When Diwaker Vasistha back from Canada after his postgraduate degree in marketing and project management, he decided not to join his family’s third-party pharmaceutical manufacturing business.
His uncle Arun and brother Sidharth came from a pharmaceutical background and were deeply invested in the management Vasistha Pharma in Gurugram. But Diwaker, an engineer, did not want to step into the B2B side of the chemical and pharmaceutical industry.
Instead, he leveraged his family’s existing infrastructure and manufacturing expertise to launch Zreyasa, a B2C brand of care, well-being and hygiene, in Delhi in 2018. His uncle and brother joined him as co-founders.
âMy original plan was to launch personal care and skin care products such as soaps, lotions, etc. But when the pandemic hit I put personal care products on hold and after a while launched hand sanitizers to meet the demand for COVID-related hygiene products, âsays Diwaker SMBShistory.
He then started selling the hand sanitizers to companies such as Indigo and RCN Company, as well as end consumers through retailers, distributors, online marketplaces and its website. Diwaker claims that Zreyasa managed a Rs 4.3 crore of income during the 2020-21 financial year.
Hand sanitizer made by Zreyasa
âBy outsourcing manufacturing to the family’s manufacturing units, I was able to focus only on sales, branding and promotion, as well as better product quality control and an advantage. terms of price, âsays Diwaker.
The challenges of manufacturing
Although demand for hand sanitizers has skyrocketed during the pandemic, making and selling them has not been easy for Diwaker and his brand.
Amid the sharp rise in the price of hand sanitizers between late March and June 2020, the Delhi government capped the MRP of these products at Rs 100 for the 200 ml bottle.
âFor the hand sanitizer companies, it was difficult to manufacture with limited labor and within the price range specified by the government so that the products were not sold at a loss. In addition, selling in e-commerce marketplaces involved a commission. We were able to meet all of these challenges by optimizing our costs, âsays Diwaker, explaining:
âAs we outsourced manufacturing, we didn’t have to invest in machinery. In addition, our family’s manufacturing plants already had the required licenses to manufacture alcohol-based products such as hand sanitizers. We have also optimized costs by purchasing raw materials wholesale, selling directly to consumers and sharing the cost of transportation with them.
In the first months of the pandemic, Zreyasa and third-party manufacturing units also experienced labor shortages as migrant workers returned to their hometowns.
âMany left during the two waves. But we realized that those who came to work were still not safe because they could contract the virus while on the move. So we started providing accommodation and food near the manufacturing units. Although only 30 to 40 percent of the workforce was there initially, the situation improved over the months, as we also trained new people, âsays Diwaker.
Future projects in a growing market
The hand sanitizer market in India has reached a value of $ 123.5 million in 2020, and although we expect a slight deceleration this year, its should grow at CAGR of about 13% in 2021-2026.
Major players include ITC (which owns Savlon), Reckitt Benckiser (which owns Dettol), Dabur, Hindustan Unilever, The Himalaya Drug Company and others.
Diwaker believes Zreyasa can compete in the same market as these established giants, as their brand is backed by a manufacturing infrastructure built and invested for over 30 years by the Vasistha family.
Zreyasa’s product line
âOn top of that, people’s preferences for hand sanitizers and other hygiene products can vary depending on subjective factors such as the scent of the product. And not everyone wants the same amount of alcohol used in the product, âsays Diwaker, adding:
“So there is room for players like us – and we can thrive as long as we continue to showcase our products well and create a one-stop-shop for hygiene products.” With this in mind, Zreyasa has added N95 masks, antiseptic lotions, multipurpose disinfectant sprays, and vegetable and fruit cleaners to its product portfolio.
Diwaker believes these products will continue to be in demand even if the pandemic grants. Going forward, he also plans to get back on track with his initial skin care and wellness product launch plans. âOur skin care portfolio is ongoing and in the next few months we plan to launch a few products,â he adds.