with all targeting different segments of society. Everyday there are more & more gyms opening up. It’s not far away that gyms become the most accessible organizations in our localities.
13. You have had immense popularity , all over India, and are the face of fitness business in East India and the major circuits as well. How did you reach here, and what is the planning behind your ventures ?
As I have already said, this has taken me a lot of years and a dedicated passion. God has been very very kind, and I strive to learn everyday. I consider myself as a novice in everything, and am keen to learn and grow.
14. What are your future plans ?
My future plans are to take my brand into a national scene so I can impact many more lives. And for FitExpo, I plan to curate an event of the international standards so our country gets recognition for its efforts.
Other than that, my goal has always been to make the people aware and conscious about themselves and hence, make India fit.
15. You hold a lot of positions in the Industry, and command a lot of respect from the fellow community members. Please tell us about the various positions and titles held by us ?
By the grace of all our community members, I have always been loved and supported by many as I share the same feeling for all. Over time I have been designated a few positions, and I put in a lot of effort and care for the trust reposed in me.
CURRENT POSITIONS HELD :
• The Vice President of Calcutta Sports Dealers Association.
• Executive committee Member of FISFA & also the CWBTA.
It is has always been my responsibility & duty to ensure that the industry is constantly growing and the grievances reduce over time.
• Member of FACES (a Social Welfare Society) With help of such Associations & Community members; I have always tried to ensure the best for our own people.
I am always humbled by all this respect I have received.
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