Category Archives: Business


An interesting story to share…. I am sure most may have used Cinthol Soap during the years…


For the last several decades, Cinthol has been ruling the roost as the most popular mid-segment soap with its “in-built” deodorizer which beats competition by a mile.

What could have been the secret behind it which no other soap-makers were able to match for decades? Well, the secret lies in the 10 years of intense research carried out by Dr Burjor Godrej, who was so passionate about soap-making that he actually took it up as his thesis for PhD during the 1930s while pursuing higher studies at a prestigious University in Germany.

In 1939, as war broke out in Germany, Dr Burjor returned to India with his incomplete thesis, but continued working on it at Godrej which was headed by his father Pirojsha Godrej (Co-Founder of Godrej Group). Although he managed to submit the thesis at the German University after the war, he wanted to utilize that knowledge to develop an idigenous product of world class standards.

Dr Burjor Godrej had noticed that most of the working professionals in India, who were upwardly mobile, used to buy perfumes or deodorants as well because their soaps were not sufficient to tackle the tropical climate prevalent across the sub-continent. That’s when he decided to take up the challenge of producing a soap which could play the role of a deodorant as well, and carried out further research on various chemical combinations.

During his research, he found that a certain Phenol based advanced composition could be an effective deodorizing agent along with anti-bacterial properties, which could be combined with soap. In the early 1950s, Dr Burjor applied for a patent for the technique of producing soap using those Phenol based compounds, and started a new division in Godrej for the soap project. Since the Phenol based compound was produced synthetically, it was initially codenamed “Synthetic Phenol” soap.

When it was time to give a commercial name to the “Synthetic Phenol” soap, Dr Burjor Godrej combined the first few letters of Synthetic (SYNTH) and last few letters of Phenol (OL) to form SYNTHetic + phenOL => SYNTHOL. Just to give some youthful twist, he replaced SYN with CIN which still resulted in the same pronunciation (Synthol = Cinthol), and thus the final product called Cinthol Soap was launched on15th Aug 1952, and there has been no looking back since then.

How this Parsi boy is ensuring Mumbai’s iconic wafer ice cream sandwich reaches the masses

Tandy’s Creamery was founded in 2019. The brand wants to make wafer ice cream sandwich reach the masses. Despite the ups and downs caused by the pandemic, the brand’s revenue is touching Rs 7 lakh a month.

Mumbai’s famous vada pav, akuri on toast, Bombay sandwich, and Bombil fry aside, there’s one other specialty that Mumbaikars hold true to heart — the wafer ice cream sandwich that K Rustom’s has been serving up for more than 50 years.

This iconic dessert sandwich is rather simple in concept — a thick slab of ice cream between two crisp wafers. Since the 1950s, Irani ice cream parlour K Rustom’s has been proudly dishing out this legendary dessert from its single outlet near Churchgate. Mumbai-based Parsi boy Jehan Mehta, who had grown up savouring this dessert, always thought it was special.

After completing his college education in the UK, Jehan returned to India. He knew his heart was not in the corporate world, and was keen on pursuing entrepreneurship, but a good solid idea was yet to strike.

Soon however, inspiration did strike — on a visit to K Rustom’s to grab an ice cream sandwich. Jehan realised how the age-old brand had kept its legacy intact with a loyal customer base, and that was a eureka moment for Jehan.

In a conversation with SMBStory, Jehan recalls, “I thought, why not take the sandwich ice cream across Mumbai, and perhaps even pan-India? Opening a franchise store of K Rustom’s seemed like an exciting idea.”

Jehan returned to K Rustom’s the very next day, but this time with a business proposal. He claims, “They had no plans of expanding their business and they didn’t agree to a franchise either. However, I was too inspired to let it go, and so, I decided I would take the initiative to make sure this local dessert reached across the city.”

In 2019, Jehan founded Tandy’s Creamery along with his school friend Soham Jhaveri. They set up the factory in Mumbai’s Prabhadevi area from where they delivered orders. Now, the brand is opening its first outlet in the city’s densely populated area, Charni Road.

Ice cream sandwich for the masses

Jehan and Soham invested around Rs 75 lakh in total to set up an ice cream factory, bring in raw materials, and the required manpower. In January 2020, the duo began selling their ice cream sandwich online.

“We started out from Prabhadevi in Mumbai, advertising through social media, and of course, word-of-mouth helped too. We started getting a good response,” Jehan recalls.

Within the first two months alone, Tandy’s had sold around one thousand ice cream sandwiches.

Tandy's Creamery

Tandy’s Creamery wafer ice cream

However, before Jehan could start distributing to other areas, the pandemic hit India, followed by strict lockdowns that led to the closure of many businesses.

