Candid expressions caught – With VICCO Director, Mr Sanjeev Pendharkar
“Everyone can tell you the risk. An entrepreneur can see the reward.”- Robert Kiyosaki
As someone who is an ardent believer of this quote, Mr Sanjeev Pendharkar, Managing Director of VICCO LABORATORIES also titled as “a man with a tunnel vision” possesses a repute of an incredible value creator as of today. Having helmed the affairs of VICCO for years now, he admits, “The risks we took back then is what turned out to be the most rewarding chapters in the journey of VICCO”.
VICCO Laboratories since its debut in 1952 has come a long way. In this day and age, the name VICCO is synonymous with the top-notch, authentic personal care products and it stands as an undisputed champion in the personal care landscape. Over the years, its evolution has been phenomenal beyond words.
Seamlessly working towards the well-being of society, the brand continues to grab the retail shelves, both nationally and internationally.
With a wide spectrum of personal care products under its umbrella, VICCO keeps on displaying a remarkable growth trajectory, both in terms of performance and reputation. All in all, this elite name, which is no stranger to awards and recognitions and with years of expertise and global footprint to its credit, is aptly considered as a pioneer in the beauty Industry.
Let’s dive into the journey of this charismatic man with an exceedingly fiery entrepreneurial spirit.
Very candidly, he shares about his collective experiences in the story
What was it that sparked the idea to start VICCO? How was VICCO born?
Mr Sanjeev says, “The idea of starting a business based on ayurvedic products was precisely hatched in 1952, when we noticed the scary and ill effects of the fluoride packed toothpastes back then, on the oral health of the society. The fact that these cosmetic pastes were wreaking havoc on the dental health and hygiene of the people using it, could not be ignored by us. The health risks that these products invited, were quite appalling and this was the primary factor that drove our leap.
Particularly, in early childhood, the side effects from swallowing the toothpaste (while brushing) which kids more than often, tend to gulp in, showed up as a grave concern to us.
ACC TO RESEARCH, this consumption of toothpaste results in a condition called Dental Fluorosis, which is a defect in tooth enamel caused by excessive fluoride intake during the tooth forming years (0 to 8 years).
Children who used to ingest the toothpaste (either inadvertently or purposefully, owing to its sweet taste) gradually developed the disfiguring brown and black streaks of ADVANCED FLUOROSIS. Also, it caused the pitting and crumbling of enamel.
That was the time when disturbed by the health hazards of chemical-based products, we felt an immense need of introducing a herbal oral care product, all loaded with the goodness of natural and ayurvedic ingredients. And that is how, our first product, VICCO VAJRADANTI TOOTHPASTE, came into being. It is a miraculous amalgam of 18 wonder priceless herbs to keep all your mouth and gum problems at bay.
It is an all-natural, fluoride and triclosan free, all in one remedy for healthy oral hygiene. Needless to say, in no time, the toothpaste went viral and climbed the charts. It unquestionably was a huge hit in the market.
This first product of ours was an attempt from our side, geared towards the realization of our dream “of a healthier society”.
From then on, there was no looking back and we immersed ourselves totally in the “manufacturing of wellness products with ayurvedic ingredients” which offer natural medicinal benefits without any side effects.
Even today, our mission is the same. We as VICCO strive continuously to contribute our best in the healing and revitalization of society by delivering blessings of nature in the form of our products.”
How did you happen to join the family business?
Commenting on the question, he states, “To be associated with family business was something which came as very natural to me.
I guess I have always had an entrepreneurial blood. With a common business vision and a shared understanding of “what our business aims to achieve”, taking on the family business was something which was very customary and which I always craved to be a part of.
And I consider myself exceedingly lucky to have been passed on the baton in 1986.”
How was your journey to the top like? A smooth sailing? Or a turbulent one?
It has been pretty much a roller coaster ride for me and I have struggled every inch of the way to make it to the top. A fair share of challenges, I have had and I am quite unapologetic about any of my decisions and moves that I took back then. Because where I stand today, is the cumulative effect of the choices that I embraced at that time.
Entrepreneurship as such is a tough road to embark on and by default, comes with a host of challenges. For me, it was no different”.
When I started, I had to wear multiple hats. And it’s not often that you find someone juggling so many roles simultaneously.
Nevertheless, the takeaways and lessons that my experiences taught me are invaluable and very dear to me and I firmly believe that “Nothing can substitute experience”. The spot where I stand today is attributed to those hiccups and blocks which I encountered back in those days and I am delighted that through all those physical and emotional turbulences, I came out the other side of the bridge, stronger and successful.
Any key steps that were taken to solidify the brand’s name in the market?
Certainly! Carving a distinct and unrivalled brand identity for VICCO that it holds today, by all means, required an actionable strategy. Some principal steps undertaken were-
- Establishing a real and genuine connection with our customers– VICCO has never been a company whose interests have revolved around the financial aspects and business ratios. It has always had the greater purpose of catering to the wellbeing of society through its natural and authentic products. Customer’s wishes and needs have always been at the forefront for us and will always be.
- Always fixating on the core values- We as VICCO have always centered upon Authenticity and Innovation as its core values which are quite reflective in all of its products and services. All the preparations of VICCO are classical preparations using natural and authentic ingredients with not a single shred of artificial chemicals. Also, we have always been open to newer ideas to upgrade our products.
