Probably everyone’s ears in India would stand straight up for the most popular ‘Washing Powder Nirma’ advertisement tune. There is no one who does not identify this women-friendly song from the ’80s. After all, its ‘Washing Powder Nirma’.
The founder is as popular as the song is Karsanbhai Patel’s brainchild, Nirma the detergent powder, was a big hit in the Indian Market. The brand did not become an overnight success. A lot of dedication, hard work, and efforts of Mr. Patel have made this brand one of the top-class brands in the detergent industry.
Though not born with a golden spoon, Karsanbhai’s hard work and relentless perseverance made him one of the ace players in the market. Even in the wildest of imaginations, it’s really hard to imagine that a farmer’s kid would grow up to become such an inspiring and influential businessman who would change the way people look at detergent powders.
Karsanbhai was born in a small village called Ruppur in Mehsana, Gujarat. He had an affinity towards the manufacturing of detergent powders from a very young age. After completing his graduation in Bachelors of Science – Chemistry, he started his career as a lab technician at New Cotton Mills, Ahmedabad. The Cotton Mills was the inception of Kasturbhai Lalbhai, co-founder of Arvind Mills.
Karsanbhai was very competent in the areas of Chemicals, and that motivated him to join the Geology and Mining Department of the State Government of Gujarat in the year 1969. After this, he slowly started feeding his passion.
His first work floor was his 10x12ft room. He not only experimented in this room but also manufactured, packaged, and started selling the products as well. Mr. Patel carried packets of this handmade detergent on his bicycle and started selling them door-to-door on his way to the office. Competing with well-known brands like Procter & Gamble, and Hindustan Lever was no joke. The detergent powders and the cake manufacturing were completely dominated by these multinational corporations. He also implemented the ‘money-back’ guarantee policy to all his customers that bought the soap powder from him.
Karsanbhai’s detergent was sold at INR 3/- per kg. The consumers started liking the product as it was priced really less. Who would refuse to invest in a high-quality product at an affordable price? His detergent started to attract much attention alongside the other reputed brands.
After selling it for three years, Karsanbhai inaugurated his first shop in his hometown, Ahmedabad. Well, to popularise a brand it is important to name it, isn’t it? The yellow-colored detergent from Patel got the name ‘Nirma’ after his beloved daughter, Nirupama. His daughter had passed away in a car accident, and the enormous affection and love towards her came in the form of ‘Nirma.’
Buying expensive detergents was quite impossible for the lower-middle-class families. With Nirma being sold at INR 3/-, everyone started to fall in love with the brand instantly. The detergent powder followed by cakes became a major success in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.
The lovely lyrics and the rhythmic music of the brand Nirma popularised the advertisement too. Nirma became one of the most sought after products by a lot of house-wives. The lyrics of the song touched the emotions of women, and that’s what made Nirma a huge success in the Indian market.
Later, Karsanbhai came up with an eco-friendly formula that created a revolution in the detergent industry. The launch of phosphate-free detergents attracted consumers of all classes, and the other competitors also started implementing these ideas.
Nirma turned out to be one of the largest detergent selling companies in India within a decade of its launch. As of today, this company boasts of 35% and 20% market share in the world of detergents. Nirma Group also launched itself in the space of soda manufacturing as well.
Recognizing the talent, The Government of India appointed Karsanbhai as the Chairman of the Development Council for Soaps & Detergents twice. In the year 2017, Mr. Patel bagged 38th position amongst the other India’s wealthiest people. He is also a proud recipient of the Padma Shri Award.
For all those who are dreaming of taking their baby steps towards their dreams, the inspiring personality of Karsanbhai Patel would definitely feel it more. Industrialists like these have given rise to several other business tycoons with their tremendous passion for their goals.