“We didn’t know how to react. We had invested some money and that was blocked. There were absolutely no sales for the next few months, and we were left wondering what would happen next,” admits Jehan.

Adding to the circumstances were all the fears associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, like people were increasingly worried about consuming cold desserts. The duo racked their brains to understand how to revive the business, and soon decided they had to pivot to stay relevant, which had them launching a B2B dairy besides running the ice cream brand.

Pivoting to sustain

Jehan discovered that local retailers were experiencing a shortage of milk. So, using his network and resources, he collaborated with a dairy farm in the outskirts of Mumbai to supply milk to retailers. Since this accidental foray, there has been no looking back.

Tandy’s Creamery soon started supplying milk and paneer to restaurants, hotels, bars, and more. And once the restrictions started easing and markets opened up, Jehan saw that ice cream sales were increasing too.

Today, Tandy’s Creamery sources 1,200 litres of milk for its daily supplies, and receives around 6,000 orders for ice cream every month. The founder claims the brand’s revenue is touching approx Rs 7 lakh a month.

With around 50 clients in its B2B business, the brand has also introduced regular ice cream packs for consumers and tub ice creams for B2B sales. 

Tandy’s wafer ice cream sandwich prices start from Rs 50 onwards. “We want to cater to the masses hence, we operate at a nominal price,” says Jehan.

He claims Tandy’s Creamery uses all natural flavours and is a vegetarian brand with no preservatives in its ice creams.

Challenges and the way ahead

Jehan is candid when he talks about his challenges, and says that supply chain is one of the biggest problems for SMBs like them in the industry.

“In the initial phase, we had to suffer a lot due to lack of cold-chain supply infrastructure for a small-level business like ours. But, we worked on it and now we have bought our own refrigerated van through which we deliver our orders,” he adds.

Although the brand has expanded in every way, Jehan is clear that his initial goal is yet to be fulfilled — he wants to ensure Tandy’s sandwich ice creams reach the nooks and corners of Mumbai by early next year. By December this year, Tandy’s Creamery would have two more outlets, one each in Churchgate and Andheri.

The company also plans to be available on food aggregator apps. Jehan also plans to introduce a sugar free ice cream range soon.

Tatas emerge most trusted Group, others lag far behind

Tata Group has emerged as most trusted conglomerate in the recent poll conducted by Equitymaster, an independent equity research firm.

The Tata Group has garnered 66 per cent of the total votes, which is more than double the number of votes (32 per cent), it had received in the last such poll conducted in 2013.

Interestingly, the 153-year-old AV Birla Group and Mukesh Ambani Group occupied second and third place with meagre vote of 5 per cent and 4.7 per cent of the votes, respectively.

A total of 5,274 people participated to vote on 17 large corporates based on their trustworthiness.

In fact, except for Tata Group none of the other 16 groups have been able to win the trust of over 5 per cent of the total number of participants, although many of these groups have moved up a few ranks from Equitymaster’s last poll conducted in 2013.

The Birla Group, Godrej, and TVS have moved up two ranks, the Mukesh Ambani Group jumped six ranks while the Rahul Bajaj group, which came in fourth place, moved up nine ranks from the last poll.

Another significant change in this year’s poll results was that only 2 per cent investors voted for ‘None of the Above’ category as opposed to 4 per cent in 2013.

The group that received the least number of votes (0.8 per cent) is the RPG (Ram Prasad Goenka) group, the company that owns Ceat Tyres.

The poll reveals that there is a huge gap between the winner and the rest of the corporate groups, said Equitymaster in a statement on Wednesday.

Rahul Shah, co-head of Research, Equitymaster said an increasing portion of a firm’s value resides in intangibles such as goodwill and reputation and when it comes to making intangibles tangible, nothing is more important than trust.

“The attribute flows from a company’s leadership through the organisation to its external stakeholders which ultimately increases profitability over the long-term. However, if not paid attention to, a lack of trust can have the opposite effect.”

