How Siddhesh Sharma of Baidyanath aces the art of living life with the right balance
The century-old enterprise is using modern technology and state-of-the-art equipment to tests all its products. We caught up with Siddhesh Sharma, President, Baidyanath, and Founder and CEO, Naturedge Beverages Pvt. Ltd to find out how his love for tennis and cricket translates to discipline at work
Did you know a special herbal infusion with a twist of ginger or a hint of tulsi can work wonders for your health? Or that a drop of bitter gourd and a swirl of berry juice can regulate the blood sugar levels in your body? These are only a few formulations that Baidyanath has validated from millennium-old Ayurveda formulations and modern clinical research. Every year, the company is constantly adding to its Ayurvedic repertoire by evolving new formulations while standardising traditional herbal preparations.
So, what does the young scion of Baidyanath do when he steps into the business? Siddhesh Sharma, President, Baidyanath, and Founder and CEO, Naturedge Beverages Pvt. Ltd, says he likes to lead a life of balance and moderation, and embracing the old while stepping forward into the new.
Where it began
An alumnus of the University of Nottingham, and the SP Jain Institute, Mumbai, Siddhesh was poised to enter the business as soon as he was ready to do so.
“I started my entrepreneurial journey back in 2006 right after I graduated,” he says. “Ayurveda is something that I have grown up with and is in my DNA. My first few years in the business were spent trying to understand all the different departments of our company, and learn the business at the grass root level.”
Today, Siddhesh is all set to launch two new FMCG products too. One of them is an anti-hangover shot designed to help people enjoy their drinks without worrying about a hangover the next morning. It is a natural herbal mix of 15 magical herbs and ingredients specially formulated into a delicious shot that promises to manage even the worst hangover. The second product, is an herbal infusion drink with brahmi, ashwagandha, kokum and khus, and is designed for today’s millennials to keep them at optimum health.
“In terms of new products, we have focused on more lifestyle-related products for stress, sleep, pain management, acidity, etc.,” he explains. “I have been very aggressive on research and development in the field of Ayurveda, and constantly innovating to produce better products.”
Siddhesh says he had always dreamt of the day when he could take up the responsibilities of the business from his father. “I am very proud of the work by grandfather and my father have done and I want to continue their legacy,” he says. “I enjoyed myself right from Day 1, and I still enjoy doing the smallest things at work because it keeps me grounded and close to the action.”
Siddhesh believes that his family played a great role in his love for Ayurveda. “We only use Ayurveda products at home. During my initial days at work when I was visiting an Ayurveda doctor I spoke to a few patients. I wanted to get their feedback and understand where there is a scope of improvement in our business,” he remembers.
“Some of the patients told me horrific stories about their experiences with other health remedies. They suffered for years before finally switching to Ayurveda. That was when I realised how Ayurveda can change people's lives.”
Baidyanath was launched in 1917 when they started making more than 700 medicines, covering every item mentioned in the classical textbooks of Ayurveda. “Over a 100 years later we still commercially manufacture all the 700 plus formulations, so our philosophies, our roots are still the same,” says Siddhesh. “Over the years we have streamlined our manufacturing facilities and decentralised our production. Our labs have been constantly improving with state-of-the-art equipment and conducting the most stringent of the tests on all our products.”
For the love of tennis
Despite his passion for his work, Siddhesh always finds time to unwind during the weekends and pursue his many interests. He speaks expansively about his love for sports and his many hobbies.
“I have played competitive tennis all my life until recently. I think playing a sport can bring in the best discipline into your lives. It has taught me a lot, and I really enjoyed traveling across the length and breadth of the country when I was growing up playing tournaments,” he says.
Siddhesh believes that when it comes to sports, nothing can replace hard work.
“I think that this applies to anything we wish to excel in. I used to train for over six hours a day and focus on physical fitness. When you start playing competitively you realise sports is a lot about mental and physical fitness.”
He admits that he loves every single sport he can watch or play. “Cricket is in my blood just like in the case of most Indians!” he says.
He finds that though tennis is a very challenging sport, it’s a very lonely sport too. “You have to fight it out on your own during matches,” he says. “During most individual sports you are at least allowed to chat with your coach during breaks, but not in the case of tennis. I think I enjoyed the challenge of this sport the best. I loved being on court playing competitively.”
Tennis has taught Siddhesh many lessons in discipline and sportsmanship. “Traveling across the country playing for your state for the nationals, is a great feeling,” he recalls. “We were 25 of us on a train for 36 hours in the month of May when it was 45 degrees with only five confirmed non-AC berths. This can teach you a lot.”
Siddhesh was also instrumental in getting many tennis greats to India. Among them, he brought Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to India to play for an Indian team named Indian Aces. “The experience was extraordinary and I enjoyed seeing thousands of tennis fans and sports fans thrilled to see them play live in India. I learnt a lot from them but being modest and being real was the highlight,” he says.
With all the travelling that he has to do, Siddhesh does not get enough time to play tennis nowadays. “I will start training seriously again this year and I hope to start playing competitively too.”
He recalls the time he got initiated into the sport and how he started participating in tournaments.
Playing inter schools, inter district and then getting selected in the state team was a long process that happened annually for Siddhesh.
“I enjoyed every bit of it and I was very proud when I got my silver medal in the nationals, which happened in Ahmedabad. Meeting tennis players of all ages from different parts of the country was a huge learning experience. We all looked different, played different styles, ate different food but end of the day played for the love of the sport.”
Among the tournaments he has won, Siddhesh’s first ever win, ‘the under 14 state tournament’ was very special. “Also, the silver medal at the nationals and the when we won the league while I was playing for the University of Nottingham were very important to me.”
Siddhesh says that sports has helped him understand the importance of fitness and discipline. He also plays cricket, basketball, swimming and golf.
“Sports is the best way to de-stress and get out of one’s daily routine. It made me competitive as a person and I learnt a lot about honesty and hard work. I also learnt the importance of playing on my strengths, taking timely decisions, managing my time and working hard.”
A time to unwind
Among his other interests, Siddhesh loves meeting people and travelling. “I think every single person is unique and you can learn from them if you want to,” he says.
“It’s really important to grow in all spheres of your life. In today's day and age if you have really high aspirations you have to be successful as a person before you can be successful in your business. Your hobbies bring out the best in you.”
Siddhesh loves travelling as he thinks it teaches people a lot about life. “I never complain about travelling and there is nothing like too much travelling in this world. It’s all good!” he adds.
As for the future…
In the immediate future, Siddhesh plans to focus on his new ventures and his many interests. He has some parting advice too. He believes that people should work really hard on being the best they can be. “You need to invest time and energy on making yourself happy,” he says.