With technology and scale, this entrepreneur is cooking a success story for his 4-decade-old cookware brand

Started in 1972 with just one offering, Black Magnum today has 150 SKUs across 12 categories in cookware. The company has its own manufacturing facility in Jalandhar, which enables easier price points.
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In the early 70s, Jasmeet Bhatia’s grandfather Kuldip Singh Bhatia started a business dealing in large stock pots in Jalandhar, Punjab. A couple of years later, in 1972, Jasmeet’s father PS Bhatia joined him and took this nascent business to the next level with the aim of streamlining operations, and gave it a formal name, Black Magnum

Starting with just one product, a pressure cooker, today, Black Magnum is a 150 SKU-strong brand that manufactures all its products and is available in 12 categories across India. 

“Pressure cookers were widely in demand in the 70s, and my father started the business in the same category. He would manufacture pressure cookers as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and supply to South India,” says Jasmeet, in an interaction with SMBStory

The pressure cookers were so popular that they even reached the Indian defence sector, where PS Bhatia would supply thousands of pieces each year to he Indian Army messes. From then on, for around 20 years, Black Magnum ran as a B2B brand with a small presence in retail. 

In 2010, after Jasmeet joined his father in the business, the duo started exploring the retail market.

Jasmeet says the initial journey was challenging as the lack of a sound marketing strategy left the brand with little recognition in the offline space despite being in the market for so long. 

According to Statista, the cookware industry is growing by 6.67 percent annually, and several players have ramped up to scale their operations to cater to the modern consumer’s demand. The Indian cookware market is dominated by well-established players like TTK Prestige, Wonderchef, Hawkins, and more, and Jasmeet had his task cut out to carve a niche for Black Magnum. 

Black Magnum cookware range

A strong brand

“When we would go to any shop for our brand placement, we were asked questions like “who are you?”, and “why should we keep your brand?” They even said things like being such an old brand, why is it that they had still not heard about us in the market? That’s when we started to do a comparative analysis of our products and the other brands available in the store, and presented the results to the shopkeepers,” says the third-generation entrepreneur. 

“We are confident that our brand is one of the best,” Jasmeet says, adding that having their own manufacturing unit in Jalandhar gives them the opportunity to keep a healthy play in the prices. He says this is in comparison to other brands that are either importing products or getting them manufactured on contract.

“The prices we quote for our products, and sizes in terms of the quantity we offer are unmatchable, which is what makes our customers prefer our products.” 

Keeping their price points affordable whilst not compromising on the quality has definitely  worked out for Black Magnum, and today the demand is such that each month, the brand manufactures 5,000 pieces of cookware, selling online and offline. 

Bootstrapping their way 

The brand Black Magnum is registered under Heera Industries, an MSME company. The company is self-funded till date, and Jasmeet claims they are growing on an average of 50 percent every year post-COVID-19. 

“During COVID-19, we saw a slight slump. But during the last year, the period has been fruitful, and we grew 50 percent. This year too, we are expecting a growth of 50-60 percent as we are also adopting marketing initiatives. We believe that people are now willing to pay for quality products, and the cookware segment has benefited at large,” says Jasmeet. 

Around 60 percent of the cookware market in India is unorganised, and one can see hawkers in markets selling steel, cast iron and other metal cookware.

Jasmeet says customers who pick up products from the unbranded market are not the target audience for brands, as these customers are not really looking for the right quality or size, and are just price oriented. 

Market scenario and future plans

Cookware brands in India are adopting various technologies to bring the best quality products to their consumers.

Jasmeet says Black Magnum is also particular about where it sources its raw materials from, and opts for aluminium from HINDALCO and stainless steel from Jindal Steel Works. 

“We can adopt any technology, given the free hand we have due to the existence of our own manufacturing. Our in-house facility also helps us to give customers innovated products at competitive prices, which not many brands can do because of their high margins. This is where we differentiate strongly from the other brands.”

In the future, Jasmeet says that he is trying to foray into home appliances, using technology to make appliances fulfil the needs of the modern consumer. He adds that the brand is also eyeing an IPO in the next two-three years. 

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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