Adi Farewell – By Nadir Godrej

Adi is my elder brother,
For good advice, there was no other.
He always took the greatest care
And in all things was very fair.
At school he was extremely smart,
Excelled in all, except for art.
For fame he never seemed to hanker,
In SSC he was first ranker.
Then Xavier’s college up to Inter.
He then had to contend with winter
As his next step was MIT,
Where, when just twenty-one, you see,
He was both Bachelor and Master.
And few have ever done it faster!
Once back home he started work.
No matter what, he’d never shirk.
This was way back in ‘63.
The years have passed as you can see.
His arrival meant rising hopes
For forty-year-old Godrej Soaps.
Just two crore was then the size.
And Adi set out to modernise-
MBA’s were soon recruited
And cars for managers were mooted.
The marketing was revamped,
And those who couldn’t change decamped.
He introduced cost accounting
And soon the sales started mounting.
But hair dye was his greatest coup
And over the years, it grew and grew.
The nineties then brought quite a change
The landscape now seemed very strange-
With multinationals at the door
We hardly knew what was in store.
Pepsi and Coke bought all in sight.
Should we sell or should we fight?
We chose a path that’s in between.
In hindsight now it can be seen
That Indian firms that learnt to hone
Their skills easily held their own.
But then we thought that we should seek
Strong partners or we would stay weak.
And so, we formed the odd joint venture,
Which proved to be quite an adventure,
We learnt a lot and that’s for sure.
It helps us still to endure.
An acquisition that was bold
Brought HI into our fold.
And many more were unfurled
As we spread around the world.
Though Godrej Soaps began to soar
On market price we couldn’t score.
Then our advisors thought it fit
That Godrej Soaps should be split.
GCPL came in to being.
And Adi, very quickly seeing,
The trend for better governance,
Put into place all at once,
With lots of help from CII,
Best practices that surely vie
With the very best in the world.
When our new stock was then unfurled,
It very soon began to fly
And to this day it still stays high.
GIL came into being
In recent days we are seeing
Our chemical business steadily rise
As we diversify and specialise.
Our new products should ensure
That the rapid growth will endure.
The shares we hold, as you can tell,
Are also doing very well.
In these companies at the start
Adi played a major part!
And so today one clearly sees
That now  Godrej Properties
Which he served with fealty
Has really arrived in realty.
For Agrovet, Animal Feed,
Can be considered our core creed.
But it was not always so
And many of you may not know
The way we stumbled into feed.
For compound feed they saw no need.
Then Buhler sought out L & T
Together they had tried to see
If a market might exist
There were no takers on their list.
They chose to make a clean swipe
But were left with a prototype
A discount customer was sought
And Adi was the one who bought.
Serendipity and not a vision,
Thus, gave birth to this division.
In time the business forged ahead
Geographically we chose to spread.
And on my watch, we diversified,
New businesses were then tried.
Over the years it has grown
And now it’s listed on its own.
But it was Adi who laid the seed
That permitted us to succeed.
Is Adi’s success because of skill,
Or is it more his iron will?
For Adi was always organised
And punctuality was prized.
By dusk his desk is very neat,
His paperwork is all complete.
Not agonising is the trick,
Decisions must be very quick.
Adi can’t stand the status quo
All novel things he wants to know.
And if he thinks that it is right
He puts in all his will and might
Behind the new initiative
And with support that he can give
We quickly learn the latest ways,
Make sure the group sees better days.
But while he strove for the group
The industry was in the loop.
He’s always ready to lend a hand,
Be President or take a stand
With government on policy
And he’ll persist till industry
Gets exactly what it needs.
And once he headed CII
Ensuring that it would fly high.
And anybody that you ask
Will state this is no easy task.
Requiring traveling incessantly
And persuasive advocacy
How he survived I’ll never know
In fact, he had a cheery glow.
And now of course we all see
We have a working GST,
A cause he pursued relentlessly
Almost monomaniacally.
And for this selfless contribution
He deserves his Padma Bhushan!
All who see him are inspired.
For all he does, he’s never tired
Where did he get the energy?
It shouldn’t be any mystery,
Adi of course, was very fit.
He didn’t seem to want to sit.
There’s not a sport, he hasn’t tried
For he can even paraglide.
He really loved to water-ski,
Not on a lake but on the sea.
And on a trip to Mt. Kailash,
Although conditions were quite harsh,
The mount was circled in a day.
Most folks his age would say, “No way”.
And none of us can fail to see
That he is full of energy.
He always set a rapid pace
As he led us in the race.
Though all of us most surely know
That we have many miles to go
But still we’re sure it can be done.
Indeed, this race must be won.
And if we stay on the proper way
And never let our value’s sway,
If all of us fulfil our roles
We will surely reach our goals.
A billion Indians, we can say,
Will use our product every day
And everywhere it will be seen
That we are great, good and green.
Adi’s spell was truly great.
The years he worked were fifty-eight!
But all good things come to an end.
Let’s hope we can maintain the trend.
He’s stepping down, as you can see,
The mantle has been passed to me.
His shoes are big and hard to fill
But with your support, I think we will
Continue well in the same way
As Adi did in his own day.
He will be Chairman Emeritus
And I’m sure he’ll merit us
With his presence and advice,
Invaluable beyond any price.
Now hearing praise can be quite tough,
I’m sure by now he’s had enough.
But all the same why don’t we stand
And then give him a rousing hand?
For service to both group and nation
He deserves a standing ovation!
August 13th, 2021

