The task of plunging into a well run business and taking the responsibility of succeeding it to greater heights may be enviable for some but for the doer himself, it could be the most daunting challenge. Established in 1986, Vinod Cookware had manifested its launch through advertisement of ‘Sandwich bottom’ in the history of Indian kitchens. Vinod Cookware has been in the Indian utensil industry since 1963 and in staying aware of the advertising patterns in the nation. Sunil Agarwal, the Director of the brand has taken up the implement of present day advertising procedures and mixed experiential marketing with conventional techniques to remain on top of things.
Today, Vinod Cookware is one of the most preferred name in Indian as well as global markets. With holistic range and understanding of the complete kitchen products and using premium quality stainless steel, the brand tends to build a solid connect with almost all the home-makers across all households. The company’s insistence on research and development gets for its products the edge of convenience and durability. Sunil Agarwal, Director of Vinod Cookware took up the mantle of taking the cookware empire to newer heights and has delivered outstandingly. Let’s understand how and what did it take for Agarwal to reach the heights of success in the cookware segment.
1. What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
Vinod Cookware was established in the Year 1962, the Brand Name Vinod which is a Hindi word takes its Origin from India that means Unconventional & eccentric. Vinod Cookware being a made in India brand, the products are an instant connect with the brand name Vinod which is distinctive and unique. Crafted and tailored with the complete understanding of Indian Kitchen, our product brings the right mix of tradition and modernity, appealing to the pragmatic Indian customer, also carving an exclusive space in the well-heeled young India’s Kitchen.
2. Who is your target Audience/clients?
Our Target audience is frankly anyone who loves to cook. Our products cater to both Male/Females. We were known in the Industry for Pressure Cookers and have progressed to over 400 products in 5 categories today. Focussing on innovation with new age technology, today Vinod caters to the needs even of the Millennial generation aligning the need based products with Vinod promise.
3. Where is your venture based (city, state, country) &what are your geographical target areas?
Starting out from a small factory in Bhandup, Mumbai, today we have a world-class manufacturing unit in Palghar, which is India’s largest stainless steel utensils facility. It’s spread across 1,10,000 square feet and produces 8,000 pots every day. We are setting up a base in Gujarat as well. We have also started making inroads into tier II and tier III cities and are trying to consolidate ourselves in these markets. Recently, we have begun our operation in Nepal and have gained positive response too. As for the North-Eastern part of India, we have managed to make our mark in Bengal and Orissa.
4. What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
Our brand lies into exclusive retail where we manufacture cookware for Indian Kitchens. Our products are designed as per the new age audience and have also moved with the consumption pattern of the generations. Right from slow cooking to oil free cooking, we understand that all. We compliment the style and modern day health preferences. We are one of the leading manufacturer of pressure cookers and tawas etc. with extensive range of 400 products in India across 5 categories. We have bought several first time technologies to India too, revolutionizing the age old Cooking habits.
5. Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it come to existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
The birth of Vinod was planted by Mr.Rajeram Agarwal, my father. During the years as an employee of a popular cookware firm, he realized he is not tailored for the 9 to 5 job and he was more of an Entrepreneur. With that, the foundation of his cookware business – ‘Vinod’ was laid which was nothing but a small stainless steel utensil manufacturing unit at Bhandup, in Mumbai, in 1962.
My takeover of the brand was after my father’s demise in 2010. I worked hard at full tilt since then to take his legacy forward and fulfil his unrealised dream which was to create a brand that would modernise the Indian cookware market. Today Vinod Cookware is a household name with its appeal across age groups.
6. Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
Vinod Cookware is now an established name in the Indian market. There are many players in Indian market today but we have an edge as against the Competition. Being 100% made in India we are able to build quality at the most pocket friendly prices. Our strategy for success has always been genuine products and loyalty towards customer’s faith in us.Today, Vinod Cookware has captured around 12 per cent market share across India.
7. How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us something about your co-founder/s
Mr.Rajeram Agrawal was the founder of Vinod Cookware, who was an excellent product person. We have been associated with Stainless Steel Merchants’ Association (SSMA); someone like him even then pushed their boundaries to achieve extraordinary quality, longevity and reliability. The fact that we have such large range of product is all credited to him.
