A situation of extreme financial crisis led the patriarch of Bhavnagar-based Sheth Family to chart an unexplored area. Today two of family’s Ayurvedic products have made them famous all over the world.
In 1965, a young man from Bhavnagar arrived in Mumbai. With him, arrived dreams and expectations of his family members. Helped by his brother-in-law in Mumbai, this enterprising man came to sell Bhavnagar products in Mumbai. For this reason, he gave an ad in a Gujarati magazine. Economically, he was not very sound and could not afford ad expenses, but he took the risk.
The magazine hit the stalls the stipulated Monday but till evening not a single customer showed up at the Bhavnagar guy’s doorstep. The lad’s eyes welled up: what will happen now?
As they say, fortune favours the brave. By late evening, a big man appeared at the door and bought three bottles. In the following three days, about 200 bottles got sold.
The young man’s joy knew no bounds. Exultant, he called up his elder brother in Bhavnagar and shared the good news. His brother asked him to return by flight instead of train. Those days, airfare between Bhavnagar and Mumbai was about Rs 60. The young man got his first experience of flying.
Since then, the man and his family have not looked back. For, there were two things that the magazine and the man shared: quality and credibility. The magazine the young man advertised in, was Chitralekha and the man himeslf was the patriarch of the Sheth Brothers family, a name synonymous with Ayurvedic formulations. Their two famous products were Komal Gutika and Kayam Churna.
To those who are familiar with the city, Bavnagar is known for its good values, services, diamonds and the ship-breaking yard, to the outsiders, Bhavnagar is associated with Sheth Brothers and their product Kayam Churna.
Kayam Churna is now globally popular among Gujaratis spread across the world. Such enormous success does not come easy. It would not have been possible without a lot of sweat, enterprise and a total commitment to Ayurveda. It was Rasikbhai’s formula that helped build the Kayam Churna brand value. Though he is no more, the family’s reputation has not declined even one bit.
The family’s association with Ayurved goes back 150-200 years. Rasikbhai’s great grandfather was a Raj Vaidya (Ayurveda doctor associated with royal family) and the Bhavnagar royal family had bestowed upon him the title of Nagarsheth. Having their own business of provisional and essential items, they were financially stable. They had a buggy and a car but when Rasikbhai’s father Karsanbhai died at a young age of 36 years, crises came in from all directions. It was as if the family was besieged by some kind of evil influence.
Relatives distanced themselves and Rasikbhai’s mother, unable to bear the shock, fell ill. Being the eldest, Rasikbhai now had to fend for three brothers and four sisters.
Rasikbhai had knowledge of Ayurvedic medicine and his three brothers Kiritbhai, Kishenbhai and Ahsokbhai stood by him, but financially, things went from bad to worse.
Rasikbhai and Kishenbhai were diagnosed with tuberculosis. Both underwent treatment at the hospital. Even while recuperating in bed, Rasikbhai took care of others. Now it so happened that in this bed-ridden condition, he chanced upon a formula. In order to cure the bulging belly of women post pregnancy, he formulated a medicine. It was named Komal Gutika. It worked. He gave ads
offering cure for swollen stomachs. Demand for the medicine grew and money orders from Mumbai started pouring in.
Besides curing numerous women, the success of the medicine began to do wonders for the family. The family’s financial condition began to stabilize. Earlier, they had to borrow money on interest for running their family, now things brightened up.
Later the family made Bijorin Pachak Churna and it did well, but the year 1976 proved a defining year for the family. Rasikbhai observed that because of changing lifestyle and food habits, problems like gastric trouble, acidity and constipation were on the rise. He created a product that targeted all the three problems. And this product is Kayam Churna.
Kayam Churna was hugely popular. Though Rasikbhai died in 1980 at a very young age, but had a firm belief this Kayam Churna would one day change the destiny of the family.
His words proved prophetic. There are scores of purgatives available in the market, but Kayam Churna’s has cornered 50-55 percent of the market. Rasikbhai’s son Devendrabhai and younger brother Ashokbhai vouch for the fact that even after entry of MNCs in the market, Kayam Churna’s popularity is intact. And the sole reason for this phenomenal success is its quality.
