Starting with Rs 1L, how this perfume brand overcame disaster to hit Rs 80 Cr turnover
Overcoming a disaster that almost shuttered their business, NK Daga and LK Soni reinvented RIYA as a perfume brand. Now, second-generation entrepreneur Aditya Vikram Daga wants to take the brand to new heights.
Aditya Vikram Daga was just a year old when, in 1997, his father NK Daga decided to take a big leap for his family and turn to entrepreneurship. He shut his kirana shop and teamed up with his partner LK Soni, whom he met through an acquaintance, to start a business manufacturing perfumes and talcum powder.
Together, they invested Rs 1 lakh and opened up a small manufacturing facility in Bhadrak, Odisha. The duo primarily started making talcum powders and leveraged their contacts with dealers and distributors to stack products on shelves in small retail stores—marking the beginning of RIYA brand.
However, disaster soon struck. The super cyclonic storm of 1999, which took thousands of lives and destroyed many parts of Odisha, razed their manufacturing facility to the ground.
“They were devastated,” Aditya, who is now carrying the reins of the business as a second-generation entrepreneur, tells SMBStory.
But out of adversity comes opportunity. The duo gathered courage and decided to start afresh in Delhi in 2000. Now, RIYA is an Rs 80 crore turnover company (FY2022), and aims to touch Rs 100 crore in the coming year in its revamped avatar as.
After the storm of 1999, NK and LK made their way to Delhi as the national capital was a central place to connect with traders. They rented a warehouse in Sadar Bazaar—the largest wholesale market in Delhi.
Rebuilding the business was a challenge, especially as the resources were few. The duo decided to reinvent their business model—rather than manufacturing, they decided to get into trading perfumes. They sourced perfumes from third-party manufacturers and sold them through wholesale retailers.
By the early 2000s, the company had made Rs 5 crore in turnover, which helped the co-founders take a leap of faith and they try their luck again in manufacturing, which Aditya says did wonders.
“That storm was a nightmare, and after that, they (NK and LK) were very cautious. But we overcame adversity and launched various SKUs in the perfume category. We had various sub-brands like Bindas, Melody, Born Rich, Bawri, Jako, and Poizo that captured the entire Delhi and Uttar Pradesh markets.”
Rather than spending money on advertising, the co-founders instead invested all their resources in consistently enhancing the quality of their perfumes over the years.
Aditya joined the business in 2019 under the leadership of his father and LK. He says that entrepreneurship is in his genes as he has grown up along with the business, and is used to business being discussed at the dinner table.
After graduating from the London School of Business in 2018, he didn’t waste any time and joined the business.
When NK and LK started the perfume business, the Indian market was dominated by brands such as Ajmal Perfumes. However, European fragrances had started to attract the attention of the youth.
To stay relevant, the brand had decided to primarily target people from Tier-II and III cities who wanted to have quality perfumes but at an affordable price point.
However, when Aditya joined in 2019, the 26-year-old entrepreneur restructured the brand and formed Purpos Planet to diversify the brand’s reach to urban and metro cities, where it is at a nascent stage.
RIYA aka Purpos Planet has expanded to multiple categories in the last five years by foraying into room fresheners, roll-ons, deodorants, deodorant soaps, incense sticks (agarbatti) etc—making up a total of more than 120 SKUs (stock-keeping units) sold through a distribution network of over 1,800 distributors in offline retail shops, including general stores and cosmetic stores across India, except Kerala. The perfumes fall in the price range of Rs 40 to Rs 500.
Aditya says that the company enjoys a 10.8 percent market share in India, majorly through their offline presence. As per Nielson IQ Retail Audit Report Jan-Dec 2021, RIYA led the perfume segment in India by value share for the third consecutive year.
Challenges and the way ahead
Purpos Planet is on a growth trajectory as Adiya aspires to seize 20 percent of the market share by 2025, and clock Rs 240 crore turnover by strategising on new trends and tapping into consumer behaviour as perfumes are now increasingly becoming a part of personal hygiene.
According to him, one of the major challenges Aditya says the brand faces is from the unorganised and duplicate market that is making customers spoilt for choice.
“The pandemic was also a tough period for us as the perfume category was the one that people sought when shopping for essentials. We experienced a dip but now we have pulled ourselves up and are aiming to conquer all urban cities of India,” Aditya, the CEO and Founder of Purpos Planet, says.
“Indian perfume brands have not stretched themselves to a higher price point—given the fact that consumers would prefer to buy an international brand at that price—but we are aiming to change that definition,” he adds.
According to a Statista report, the revenue in the fragrances segment amounted to $286.40 million in FY2022. The market is expected to grow annually by 2.49 percent (CAGR 2022-2026). Tapping on the opportunity, Purpos Planet is looking forward to expanding to more FMCG categories including attars, and is also planning to ramp up its online presence, which currently relies only on distributor channels.
Edited by Kanishk Singh