- Reasonable pricing was yet another factor– VICCO offers natural medicinal benefits without any side effects at affordable rates. Now, isn’t that a steal deal?
- Last but not least is Social Media Marketing– It’s a great tool at your disposal to uplift your business in this media-savvy age. In this digitized era of unprecedented competition, employing social media marketing gives magical powers to your business. It is a perfect opportunity to establish and cultivate real empathic engagement with your customers and help your brand reach out to different types of people in different parts of the world. We as VICCO have a strong presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with lakhs of followers.
What is VICCO’S measure of success?
By all counts and scales, VICCO’s success is the “love for its products in the hearts of its customers”. In fact, our loyal customers are the most prestigious brand ambassadors of VICCO.
Creating experiences worth sharing is what VICCO has always strived for and the way our products strike a chord with its users goes on to say all about our success.
Securing a massive and a loyal client base, all as a result of the love of customers for all products is VICCO’s biggest achievement. This is our greatest milestone and I only wish that this fondness and warmth for our products and services continue to grow with each passing day.
Any Awards that VICCO has bagged?
Our company has been in the award circuits for quite some time now. The brand holds a great and matchless track record of recognition for its top-notch products and services. These awards for us are the trust signals, the trust that VICCO has managed to develop in the hearts of its users over all these years, by delivering blessings of nature in the form of its products.
Talking about some of the crowns worn by VICCO-
- The brand was felicitated on behalf of Chemexcil, by H’bl Shri. Manohar Joshi, Loksabha Speaker for OUTSTANDING EXPORT PERFORMANCE.
- Felicitated on behalf of Bharati Vidyapeeth by Hon’ble Shri Shard Pawar, Minister of Agriculture in the Central Cabinet, for outstanding achievements.
- “Quality Brands Award and National Industry of India Excellence Award” from National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mumbai. The award was presented to Mr Sanjeev by Dev Malhotra, actor and Model.
- Golden Globe Tigers Award presented by Aalok Pandit, Director, CMO
- VICCO also bagged the Prestigious Corporate Excellence award held at HOTEL TAJ LANDS END, BANDRA.
- Mr Sanjeev Pendharkar was also applauded with a magnificent portrait at Vishwavinayak Event by Dilip Vaity, Founder and Chairman of Vishwavinayak.
- The prestigious ABP Brand excellence award was bagged by VICCO in the marketing campaign category.
- Entrepreneur of the Year – 2016 India Award from the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, India
- National Glory of India award in March 2017 by National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, India.
- The Greatest Marketing Influencers 2017- Cult Brand was presented to VICCO by BBC KNOWLEDGE.
- Maharashtra’s Lokpriya Brand Award in June 2018 presented at The Bombay Stock Exchange, Auditorium, Mumbai.
And the list goes on.
And Recently, The Mumbai Heroes Award, announced by Mumbaikars, which was presented on 3rd February 2019 in Humanity First Conclave.
Any particular problems that you face during commercialization of ayurvedic products?
Yes, a whole lot of (he smiles).
There are a multitude of constraints that we deal with, pertaining to the manufacturing and commercialization of herbal products. Ayurveda, as we all know, is an emerging market. And this makes the export of these herbal products susceptible to a stack of problems at every stage, right from raw material collection to marketing of products and quality control measures.
Furthermore, getting hold of an ayurvedic drug manufacturing license is a different ball game altogether. Not only it is governed by strict and stern regulations, but it also has an additional angle associated with it i.e. even though you manage to get the license, another issue turns up with regard to classification of goods.
Despite holding an authentic and genuine license, these products are again classified as “cosmetic” when they hit the market to generate the revenues.
Any social activities that you would like to talk about?
Yes, VICCO’s contribution to society absolutely can’t be dismissed. With its products and services, the company has paved the way for health revolution and continues to do so. Fabricating products that are authentic, transparent and that offers a natural and logical solution to the problems of its customers thus improving the quality of life for them in itself is a commendable way of our giving back to the society.
Talking about some of the specific contributions-
- VICCO’s engagement in the campaigns with a cause dedicated to the welfare of people, the focus areas being education and healthcare.
- Contribution to various funds that share the common mission and vision as VICCO’s aka Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund and other funds structured by Central Government for socio-economic development and welfare of minority classes.
- Collaboration with Non-Profit entities involved in social welfare activities like fighting against cancer.
The Interview has been taken during a personal Interaction By Aaina Chopra.
Aaina is a dynamic and a spirited writer who is best known for weaving write-ups that are evocative, informative, engaging, demonstrative and error-free .Quite passionate about her craft, every time she writes something, it is worth the reader’s while.
Having helped a significant number of businesses and start ups with their content and marketing strategy , she considers engagement as the key to building and fostering meaningful relations. With a strong grasp and mastery in writing and the social media skills, she has worked with myriad publications and brands and helped them convey their stories to the target audience with total clarity and purpose thus enhancing the brand’s visibility. Her writing trajectory encompasses a wide array of blog posts, social media posts, press releases, business plans, web content, articles, newsletters and more. As someone who is also a podcaster and loves to dabble in poetry, she is a published author for one of her poems, “Life Unravelled” in a book named “Melodies Of Spring” available on Amazon.
The golden words by Harley Davidson, “When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen” is what she lives by.