This homegrown kids' oral care brand clocking Rs 13Cr turnover is competing with biggies like Colgate
Inculcating the habit of maintaining good oral hygiene among kids is a challenge most parents have been confronted with for a long time.
Toothbrushes and toothpastes are the main products that come under this category. While Colgate and Oral B have been the leading players in both the normal oral care and kids’ oral care categories, other brands are gradually entering this space. For instance, Amway, in 2018, forayed into this segment with its sub-brand Glister Kids toothpaste.
One such Indian company is Aquawhite, which is a seven-year-old brand in the kids’ oral care segment. JHS Svendgaard Laboratories Limited (JHS), founded in 1996 by Nikhil Nanda, began with contract manufacturing of oral care products. The Delhi-based company supplies its products to some of the top brands in the world including Amway, Dabur, Patanjali and Vestige. They have also supplied to Procter & Gamble and Colgate in the past.
In 2013, Nikhil saw a huge gap in the kids’ oral care segment and decided to launch Aquawhite. According to a Nielsen report, Aquawhite is the second-largest kid’s oral care brand in the capital. The company today clocks a turnover of more than Rs 13 crore.
SMBStory spoke to Nikhil Nanda, Founder and CEO of Aquawhite, on how he plans to disrupt the market with his brand.
SMBStory: Tell us something about how you started Aquawhite?
Nikhil Nanda: Aquawhite is dedicated to making oral healthcare a fun reality for kids while at the same time ensuring that they adopt correct oral care practices early in their life which can enable them to become healthy adults in future. We manufacture a wide range of toothbrushes and toothpastes.
SMBS: What is the manufacturing process like?
NN: Aquawhite products are manufactured in our state-of-the-art automated plant located in Kala Amb, Himachal Pradesh. We source top-notch quality raw materials from Tier 1 global suppliers like Bayer and Du-Pont, and the plastic from Reliance. Group and Indian Oil.
SMBS: What is the USP of your products?
NN: All Aquawhite toothbrushes have been made with bristles which are super soft and are small in size. Our toothbrushes have auto flashlight and sound. As brushing for at least two minutes is imperative, a sand timer is given away with some toothbrush packs. Some other innovative freebies like finger puppets are also distributed with the products.
We also introduced India’s first fluoride-free toothpaste for kids. To make brushing more palatable, we have added flavours like strawberry, double bubble, chill gum, and sweet bubble.
SMBStory: How is the company using digital platforms for sales and marketing?
NN: Most of the times when you want the kids to do something, the best way is to show them cartoons and then make them do it. We have incorporated popular characters in our oral care kit and that helps mothers to motivate kids to brush. The brand is using online platforms for running social media campaigns.
We walked the talk with our tagline ‘Ab No More Boring Brushing’ by giving kids their favourite ‘Brushmates,’ like Peppa Pig, Chhota Bheem, Paw Patrol, and Mowgli (of Jungle Book fame), which found instant resonance with children, who were quick to latch on to our innovative products.
SMBS: What is the scope in the kids’ oral care market?
NN: Twenty-two percent of the population in India is below 13 years. Currently, the overall oral care market is to the tune of Rs 13,000 crore and the kids’ oral segment is worth only Rs 350 crore. According to the population, it should be a Rs 2,500 crore market. So, the difference between Rs 2,500 crore and Rs 350 crore is the potential for market growth.
Just like Ayurveda brand has become a separate category with many people preferring Ayurvedic toothpastes to normal white toothpastes, we are looking at establishing kids’ oral care brands as a separate sub-category just like Ayurveda.
SMBStory: You onboarded actor Tiger Shroff as the brand ambassador. What made you pick him?
NN: We researched a lot to identify the most popular face in India today among young children. Tiger Shroff and Varun Dhawan emerged as the top choices. Furthermore, Tiger emerged as the leading choice for kids below the age of 13. That is when we onboarded him.
SMBStory: What are your plans for the future and how are you combating the current situation of coronavirus outbreak?
NN: This is a very unique situation. Each one of us is trying to manage the situation with the best means available.
All our manufacturing units have been closed and we have shifted our focus to online sales, though we are seeing some disruption there too. Besides this, in order to ensure that none of our employees suffers, we are conserving resources, keeping in mind a long-term view of the situation.
Apart from this, our aim is to grow aggressively. To make that happen, we need to have a wider reach and availability through the right channels. Establishing our presence in other metro cities is also on the cards. Currently, we have entered New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, and parts of Gujarat including Ahmedabad.
(Edited by Javed Gaihlot)