Stone Sapphire looking at new horizons, armed with over 200 SKUs

Starting in 2006 as an export unit for Red Ridge Global, Stone Sapphire has seen exponential growth over the past few years. After making a mark with toys and stationary, the company is now looking to move into homeware, expecting a turnover of Rs 150 crore in FY23.

Stone Sapphire looking at new horizons, armed with over 200 SKUs

Tuesday March 21, 2023,

5 min Read

Key Takeaways

  • With a strong distribution network, Stone Sapphire caters to 55,000 retail stores with its toy and stationery brand Skoodle.
  • It plans to launch a homeware brand Peggy Oliver soon.
  • With the addition of new business verticals, the company expects a turnover of Rs 500 crore in the next fiscal.

Red Ridge Global kicked off its journey as a maker of do-it-yourself (DIY) kits, Christmas decorations, and paper stationery in 1999. It set up its first manufacturing unit in Shanghai and started distributing to businesses in North America. 

Then came anti-dumping duty—a tax levied on foreign goods if the government believes they are priced below the fair market value.

A few years later, in 2006, Stone Sapphire, the Indian arm of Red Ridge Global, came along. 

“We faced a similar situation in India when the US imposed anti-dumping duty on the same product line here. This led to the shifting of the unit to Indonesia,” says Shobhit Singh, Director of Stone Sapphire India.

With stationery and Christmas gifting items, a manufacturing unit spanning across an area of 2 lakh square feet, it has served most serviced major retailers of the North American market like Michaels, K-Mart, Walmart, Dollar General, and so on.

Stone Sapphire

Manufacturing Unit in Vadodara

Hasbro’s effect 

Stone Sapphire’s first break came when Hasbro, a leading American toy company, offered the Vadodara-based business a chance to distribute its stationery in India.

This was when it decided to play in the big leagues—take on distribution with Hasbro, armed with Red Ridge’s manufacturing capacity in China. 

Later, Hasbro offered Stone Sapphire the opportunity to become its toy distributor in India. Stone Sapphire took over the distribution business from Funskool, which meant Hasbro left behind a three-decade business partnership.   

“Funskool was the biggest toy distributor in India at that time. Because of the growth our company could give them, Hasbro decided to leave their 30-year-old partner,” says Singh, adding that the firm has understood the pulse of distribution since then. 

Armed with knowledge about stationery, Stone Sapphire took another major route—beginning its own stationery brand Skoodle. 


Skoodle Products

In the first year of launch, Skoodle carried pencils made from scrap material and slowly expanded the range to include other stationery like crayons, rulers, erasers, sharpeners, and sketch pens, made in-house and in collaboration with other manufacturers. 

Within its first year, Skoodle made a turnover of Rs 10 lakh. Meanwhile, the Hasbro business took a turn for the worse. 

Several changes in import policies and restrictions imposed by the Indian government pushed Stone Sapphire to make a strategic decision to begin manufacturing locally and add toys to its portfolio. 

In 2020, it decided to manufacture toys with Skoodle and cancelled the agreement with Hasbro a year later. 

According to Stone Sapphire, its USP is a strong emphasis on sustainability in products and adherence to quality standards.

The stationary and toys market in India is emerging. By some estimates, the market is expected to reach $3 billion by 2028, exhibiting a growth rate (CAGR) of 12.2% during 2023-2028.

As for stationary, the school stationery supplies market size in India reached $2,240.1 million in 2022. The market is expected to reach $3,204.9 million by 2028, at a growth rate (CAGR) of 6.06% during 2023-2028.

Building a sustainable stationary and toys business 

COVID-19 was a consequential moment in history for businesses. For Stone Sapphire, this meant going back to the drawing board—brainstorming and developing new concepts and games as the world continued to stay indoors. 

Now, it counts over 100 stock-keeping units (SKUs) in its portfolio under toys and stationary each, which it actively distributes across the country.


Skoodle Products

It also has a strong distribution network. With 24 CNFs (clearing and forwarding agents), 54 super stockists, and 250 distributors—the brand caters to 55,000 retail stores. It is also available in modern retail stores like Hamleys, Vishal Mega Mart, D Mart, and Crosswords. 

Skoodle’s products are also available on marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart, besides its own website. 

In stationery, the company counts DOMS, Hindustan Pencils, and Faber Castle as competitors, while in toys, Funskool is its biggest rival.  

Keeping the wheels turning 

The company has a workforce of 300 people, of which 200 employees are in the sales team, says Singh. 

“Because we are a part of such a populated country, every businessman should think about how much more employment we can bring. Our aim is to generate more and more employment going forward,” he explains.

The company works with 21 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) located in different parts of India to make products.

As for its facility in Vadodara, two OEMs work in-house, besides inviting OEMs that do not have the infrastructure to work in their facilities. OEMs that work with Stone Sapphire often have diverse backgrounds. 

Stone Sapphire is now looking beyond toys and stationery. "We plan to get into homeware soon with the launch of our new brand Peggy Oliver,” says Singh. 

“We will be launching dinner and tea sets with 24-carat gold plating on fine porcelain," he adds, saying that it will also import porcelain from Sri Lanka. At present, it is a distributor for the brand Corelle in India.

The company made a turnover of Rs 100 crore in FY22 and expects to close FY23 with a turnover of Rs 150 crore. With the addition of new verticals in the business, Stone Sapphire expects a turnover of Rs 500 crore in the next fiscal.

Edited by Akanksha Sarma