Interviews

Nobel Hygiene Carving a Niche in Industry

kamal-kumar-johari

Kamal Kumar Johari, Managing Director, Nobel Hygiene, a first-generation entrepreneur completed Chartered Accountancy in Mumbai and worked as a CA before starting his distribution company in 1997. After a successful stint in distribution, he started importing diapers and eventually laid the foundation of Nobel Hygiene in 2009, with a view to provide Indian consumers with the best quality products customised according to Indian body type.

Johari has to his credit CA Business Leader – SME and Business Coordination House – Best Indian Private Label Initiative awards and Forbes India magazine has featured Nobel Hygiene has ‘Hidden Jewel’ recently. Johari in an interaction with Ekta Srivastava, Health Technology…

Please share the journey of Nobel Hygiene, so far?

Noble Hygiene started way back in the year 2000, offering two diaper brands, Teddyy (for babies) and Friends (for adults). For nearly a decade, he imported diapers from Israel, Taiwan, Thailand and China and sold them under his brands. By 2009, Johari decided to start manufacturing diapers to enforce high quality standards instead of relying on suppliers. He set up a manufacturing plant in Nashik, Maharashtra, and bought two $5 million Italian machines. In 2010, after Nobel Hygiene started manufacturing its own diapers, it began making Rs 20 crore in revenues. Today, with five Italian machines at its Nashik plant, the company’s revenues stand at Rs 125 crore. It caught the attention of Access India Fund in 2011, which invested $11.5 million for an undisclosed stake. Nobel Hygiene’s brands command a 65 per cent share in the adult diaper market and a 5 per cent share in the baby diaper market. The adult diaper market is worth about Rs. 400 crore, while the baby diaper market is about Rs. 4,000 crore and growing rapidly.

While coming up with any new product, what are the many points that you consider?

We want to be the No.1 disposable hygiene brand of India and hence we ensure that we do not compromise on the quality of the product and deliver what is required by the consumer by understanding their needs and the Indian climatic conditions and delivering a product which is best suited to them at affordable prices.

How Nobel Hygiene is different from the competitors in market?

Nobel Hygiene has carved a niche for itself in the adult diaper industry due to its quality and better understanding of the Indian body structure. A host of multinational players are existing in the market, but we enjoy a clear market leadership due to our quality and commitment to provide best-in-class hygiene products. So, quality and service is the biggest differentiator for us.

What are the company’s recent developments and launches?

We are into two different categories,

  1. Adult diapers – In adult diapers we have a brand called ‘Friends’ which has various variants like Easy Diapers, Premium and Ultra. In Friends we also have diapers pants, adult insert pads, maternity pads, under pads, bed bath towels. We launched new variant in Friends called, Friends Overnight which are specifically targeted towards seniors who are deprived of a good night’s sleep, due to incontinence and other health issues. The new product offers up-to 16 hours of absorption, to ensure that a user’s night remains unaffected, and his sleep uninterrupted.
  2. Baby diapers – In baby diapers we have a brand called ‘Teddyy’ which has various variants like Super, Easy and Premium. In Teddy we also offer different products such as baby wet wipes, baby diaper pants, baby nappy pads and changing mats.
    The recent addition to the existing range is Teddyy pant style diapers. Also, a) We have a natural lead in the nappies market for India. b) We have some of the best quality baby pull-ups in the market, c) Indian based, state-of-the-art manufacturing. d) Teddyy is growing in high double digits.

How Demonetization and Digitalization affecting businesses in India?

It is very bold and welcome move on part of the government, we need such reformative steps to curb the black money, which is detrimental to the whole economy and legitimate businesses and common man. Demonetization has not affected our business as we come in the category of necessity and not luxury or discretionary spending. We had a stiff competition from the unorganised players, but with demonetisation that problem has been taken care-off to a large extent. Digitalisation will benefit India in the longer run and we can move towards cashless economy, provided the government beefs-up the infrastructure on time.

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