Tiny Pouches, Massive Change: The Man Who Democratised Indian Consumer Goods
Chinni Krishnan, a Tamil Nadu farmer, revolutionized Indian business with the introduction of product sachets, making essentials accessible.
In the annals of Indian entrepreneurship, few stories resonate as powerfully as that of Chinni Krishnan, the unassuming farmer from Tamil Nadu who brought about an unparalleled change in the business landscape of the country. His insight, stemming from a simple observation, led to an innovative idea that reshaped how consumer goods were accessed by millions.
During the 1970s, a trip to any local store in India would present shelves lined with large containers of everyday products like shampoo and talcum powder. These products, while essential, were out of reach for the many due to their size and cost. The notion of affordability was skewed towards the upper economic strata, leaving a large segment of the population underserved. Big brands, including behemoths like Hindustan Unilever, largely overlooked this segment.
Enter Chinni Krishnan. His empathy and entrepreneurial spirit led him to a game-changing realisation: Why not sell these products in smaller, affordable quantities? Acting on this idea, he began selling shampoo in minuscule 20 gram sachets. For the price of just 50p, consumers could now purchase a sachet, making it accessible to virtually everyone. What might seem obvious in retrospect was nothing short of revolutionary at the time.
The "sachet model" caught on like wildfire. Observing its success, established companies and new entrants alike began to adopt this strategy. Today, it's hard to imagine a product that isn't available in sachet form. Whether it's nutritional drinks like Horlicks and Boost, daily essentials like coffee and ketchup, or personal care products, sachets have become ubiquitous in Indian households.
Sadly, Chinni Krishnan passed away before he could witness the monumental impact of his innovation. However, his legacy endures not only through the sachet revolution but also through his son's efforts. In a heartfelt homage, his son established Chik Shampoo, naming it in honor of the visionary patriarch. Further cementing Chinni Krishnan's lasting influence, the family went on to create the FMCG giant, CavinKare, its name inspired by Krishnan's initials.
In a world where businesses often chase trends, Chinni Krishnan's story stands as a testament to the power of genuine observation, empathy, and innovation. His legacy reminds us that sometimes, the simplest ideas can have the most profound impacts. Today, as we tear open a sachet, we unknowingly pay tribute to a legend whose vision transformed businesses and made everyday luxuries accessible to all.