By advertising on water, Sakina Wagh quenches the thirst of major brands to grab eyeballs


A company needs great advertising like a fish needs water. The way Quench sees it, a company wanting great advertising, also needs water!

One zips past a 100-ft hoarding no matter how colourful it is, or flicks past a TV ad, no matter how engaging it may be. But when you’re guzzling water on a sunny day, as it restores the life in you, and you start to appreciate even the vessel that held your elixir, the peppy ad sprawled across its surface has already fared half the distance to your heart.

Who quenched the advertiser’s thirst?

Sakina Wagh's upbringing itself laid the foundations for an entrepreneurial bent. After procuring an MBA in Retail Management and Marketing, she had a stint with a major corporate but soon enough, realised she wanted to be her own boss.

So she joined the family lighting retail business, but along with her husband, also started doing wholesale and distribution, by getting agencies of certain brands on board. “Being a woman in a wholesale business setup was quite challenging since it involved dealing with mostly uneducated retailers. This gave me a lot of knowledge and laid the foundation for my new business venture,” she recollects.

Doing business satiated an inherent urge – and she was one step closer to attaining her entrepreneurial nirvana. But what is truly beautiful is when a career and passion come together, Sakina feels, and it all started to come together when she had her next big idea.

The Eureka moment

Reading stories about young entrepreneurs who had created companies based on unconventional advertising got her thinking. “I noticed the huge scope of water to be used as a medium for advertising and promotions. People will look at the advertisement or branding for as long as the water lasts or even longer if they carry the bottle along or reuse it,” she says, illustrating, how, looking around her office, nearly 30 percent of the people had some type of water bottle or drink on their desks. Most didn’t instantly finish their drink, but sipped on themleisurely. “With a custom label on that bottle, one would be staring at the brand’s message and logo for hours. It can be a thrifty and effective solution. As water is something everyone needs, we net more exposure time with a potential consumer,” explains Sakina.

Quench Promotions Private Ltd., was born out of the need to offer businesses a way out of the current advertising clutter, by giving them a novel, unique solution by way of a simple carrier for their advertisements instead- water bottles. Incorporated in Pune in the year 2013, it had the simple concept of offering a great looking bottle of water to businesses with their own personalised label.

“We are living in the world of personalised products. Building on that thought, Quench uses the space on packaged drinking water as advertising space,” explains Sakina.

Finding Yaveri

Her co-founder, Mokhtar Yaveri, is a childhood buddy from school, who was working with an oil company as a petroleum engineer at the time.

Initially, they had planned to manufacture and process their water in-house – for which, they even intended to raise a round of funding, owing to the lofty capital requirement that would have accompanied setting up a plant. “However, we realised that our focus should be marketing the concept of Quench. We did not want to get into the hassles of production and maximum utilisation of machinery,”Sakina says.

So Quench established tie-ups and agreements with existing water plants to manufacture for them. “This way, we get to provide a complete end-to-end solution right from the water purification, to bottling, to label design and execution, but only need working capital, which my co-founder and I were able to invest,” she explains.

How they dew it

Customising the label completely to a brand or business’ name,Quench offers five different bottle sizes, from 200 ml to 20 litre jars, the former being the most popular size, priced at Rs 6, approximately. Thus, in Sakina’s opinion, even if the brand picks up 5,000 units of it, it works out to be much cheaper than traditional media like flyers, hoardings etc., and with,she believes, a greater impact.

Quench only custom-makes and delivers the bottles to the doorstep of their clients; their clients, in turn, may choose to retail these bottles. But they do targetaudience-specific distribution campaigns, if the client requests.

At the ideation phase, Francois Xavier Bertschy, an international business consultant, mentored them through the network of Dream:In, a social impact enterprise that provides a platform to young entrepreneurs.

Advertisers who took the leap with them

Quench has particularly struck a chord with industries for which communicating with and piquing the interest and amazement of customers is vital. “The exhibition &events industry has welcomed Quench’s innovation wholeheartedly. The clothing industry and other retail outlets have been early adopters of Quench’s custom bottled water to pamper their customers the moment they enter their showrooms,” says Sakina.

They’ve also roped in some big hospitality chains. “As it is, in the hospitality sector almost everything comes personalised – so why leave water behind in hotels, clubs and restaurants?” We have also received a great response from many hospitals chains, corporates and government offices,” she says.

Some of their clients includeRamee Grand Hotels, Zaheer Khan's, Mercure Lavasa (Ecomotel Hotels), Degchis Catering Services, Clothing Manufacturer Association of India(CMAI), Finolex, Venkys, Zazen Spa and many more events, showrooms, and real estate developers like Maple Group, Rainbow Housing etc.

The revenue model for Quench is mainly signing yearly contracts with clients. But they do have one-time clients like weddings, events, corporate conferences, marathons etc., from time to time.

“We started off slowly but by the second year we began clocking an annual turnover of Rs 20 lakh and are growing at an average of 30percent each year,” says Sakina.

Being pioneers of this particular concept in India, they have the first-mover advantage. However, their competition, as mentioned above, comes from regular water brands in terms of pricepoints. At the moment, they cater to clients only in Maharashtra and Goa. “Water being a scarce commodity, we would like to expand slowly but surely, once we have a thorough quality check of our new vendors and trusted manpower to monitor the execution,” she says.

Their long-term plan is to partner with water-purifying plants and bottling plants across different States, and also raise a round of funding to bolster these plans.


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