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More than hygiene, Svish sanitisers offer a lifestyle upgrade

Co-founder & CMO Jaideep Mahajan talks about the newest kid in the sanitisers world

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NEW DELHI: It was a chance visit to Delhi from Toronto a few weeks before the Covid2019 lockdown was announced here that pushed advertising veteran Jaideep Mahajan to end his sabbatical and start a completely new entrepreneurial journey with Svish On The Go with founder and CEO Ishan Grover. A one-of-its-kind brand that is taking sanitisers to the lifestyle category, the company was launched in December after months of research, trials, and brainstorming sessions and within a few weeks has clocked sales of six lakh+ units, despite competing with hordes of established and young brands. In a recent conversation with Indiantelevision.com’s Mansi Sharma, Svish On The Go co-founder and CMO, Mahajan tells all about the brand, its vision, and marketing plans. Edited excerpts follow:

On taking the entrepreneurial route

I had already spent more than two decades in the advertising industry, working at all possible agencies, building so many top brands, and winning all possible awards before I decided to try something new. I moved to Toronto with my family a year ago. Interestingly, I came to visit Delhi for a small break in March when the lockdown was announced and I was left here alone with nothing to do. And for someone who belongs to the advertising world, it is almost impossible to sit idle because we are used to working a lot. It was the same for Ishan (Grover), who is a big name in the brewing industry. The business was shut and he too was looking forward to doing something valuable and interesting. Luckily, we knew each other from a previous project and we connected again. 

I was ever-willing to move to the other side of the fence and create a brand instead of just nurturing it for a client. So, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process of creating Svish from scratch and building something path breaking. 

On building brand Svish

Sanitisation, hygiene, and cleanliness were the buzz words when Ishan connected with me for Svish. Soon, there were new brands popping up everywhere. However, we were sure that we didn't want to do it just for the sake of jumping on the bandwagon. In fact, we wanted to create something that is in there for the long run and actually brings a differentiating factor to the table. 

So, we spent close to six months researching the brand, did many trials before zeroing down on the right partners and built Svish On The Go. Our idea was to create a brand that can become an active part of every person’s lifestyle – something that they can rely on while going out. Be it their visit to the gym, or restaurant, or workplace, we wanted them to see Svish as a trusted partner. 

Therefore, we put in a lot of emphasis on minor details like it must be eco-friendly, should have a pleasant fragrance, and the packaging should be presentable. We partnered with a number of facilities on a contractual basis within Delhi/NCR and Mumbai for the formulations. And these are exclusive to us. 

For the design, Ishan, I, and our in-house team worked together. Being from the creative side of the industry helped me crack the right look and feel, right from the shape of the bottles to the colours, logo, and the overall presentation. We are very proud of the product that we have created. 

We had started with a founder’s seed capital of Rs 1.5 crore and now we are in advanced-level talks with a number of investors to venture into the next leg of growth. 

On Svish’s brand positioning

As I said, we did not want to be just another sanitiser brand. In fact, we wanted to be seen as a lifestyle product, value addition to the everyday life of millennials. So, we are positioning ourselves as a premium lifestyle brand that enables you to settle in the new normal, promising hygiene and safety as you step out. Our products also have a flaunt factor to merge in the regular lifestyle of millennials. 

On sales and distribution

We have started as a digital-first brand and have our own website and social media presence to drive sales. Svish is currently present on at least ten leading online marketplaces including Flipkart, Amazon, and Snapdeal. Soon, we will be available on Nykaa and Big Basket as well. 

Offline, we are already present in 200-odd retail shops in the Delhi-NCR region. It will increase considerably in the coming weeks. In our next phase of growth, we are planning to take it to all big metropolitan cities in India, starting with Bengaluru, then followed by Mumbai, etc. 

On marketing initiatives

We are an infant brand, and also active in a category that is closely associated with the Covid2019 pandemic. Therefore, there are certain restrictions for us to go full-fledged with advertising on social and other digital platforms. And we are happily complying with all the regulations because we want people to trust us first. Also, it is very early for us to venture out on traditional platforms. I don’t see us taking that route at least for the next nine to twelve months. 

However, we are quite active on Instagram with a beautiful page. Our core plan is to strike an emotional chord with users and therefore you will see a number of real stories of people using our product on the page. 

We had launched with an interesting campaign “Svish karo aage badho,” tipping on the fact that people are tired of sitting at home. We promised them as a lifestyle partner that we will keep them safe whenever they step outside. Next, we are planning a number of crowd-sourced music videos, which we will be rolling out soon. 

Interestingly, we got a lovely response from the influencer community too. Though we haven’t done even a single paid collaboration thus far, we have sent out gift packages to a number of influencers active in various sectors. And they actually started using it and gave us shoutouts because they loved it; be it Hina Khan, Sumeet Vyas, or Riddhima Kapoor Sahni amongst many others. 

On further expansion

Obviously, we will keep our umbrella of products rooted in the core of hygiene and lifestyle. We are already working on rolling out some new fragrances for our marquee sanitisers. People have also asked us to launch smaller bottles that they can carry easily in smaller bags and we are working on that. Another suggestion that we are following is creating a mechanism for spray bottles caps so they don’t get lost. We are also in the process of innovating sanitisers for varied usages; for example, personal wipes.

Additionally, a face wash and a body wash are currently work-in-progress. They too are going to be anti-microbial. This is a flourishing category and we see a lot of scope for growth and improvement there. And we are focussed on achieving that.

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