Sweatshirts with logos of the alma mater serve as keepsakes for many students. Alma Mater, a venture by former students of Bishop Cotton Boys’ School, has transformed this demand into a commercial venture. The start-up supplies custom-made sweatshirts and T-shirts for outgoing students as well as alumni of leading schools and colleges in the city.
The brand was established in November 2009 by two high school friends, Varun Agarwal and Rohan M, who initially printed sweatshirts for their own school. “We first printed shirts with our school logo. But the response was so tremendous that we realised this could be a business opportunity,” Varun said.
The duo has already launched a website and supplies sweatshirts for schools like Baldwin Girls’ High School, Bishop Cotton Girls’ School, Sophia High School and Vidya Niketan School. The sweatshirts are priced at Rs525 a piece. The venture has also started supplying T-shirts for college fests.
Alma Mater also provides customised T-shirts. For the Baldwin girl students of the batch of 2010, the group offered T-shirts with the names of all the 200 girls in the shape of ‘2010’.
There is rare meticulousness that goes into the work done by Alma Mater. “We don’t compromise on the quality of our products. The chocolate-brown colour of the uniform of Sophia’s was difficult to locate. So, we did not accept orders until we found the right colour,” Varun said.
Advertising of the service is done over social networking sites like Orkut and Facebook. The brand now has more than 1,500 fans on Facebook. “I heard about the product from friends in college. The garment quality and quick delivery options have made it so popular,” said Akshata Chitlangia, a final-year student at RVCE.
“Schools and colleges do not always offer merchandise with their logos. It’s nice to have something that marks us out in the crowd. These products can be picked up online, so it is easy to get them. During a recent visit to the airport, I spotted at least five people wearing our school sweatshirts,” said Pranay Reddy, a former student of Bishop Cotton Boys’ High School.
New way to meet old friends, what?