8. How did you hire your first team members? What skills do you want in your employees/team?
We made sure that the first team had similar objectives to our goals so that there wouldn’t be a clash with the way everyone wanted to go about. Also one element on which every business will remain is successful is ‘Passion among the employees’ – the stepping stone for the brand to reach closer to its Goals.
9. What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
For the next 2 to 3 years we aim to balance the retail expansion across the verticals and shall add 200 more touch points. This will help us grow wider across India. We also plan to open our own experience Zones at Pan India Level, enabling stronger connect with the TG.
10. Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
Vinod Cookware stands in top 3 positions in cookware brand andwe tent to consistently evolve with the quality assured products that are marked with excellence.We shall also be having a strong International presence across countries in next 10 years.
11. What are your immediate goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
We are focusing on exploring new avenues for growth and shall continue our focus on product development, enhance production processes and after sales-service. Clear focus shall always remain on building quality product at most affordable price. Apart from this, we aim to launch 5 experience stores by 2019. We are also aiming to balance the retail expansion across the verticals and add 200 touch points within the next three years.
13.What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
Like all other businesses, which have had early days ours too was similar on building acceptance among the audience, considering Kitchen remains the heart of every Indian Home and its purely on Trust the Brands remain the preferred partner.
14. What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
The most challenging part of the journey would be the fact of understanding the market and how we had to stand out from the other brands. We had to keep up with the market along with thinking about the future. We had to step inside the consumers shoes to understand the new dynamics which we all is know is the most dynamic.
15. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I love travelling and exploring new places and am very much passionate about food.
16. Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
My idol is my father Mr.Rajeram Agarwal, biggest motivator and my strength. His teachings still drive many of my business decisions.
17. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
The major difference which I strongly believe in is ‘Entrepreneurs thrive on risk, and employees avoid it’. Without risk, there’s no reward, and rather than scaring entrepreneurs away, this knowledge invigorates them. Remember whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.
18. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I am living my professional dream and cannot think of a better job than what I have.
19. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Entrepreneurs are “married” to their business or I’ll say have a “parent-child” relationship with their business. Having said that, it’s all in your mental, emotional, physical heath and good habits. For me I truly believe in work – life balance and have adopted the same mantra.
20. Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
Business ideas alone are worth very little. If you want to start a business and become successful with it, you need to solve meaningful problems for your target audience. Execution is everything in business. Also, it takes a lot to start a business and grow it to profitability; the most impactful lessons have come from my biggest failures though.
21. Tell us something about your education & family background.
I did not pursue a master’s degree because I had developed extensive programming skills while pursuing my undergraduate degree, and I was ready to begin my career as soon as I graduated. Being inheritor of a family business like most scions of Marwari business houses, I feel grateful to my forbears for giving a foundation and shaping it. My father had always be an idol for me who had always taught me the values of hard work, perseverance and dedication. Thanks to his efforts and the head start. Today Vinod Cookware boasts over 400 products across 5 categories which include state-of-the-art cooking technologies such as non-stick cookware, hard anodised cookware and more.
22. What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains?
We have been India’s revolutionary cookware brand that has changed cooking experience and life forever, since 1962. Today the Brand is available in over 2000 stores across all the cities. Apart from expanding the reach we also aim to launch our own 5 EBO stores by 2019, with the key objective to define ‘What’s not seen outside – goes inside’, it’s not just about color & styling of the products, Indian cooking is versatile wherein Vinod Cookware adapts to your relevant lifestyle.
Our brand has unveiled a variety of cookware solutions that has catered to diverse needs for individuals. We launched the sandwich bottomin pressure cookers that primarily focuses on equal distribution of heat while cooking to save up fuel and time. Our non-stickcookware also requires less oil to be cooked in, especially designed for day to day use and our platinum cookware collections guarantees maximum safety with great looks and ultra-hygienic are some good examples of innovative cookware that was introduced by the company. Largely, our products are the strongest USP each need based.
23. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
Running a business is like running a marathon; it takes passion and motivation to keep you moving forward each day regardless of the obstacles you face. Tough times can deplete your motivation and during these times it is important to get good sleep, remain positive and remind yourself of all the benefits of running your own business.
24. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
Yes indeed. I truly believe success shouldn’t just be considered at the end. I feel like every milestone I have achieved has been a token of success. All you need to do is keep going!