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Following above you will read today success story of Mr. CK Ranganathan :
An underdog in his initial days, Mr. CK Ranganathan is the founder and CMD of CavinKare. The FMCG Company which pioneered the sachet revolution and mass marketing in rural areas has grown from an Rs 15,000 venture to an empire making a turnover of Rs 350 crores. Touted as a small ‘desi’ company having its base in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, it has given the multinationals of the FMCG world a run for their money.
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CavinKare manufactures and markets many products in the beauty products domain of deodorants, cosmetic products, shampoos, dyes, pickles under the renowned brand- Spinz, Fairever, Meera, Nyle, Karthika, Indica, Tex, Ruchi, Chinnis, Maa, and Cavins’s etc. both in domestic and international markets.
Ranganathan was born in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu. His father Chinni Krishnan, an agricultutralist was into pharmaceutical business. As a kid Ranganathan was more interested in his 500 pigeons than studies. He loved breeding tropical fish in improvised tanks, had 500 pigeons, and spent time with urchins in the family’s 10-acre land where they jumped into deep wells to swim for hours on end and played gilli-dunda.
He earned his pocket money out of pet business at that time. Perhaps, the entrepreneurial spirit showed its first streak in Ranganathan. But with a poor academic record, his father wanted him to do either do agriculture or start a business. While his siblings studied in English medium, he was put in a Tamil medium school. Due to this Ranganathan suffered from an inferiority complex.
Ranganathan learnt the first entrepreneurial lessons from his father, who has been his inspiration as well. The origin of the concept of sachets was triggered by Ranganathan’s father. He felt that liquid can be packed in sachets as well. When talcum powder was sold only in tin containers, he was the one who sold it in 100 gm, 50 gm and 20 gm packs. When Epsom salt came in 100 gm packets, he brought out salt sachets of as low as 5 gm.
The reason behind the ‘sachet concept’ was simple: to make it affordable to the poorest section of the society in order to inculcate hygiene and sanitation. He believed that whatever a rich man can enjoy, a poor man should afford. Twenty years down the line, Ranganathan and Chik Shampoo has made that dream a reality.
While pursuing his Bachelors in Chemistry his father passed away during the second year. Somehow Ranganathan grappled to complete his graduation. After completing his studies he joined the family business in 1982 run by his brothers, who had launched the Velvette Shampoo. But it wasn’t a smooth ride. Within eight to nine months he left the business as he questioned things and earned everyone’s displeasure by often dissenting in public.
After a short stint in the family business; Ranganathan set up the “Chik India” in 1983 with a meager investment of Rs. 15,000. The company was later renamed CavinKare Pvt. Ltd (CKPL) in 1998. The name “Cavinkare” was created to have a neutral appeal compared to the earlier name, “Beauty Cosmetics”. “Cavin” means beauty in Tamil and “care” in the brand name is spelt as Kare, The name had the initials C and K representing Ranganathan father’s name, Chinni Krishnan.
The Chik Shampoo, Ranganthan’s first venture also derived its name from his father. The product did not succeed immediately. In the first month only 20,000 sachets were sold but from the second year, it started making profits. When Chik entered the market, Velvette Shampoo was being marketed aggressively by Godrej.
To counter this Ranganathan launched a scheme which became extremely successful i.e. to exchange five sachets of any shampoo for a Chik Shampoo sachet, free. Later, the scheme was altered and one free Chik Shampoo sachet was given in lieu of five Chik Shampoo sachets only. Soon, consumers started asking for Chik sachets only. The sales went up from Rs 35,000 to Rs 12 lakh (Rs 1.2 million) a month. The market share increased and in 1992, it became the numero uno in South India. Multinational companies sold products in big bottles and not in sachets and they sold only from fancy stores. CavinKare went to the rural areas of South India where people hardly used shampoo.
With the passage of time, Ranganathan became acutely aware of his shortcomings. Being in business required him to be knowledgeable. He stopped reading all Tamil newspapers and magazines and switched to The Hindu. He could not understand anything and bought an English dictionary and every day, started teaching himself five new words. He started reading management books and listened to cassettes on things like human resource management at the age of 24.
His next move was to capture the herbal market product and thus Meera Herbal powder was launched. In six months, they had 95 per cent market share. The herbal powder is going to be relaunched in 2012 to grow at a higher rate by 40%.
Ranganathan wanted to cater to those who cannot afford (high priced) perfumes. Good perfumes came at a huge price. They were beyond the means of ordinary people. A Rs 10 pack Spinz was launched which proved successful
In 1997 fairness cream Fairever was launched and CavinKare became the second largest player in the market in fairness segment by intoducing saffron in the cream which is traditionally used to get a fair complexion. In six months, the sales galloped. This was followed by Indica hair dye. Two and a half years ago, Ruchi pickles in sachets were launched and now sell close to 5,000 tonnes of pickles per annum.
Ranganathan’s next is to tap the food market which is huge and will be concentrating on ethnic Indian foods. Over the years, CavinKare revolutionised, selling till the bottom of the pyramid and has become the largest brand in rural Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, etc. and is the number one in many other states as well.
The Company has pioneered the concept of 'Family Salons' in India with its specialist brands - Limelite, and Green Trends and hence started Trends In Vogue Pvt. Ltd a Group Company which has a clear-cut focus providing personal styling and beauty solutions to everyone in the family.
Ranganathan has never looked back in business because he has been very particular about paying income tax. He has been conferred the prestigious “Entrepreneur of the Year award” by the Economic Times in 2004. He has been elected as Chairman of Confederation of Indian Industry, Tamil Nadu State Council for the year 2009-10. He is the past President of Madras Management Association.
He is one of the founder-members of the Ability Foundation - an NGO working towards the rehabilitation of the disabled. He also instituted CAVINKARE ABILITY Awards to celebrate the exemplary spirit of rare breed of individuals who have risen above their physical limitations to display that attitude is everything.
An entrepreneur who is just as passionate about his brand and business as he is about his sanctuaries, Ranganathan is clearly, a ‘lambi race ka ghoda’ and a man of destiny. He has shown the world that it is possible to beat the multinationals even in the most difficult market of fast moving consumer goods.
As a person, Ranganathan is not tech savvy, but is familiar with computers and the Internet. In fact, he buys books on the Internet, and is a fan of www.amazon.com. He is into buying of management books and self-improvement books. For fun and relaxation he breeds some varieties of exotic fish, pigeons and love birds.
Gifted with intuitive business acumen and a talent for introducing profitable marketing strategies, which has been instrumental in increasing the market share of Cavinkare’s flagship brands Ranganathan’s motto is not be a job seeker, but to create jobs for others.
He says, “My dream for Cavinkare is to be a 5,000 crore company by 2012. We are looking at various avenues for further growth opportunities. We continue to scale professional heights day by day and this journey will be a continuous one. We are a socially responsible corporate concern who conducts our business in a straightforward manner. We aim to be a global player and would not like to restrict ourselves to India alone.”