Gurgaon, India (PressExposure) September 17, 2009 -- Times Private Treaties funded Royal Hygiene, a new entrant in the feminine hygiene products range, has attained a number three position in the market by registering a growth of 225% in sales last year. With last 4 months run it is pegged to cross Rs. 50 crores in current financial year.
Launched in 2004, in its initial years the company relied on word-of-mouth publicity and let their products do the talking. However, the paradigm shift came in May 2008 with their alliance with Times Private Treaties. Speaking on the alliance, Rakesh Kaul, CEO of Royal Hygiene said, "Ever since the alliance with the Times Group, there has been a substantial increase in the Top of the Mind recall over the past one year."
Kaul further added, "We are giving our best fight to the existing players by offering best value products to our customers. There are about 16 companies in the fray in our industry and we have left behind the world famous Kotex brand of Kimberley Clark and are currently the third largest in the industry behind J&J and P&G. We also incidentally happen to be the largest range manufacturers in the industry and the only manufacturers of panty liners".
Earlier working with Polymers (Third country exports) & Furniture Franchising in Toronto, Kaul left his cushioned job to return to India and start Royal Hygiene. He says that the developed world didn't seem too promising for doing something innovative. India offered bigger opportunities from entrepreneur's perspective.
But what really rallied Kaul's entrepreneurial instincts was the sheer size of the Indian market's potential. "Feminine hygiene products had and continue to have a penetration of less than 5% in India with deplorable conditions prevailing in rural markets and women below poverty line," he muses. "The data we shared at that time of consumption levels in other developing and developed countries provided us the insight of how big an opportunity it was in India. Imagine our next door neighbor China with almost the same female population, has 1300 manufactures making sanitary napkins with market size of over 4 billion USD compared to 4 manufacturers in India doing a business of less than a quarter billion USD."
He also realized that his fledgling company would have to claw its way into the fight against entrenched competitors who also had very deep pockets. What he did not anticipate fully was the spoiler effect of inefficient infra-structure. "Apart from the usual teething troubles like having inadequate finance and a limited distribution network, we also had to rehabilitate ourselves all over again when last year we had to shift our entire manufacturing facility from Mumbai to Gujarat owing to rampant load shedding, poor infrastructure and exorbitant real estate prices," he explains.
The initial turbulence only toughened Kaul's resolve. "We stuck to our original gambit of taking the quality route and offering product attributes that our competition lacked," he explains. For all that recent success, dominating market share remains a "clear and present" objective for Kaul. "We have given ourselves a time frame of four years from now to achieve that, with the help of course of our strategic partners," he avers.
What about the role played by Lady Luck? Like the choice of the actor Frieda Pinto of Slumdog Millionaire fame, to model? "I don't know whether we have been lucky for her or she is," Kaul ruminates. "In fact her first all India appearance in press was by virtue of our half page ad in the TOI. Slumdog happened much later. On a more reflective note, I have profound belief in divine dispensation. You can even call me a fatalist. Coincidences keep happening. I strongly believe in dreaming. The larger your dream better is the outcome."