The Power Of I 2017

Fragrance King

How Vini Cosmetics managed to beat multinationals at their own game with Fogg

RA Chandroo

Vini Cosmetics has been well and truly a disruptor in the Indian deodorant industry. By tapping into the existing gap in the market, its founder Darshan Patel decided to introduce a deodorant with a non-aerosol pump that didn’t require any gas. This resulted in the emergence of Fogg, a deodorant without gas – a first of its kind in India. Although a late entrant, it has successfully managed to reposition the way men’s deodorants have been viewed by the Indian consumer.

Consumer research was the key to finding a unique positioning for Fogg – Vini’s leading brand. Fogg managed to dethrone Unilever’s Axe which was the market leader then within two years of its launch. With a 20% market share, Fogg now rules the roost in the Indian deodorant market. Fogg has moved into women’s deodorants as well and is now also eyeing the growing Indian skincare market

Ensconced in a very comfortableblack chair with a deep cushion, Darshan Patel’s white shirt completes the picture. The table with almost no paper, has an inexpensive pen. The man speaks slowly, but is concise and crisp. He points several times to the large shelf behind him where the name ‘Fogg’ stands out. It is the brand that has made Vini Cosmetics, of which he is the chairman & managing director. 

Patel speaks of Vini as his ‘second innings’ since he first cut his teeth in the family-owned Paras Pharmaceuticals in the mid-1980s. Following his differences with the family, he sold his 23% stake to private equity major, Actis in 2006 for Rs.170 crore. Patel spent the next couple of years at his 300 acre fruit orchard farm. 

A phone call from a friend asking him to put his mind to better use got him thinking again.  So, in 2010 he started Vini Cosmetics with an investment of Rs.60 crore. It has been a little over seven years since that conversation, and the 56-year-old has managed to create a Rs.700 crore company. With Fogg becoming the largest selling deodorant in India, the market share of more established players, took a serious hit. It managed to dethrone Hindustan Unilever’s Axe as the largest selling deodorant in less than two yea

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