The Duke’s Story

Dinshawji Pandole, the Parsi founder of the Duke’s Cold Drink Company in Mumbai. Dinshawji originally was a School Teacher by profession, but his first love was the game of cricket and he was good at the sport. A great bowler, he led the historic Parsi Cricket Team that was selected to tour England in 1888. On that tour, he is said to have taken a total of 86 wickets in the series, using a particular type of ball he preferred, made by Duke & Sons. Shortly after he returned to Mumbai from the cricket tour of England, he inherited some money and decided to start a Soft Drink Bottling Factory. Since the Duke’s brand of cricket ball had proved so lucky for him, Dinshaw decided that would be an auspicious name for his Soft Drink Company as well. Since then, the taste of Duke’s cold drinks, particularly Mangola, has likely bowled many a maiden over..??

Fairness, Trust, Krauss Maffei and TELCO

JRD Tata and Sumant Moolgaonkar, with a replica of the locomotive that Krauss Maffei engineers helped build at Tata Motors (TELCO)

Fairness, Trust and Krauss Maffei

It was the year 1946. Germany stood devastated by the Second World War. The Allies had won the war, and many German cities, including Munich, had been severely damaged by the British Royal Air Force. Munich, the picturesque capital of the Bavarian region of Germany, and centre of the country’s diesel engine production, had suffered as many as 74 air-raids. More than half the entire city had been damaged or destroyed.

On one gloomy morning that year, at the Munich Railway station, stood the Directors of Krauss Maffei, the reputed German engineering Company. They were waiting for the arrival of their guests from India. Founded in 1838, Krauss Maffei was a leading maker of locomotives of various types, and an engineering company with a formidable reputation. Unfortunately, the Company now stood devastated by the World War, since their factories had been destroyed by the Allied Forces.

The guests from India got down from their train. They were Directors from the Tata Group in India. If you had been there, you would have seen JRD Tata, the young, tall, lanky Chairman of the Group, get off the train. And accompanying him was a forty-year old engineer, Sumant Moolgaonkar, representing TELCO (now Tata Motors). They had come to Munich for discussions with Krauss Maffei, regarding the manufacture of locomotives in India. What they found, instead, were scenes of destruction and ruin.

The Germans requested the Indians to take some of their unemployed engineers to India, alongwith their families, and provide them jobs and shelter. The Directors of Krauss Maffei are reported to have told the Tata Directors – “They are very skilled people. They will do whatever you ask them if you take care of them. They can also teach your people.”

This would have to be done without a formal contract, because the British, who were still ruling India, had forbidden Indian Companies from having any contracts with German Corporations, during those times of the World War. But this request was urgent, and compelling. Because in that year, with factories lying destroyed, unemployment in Germany was rampant, and the then German currency, the Reichsmark, had become almost worthless.

The Tata Directors agreed to this request, and assured the Germans that their people would be well looked after. The German engineers from Krauss Maffei then came to India, and they were provided good jobs and housing by the Tata Group. They were well taken care of, and they also rendered great service to Tata Motors. In 1945, Tata Motors had signed an agreement with the Indian Railways for manufacture of steam locomotives, and this is where the German engineers provided valuable technical expertise. They helped the Company manufacture locomotives, which were amongst the Company’s very first products.

In 1947, India became independent. In the 1950s, Tata Motors moved on to manufacture trucks in collaboration with Daimler Benz. Many years had now passed since that fateful meeting at the Munich Railway Station. Germany had substantially recovered from the ravages of the war, and the reconstruction effort had borne great fruit. In one of these happier years, the Board of Directors of Krauss Maffei was surprised to suddenly receive a letter from India.

This letter was from the Tata Group. It offered grateful thanks for the services of the German engineers, and it contained an offer of compensation to Krauss Maffei for the skills which had been transferred by the Germans to Tata Motors. Krauss Maffei was surprised, even taken aback at this offer. There was no legal contract, and therefore no obligation for the Tata Group to pay any compensation. In fact, I think, neither did this expectation exist, because the Tata Group had helped by providing jobs and shelter to the otherwise unemployed German engineers, during those dark days. So, the Germans were astonished, as they read the Tata letter.

This story was narrated many, many years later, in the 1970s, by Directors of Krauss Maffei, to Arun Maira, then a senior Director of Tata Motors. Arun Maira is one of India’s most respected and distinguished business thinkers today. In a thoughtful article that he wrote for the Economic Times in 2005 (thank you, Mr. Maira, for this wonderful piece), he recollects how two elderly German gentlemen met him as part of a business transaction in Malaysia, jumped up, shook his hands, and wanted to express their deepest gratitude to him. They then narrated to him this fascinating story, which, they said, is now part of their Company’s folklore.

