Jimmy poh’s athletic form made him the perfect model for the Kydra T-shirt he had on when we met. During our chat, the brand’s co-founder explained how the name was derived – a portmanteau of ‘Kai’, meaning victory, from his Chinese name, and Hydra, the Greek mythological beast that sprouted two new heads whenever one was cut off. It is a name that speaks of resilience and triumph over setbacks; it was evident that the 28-year-old entrepreneur had a mindset that set him up for success.
True enough, Kydra quickly captured the hearts of savvy sporty millennials right from its launch two years ago. Social media helped its course but it was the quality of the products that sealed the deal.
Is it true that Kydra raked $100,000 in revenue within the year it was launched?
Yes. Back then, it felt like a huge sum for me and Dingyao, Kydra’s other co-founder. Then we realised we could be making more. I have to emphasise, though, that this isn’t the absolute aim of Kydra.
What is the aim of Kydra then?
It is to fill the gap between active wear and functionality for everyone.
Why is that important?
Both Dingyao and I work out regularly at the gym. I also love playing tennis, having played competitively in secondary school, polytechnic and university. What we’ve found is that the active wear in the market has plenty of room for improvement. For instance, Dingyao’s phone slipped out of his pocket in the gym, which caused it to shatter. We realised that there was hardly any active wear that allowed us to keep our valuables close and safe during sports.
We talked to sporty friends and found they had the same issues with their active wear. They shared their wish lists and I realised that many people from all walks of life have problem-solving minds, but not everyone goes forth to actually fix the things they complain about. This prompted us to design the Kydra Flex Shorts, which has earned its spot in being one our bestsellers.
Back to the shorts. Would it not be uncomfortable to have your keys and phone jingling in your pocket when you engage in vigorous activities?
I have in fact played a full five sets of competitive tennis wearing a prototype of the Kydra Flex Shorts, with my phone, wallet and keys in the zippered pockets. And it didn’t hinder my performance at all. That was when I realised that this design had a chance of doing well.
It looks like it did really well. You helped it along by launching a collection with an influencer recently too, didn’t you? How did it go?
Truth be told, we wanted to experiment with influencer marketing. We’re lucky it paid off.
Do you seek advice when it comes to design?
We generally listen to people with an active lifestyle, starting with our team, to identify what the needs are. We discuss ideas and make prototypes from them, then we actively test-drive every prototype while we go about our activities and take notes for improvement. At the moment, Kydra isn’t a hard-core sportswear brand where you can expect compression tights and such. It’s made for everyday people who want to look decent on and off his or her workout while benefitting from functional design.
What can we expect next?
We will be focusing on updating our basic pieces, like weaving high-tech materials into our sleek designs. Of course, we’ll keep functionality and comfort our core values so we don’t lose sight on what Kydra is about. This will be our signature collection and we’re aiming to launch it in August. Apart from that, we will explore producing sports-centric designs by next year.
Available at Design Orchard and Uppercut Boxing.
More information at www.kydra.co