The increased air-conditioning space in a household and change in lifestyle are the two growth drivers that have been driving decade-old Ripple Fragrances to plan out national level expansion along with offering customised home fragrance products. An elaborate and exclusive chat with the Managing Director, Kiran Ranga, reveals more.
What is the brand ethos of Ripple Fragrances?
The brand philosophy of IRIS home fragrance is to create complete sensory experience including sense of smell and texture, so forth and so on. Our products are fragrance vaporiser, aroma candle and potpourri etc. We as a company has designed our competency in product and fragrance design. We offer home fragrance products which complement your home decor.
My bachelor degree in business and perfumery from UK also gives me an edge in this business. Moreover, as a family we have three generation of perfumer. I saw an opportunity in the home fragrance market. Agarbatti is mainly used during puja and I felt there is need of spreading fragrance in other parts of the home. Thereby, I wanted to build our strength in fragrance creation where Ripple Fragrance can fill up the living spaces with superlative aroma and experiences.
How the customer and the market have treated you since then?
Fragrance products are of two types. There are products those are body fragrance and there are products for the home. When it comes to Home Fragrance segment, there are certain aspects those are changing fast. There has been an increase in air conditioner and as long as there will be increasing use of air conditioner, there will be issue of bad odour. To tap this market need, we have increased our home fragrance offerings. Also, our lifestyle is more becoming stressful. People need to relax, de-stress more often now than before.
These home fragrance products help people unwind in soothing, fresh ambience which enables one to feel good and thus can relax. One can use aroma candle, vaporiser to feel good. Interestingly, people these days want more of these kinds of products and backed by the increasing knowledge of such products. People now know what air diffusers are.
What are the key challenging areas?
Lot of our products are handcrafted and are made in India. They are made by artisans. For us, one challenge is to standardise and scaling up of these products. Since handcrafted products are unique, it becomes actually difficult to standardise them. At the same time, there will not be exactly the same size; there will be variance in the size, texture etc. So, working with the vendors and artisans and making the products standardise, is a challenge that we need to overcome.
What are your differentiating factors to stay ahead of competitors?
For us, the differentiating factor is that we create our own fragrances. There are so many companies who get fragrances from different fragrance houses. There are 5-6 big fragrance houses worldwide who supply fragrances to most of the companies. For us, our fragrance is made of using generation of expertise and skills and passion for creating magical fragrances.
Second differentiating factor is that, the fragrance houses that I mentioned earlier are international houses so they don’t have the understanding of what customer choice for fragrance is in India. It’s been 70 years since we started in creating fragrances for Indian consumers and thus we have gained expertise in this area.
Fragrance creation and fragrance evacuation in the context of Indian consumers is our biggest strength. We also have built our competence in form design and product design. We make products that make sense for the Indian consumers. So fragrance design, product design and delivery system design these three works as strong pillars for us.
What are your retailing channels?
We have different channels of selling our products. We are almost present in the entire home decor or home improvements stores of India apart from the other retail stores like hypermarkets or focused retail stores like those have Green or Natural themed stores. Apart from retail, we also have our products for hotels and big corporate houses. Today we give our products to almost 120 hotels around India. Also, we also sell our products to lot of Pharma companies.
Also, over the last decade, Home Decor as a segment has evolved significantly. Now, there are a lot of companies like Home Centre, Evoke, @Home etc who only focuses on home accessories or home improvement products which is giving impetuous to our home fragrance products.
What kind of products you have for corporate gifting?
For corporate gifting we have air diffusers, we have fragrance candles, we have fragrance saches, we have incense or agarwatis, room spray, car freshner, or Potpourri.
Whom do you target for these products?
There are two large segments in corporate gifting. One is Pharma Company and then we have corporations who gift their employees during festive occasions. Like Diwali, Ganesha, gifting around New Years.
Do you design differently for different set of consumers?
We have our own design team. So including the corporate office, we customise the products and its packaging. We proposed standard products and based on the feedback, we make changes or customise the gifting products. We give customise packaging where the companies can have their branding, we use different aromas like orange flavour on the products as per their need.
What kind of expansion plans you have?
Our IRIS Boutiques are one stop destination for all need related to fragrance where you also can buy accessories. Where you can essentially buy fragrance products and home improvement accessories. As we run presently five boutiques, we plan to take the number of boutiques to 10 in the next two years. Our boutiques are very standalone, exclusive stores, where one can walk in and try different kind of fragrance products. Also, we have option of customising product fragrances in the boutiques.
Currently you can make your own potpourri but eventually we would like to see our customers come, have their preferred choice incorporated in a certain fragrance product. So customisation of fragrances and expansion in retail footprints are our two important growth plans.