From selling door to door detergent to ‘Sabki Pasand Nirma’, Inspiring Success Story of Karsanbhai Patel
The well known detergent Nirma was started by Karsanbhai in 1969. This was the time when India’s domestic detergent market had very few players, mainly multi national companies, which targeted India’s affluent. At that time detergents were not affordable for middle class and poor people. In the beginning Karsanbhai used to sold detergent powder from door to door at Rs 3 per Kg. Karsanbhai used to make this detergent powder in the backyard of his house in Khokra near Ahmedabad.
Karsanbhai Patel chose this name Nirma as he lost her daughter Nirma in a car accident. He has been nurturing this brand like his own daughter. Today, Sabki Pasand Nirma has an overall 20% market share in soap cakes and about 35% in detergents. In 80s when Nirma was struggling with sales, Karsanbhai came out with a brilliant plan. He collected all his due credits. He followed a massive advertising campaign in which his daughter in a white frock singling the famous Nirma jingle.
Customers came to stores, but they have to return empty handed as the demand for Nirma peaked and supply declined. Soon after Karsanbhai overwhelmed the market with his products, leading to massive sales. That year, Nirma became the most sold detergent. Nirma left back their nearest rival – Surf of Hindustan Unilever. In the same year Karsanbhai bought the LafargeHolcim’s cement business for $1.4 billion. Again Karsanbhai proved his entrepreneurial appetite. With the Karsanbhai entrepreneurial skills, Nirma became a huge success.
Karsanbhai proved that he is an entrepreneur in the truest sense. He is a media shy man, he has a keen eye for nation building. In 1995, He started the Nirma Institute of Technology while in 2003 he started Nirma University of Science and Technology. In 2004, he launched the Nirmalabs education project, aimed at training and incubating entrepreneurs in India. In 2010 he was awarded by Padma Shri.
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