One interesting and unexpected sidelight of this story occurred when Tata Motors was asked to provide a legally binding financial guarantee in the 1970s, but this was rendered very difficult because of the Indian Government’s regulations at that time. This matter was taken up to German bankers, who said that a guarantee on a Tata letterhead, signed by the Chairman, was more valuable than any banker’s guarantee.

I do not know what exact thoughts ran through the minds of Tata Directors in the 1950s before they sent that letter to Krauss Maffei, offering compensation where none was agreed upon or expected. But I think the Tata Group did this because it was the right thing to do.

The right thing to do is never defined by formal agreements or legal contracts alone. Neither is it defined by the expectations that others have of us. What is right is defined by our own high expectations of ourselves, by the culture of fairness and trust that we wish to establish. Are we being truly fair to the people and the Companies we work with? We always know, if we listen deeply enough to our inner voice, whether we are being totally fair and right. The Krauss Maffei story holds such a beautiful lesson for all of us.

Harish Bhat

Harish Bhat

Brand Custodian, Tata Sons. Passionate marketer, author and columnist. LinkedIn Top Voice 2019.

‘Taj’ rated as strongest hotel brand in world

The Taj is followed by Premier Inn at second place, Melia Hotels International (3rd), NH Hotel Group (4th) and Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts (5th). (Image: Indian Hotels Company Limited)

According to the ‘Hotels 50 2021’ report by Brand Finance, Taj topped the strongest brands list for having stood resilient in spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic, besides other achievements.

Tata Group hospitality firm Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL) on Friday said its ‘Taj’ brand has been rated as the strongest hotel brand in the world.

According to the ‘Hotels 50 2021’ report by Brand Finance, Taj topped the strongest brands list for having stood resilient in spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic, besides other achievements.

The Taj brand has re-entered the ranking for the first time since 2016 when it was at 38th spot.

Brand Finance, a global brand valuation consultancy firm, evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, customer familiarity, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation.

The Taj is followed by Premier Inn at second place, Melia Hotels International (3rd), NH Hotel Group (4th) and Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts (5th).

Commenting on the feat, IHCL Managing Director & CEO Puneet Chhatwal said,”Taj being rated as the World’s Strongest Hotel Brand is a testament to the unwavering trust our guests have consistently placed in us and the warmth and sincere care our employees have embodied day-after-day.”

He further said,”We will continue our endeavour to elevate the world class experiences of luxury hospitality and deliver the magic of ‘Tajness’ to all our stakeholders.”

Brand Finance CEO David Haigh said, Taj, a brand with a century old legacy and a custodian of the revered Indian hospitality has stood resilient inspite of the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic. Global travellers have relied upon and tested brands in different ways and Taj has emerged on top.

According to the report, Taj is renowned for its world-class customer service and the luxury hotel chain scores very well in Brand Finance’s ‘Global Brand Equity Monitor’ for consideration, familiarity, recommendation, and reputation especially across its home market of India.

“Taj’s successful implementation of its 5-year plan – which focuses on selling non-core assets, becoming less ownership driven and reducing dependence on the luxury space – followed by the speedy adoption of its new R.E.S.E.T 2020 strategy, which provides a transformative framework to help the brand overcome the challenge of the pandemic, has contributed to the brand’s re-entrance into the ranking for the first time since 2016 in 38th spot,” the report said.

When it came to the world’s most valuable hotel brands, Hilton topped the list despite recording a 30 per cent drop in brand value to USD 7.6 billion, the report said.

Hilton’s rival, Marriott dropped to 5th spot from 2nd (last year), after losing more than half of its brand value, down 60 per cent to USD 2.4 billion.

On the other hand, Hyatt checked into the 2nd spot with a 4 per cent increase at USD 4.7 billion, while Holiday Inn was at 3rd despite a 16 per cent dip at USD 3.77 billion and Hampton by Hilton at 4th with a decline of 26 per cent at USD 2.86 billion.

Building Theobroma

Kainaz Messman Harchandrai, co-founder and creative director of Theobroma shares her experience of starting and growing her company. Kainaz is accompanied by her mother, Kamal Messman and sister, Tina Messman Wykes as they share the joys and challenges of building India’s much loved and best known patisserie brand. In conversation with Delna Mistry Anand, a close family friend who is a meditation and well being coach based in Dubai. Delna shares her memories of the family and their business journey.

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