Ashokbhai and Kiritbhai say that Kayam Churna is made very scientifically and they have retained its quality even today. Prices of herbs used in the product may vary, but they buy raw materials of high quality, which is tested as per the Ayurveda norms. There is no compromise anywhere.
Besides quality, credibility is a precious asset for this family. Believe it or not, according to Ashokbhai, some herbs used in Komal Gutika are no longer available now. Whatever is available has no quality and for this reason they have stopped manufacturing Komal Gutika for the past five years. Now since these herbs are available,So we have started the production of Komal Gutika.
For Sheth Brothers, Ayurveda is not business. Their motto is to ensure that people get good quality products. This explains the popularity of Kayam Churna. The daily production is 80,000 bottles and there are more than 700 stockists in India. The products are sold all over india.
For children, Kadvani Somva 34 is also equally popular. The formulation has a combination of 34 herbs. Sheth Brothers’ other products include Pratikar Churna, Sabrus and Yuva toothpowder. But Kayam Churna tops the list in terms of popularity. And this is the reason the family does not sell its products on credit. They sell against advance draft. Therefore there is no such thing as debit/credit in Sheth Brothers’ ledgers.
Committed to Ayurveda, Rasikbhai would sit in his shop or mingle with scholars to imbibe more on the subject. He would also roam around in the forest in search of herbals. His brother
Ashokbhai has preserved this legacy. Having inherited Ayurveda, Ashokbhai does a lot for propagation and awareness of the subject. Ashokbhai has compiled a voluminous 4-part book called the Herbs of Ayurveda. The book carries picture and characteristic of each herb and for this, Ashokbhai has scoured the forests of India as well as of Germany.
An encyclopedia on Ayurveda, the compilation is seen in the University of Ayush as well as every University of the country. Later, the book was published in Gujarati under the title Vasundhara. Ashokbhai tutors the students of Ayurved and also organizes exhibitions of herbs.
Rasikbhai’s third generation is now working with exemplary unity at Sheth Brothers. They have all inherited Rasikbhai’s commitment to social services also. Years ago, Rasikbhai had organized a camp on infertility in Ahmedabad and it gave good results.
Even today the family is committed to curing infertility free of costs. Devendra Sheth is associated with a number of social organizations in Bhavnagar. He also runs a Trust that has adopted a government school. The family had organized a plane trip from Bhavnagar to Mumbai for orphans and physically challenged children. He is a lover of plants and waters several plants at various places in Bhavnagar and yes, quite a few members of the family regularly take Kayam Churna once a week.
Once the family visited Dubai’s Gold Market that houses several shops owned by Gujaratis. While conversing, they mentioned that they were coming from Bhavnagar and their spontaneous response was: Oh! Sheth Brothers’ Bhavnagar!
Devendrabhai felt very joyous to see his product, lined with biscuits, at a store at a high altitude village near Shimla.
Rasikbhai’s brother Kiritbhai says that their motto is to take care of customer’s needs and never to compromise with quality. Profit is just a by-product of business. Incidentally four year ago, Sheth brothers were the highest income tax payers in Shaurastra.
This journey will go on. Devendrabhai says that they are presently busy with expansion. There will be a separate research and development department. Also, they are planning to enter cosmetic and beauty care products. Some drugs for diabetes are undergoing trial.
The family strongly believes that Ayurveda offers the right treatment and people are now beginning to believe in it. Today, many good and bad Ayurveda products are sold
in the market, but the Sheth Brothers have a clear policy in this regard. Their aim is not only to make money but also to improve people’s health.
Giving tips to young entrepreneurs, Ashok Sheth says that there is nothing more important than self-confidence.
Besides self-confidence you must have high thinking. You can’t have a negative approach. If you get disheartened, everything will come to a grinding halt. And never ever look upon anyone as inferior.
God has put in everyone some or other quality. You never know what you will gain from whom. And the most important thing is teamwork. Be it business or any other field, it is teamwork that gets you success.