The kitchen is often called the heart of a home, and for Stovekraft Limited, that sentiment has been at the core of its remarkable journey in the world of kitchen and home appliances. Established in 1999, Stovekraft is a leading name in the industry, with a diverse portfolio of over 600 products, catering to the needs of millions of households not just in India but across the globe. From its humble beginnings as a manufacturer of LPG components in Bangalore, the brand has evolved into a household name offering innovative kitchen and home solutions.
In an exclusive interaction with IndianRetailer, Rajendra Gandhi, the Managing Director of Stovekraft Ltd, we delve into the brand's origin story, its remarkable expansion into new product categories, the role of technology in its growth, its unique approach to retail and distribution, marketing strategies, and its financial performance. As Stovekraft continues to sizzle in the market, Rajendra Gandhi also shares insights into their future plans and the direction the brand is headed in.
A Kitchen Revolution: The Origin Story of Stovekraft
In 1999, Stovekraft embarked on its journey in the world of kitchen appliances from a small facility in Uttarahalli, Bangalore. Initially, the company focused on manufacturing LPG components that were supplied to other kitchen appliance brands. However, in 2000, Stovekraft took a significant step by venturing into manufacturing LPG stoves, followed by cookers. Over the years, the brand expanded its product offerings and gained a dominant position in the kitchen and home appliances industry. In 2021, Stovekraft achieved another milestone by getting listed on the NSE and the BSE, highlighting its growth and market prominence.
Gandhi comments, "Our journey has been nothing short of phenomenal. We started small, but our unwavering commitment to quality and innovation paved the way for our remarkable evolution."
A Diverse Range of Products
Stovekraft's journey from LPG components to a kitchen and home solutions brand has been marked by continuous expansion. The brand now offers a wide range of products under its own brands and in-licensed brands, with a focus on four major brands: Pigeon, Gilma, Black & Decker, and Pigeon LED. The product categories encompass pressure cookers, non-stick cookware, gas and induction cooktops, mixer grinders, chimneys, and hobs.
Stovekraft's extensive distribution network, which includes 25 Super Distributors, C&F Agents, 300 Distributors, and 61,000 Dealers, ensures its products are accessible to consumers across the country.
Gandhi emphasizes, "Our aim is to offer premium kitchen solutions that cater to the diverse needs of our customers. We have evolved from being a component supplier to a one-stop kitchen solution provider."
Innovation and Technology
Technological advancements have played a pivotal role in Stovekraft's growth. The brand is dedicated to producing energy-efficient white goods, advanced cooking appliances, and health-centric appliances. These innovations not only reduce energy consumption but also offer features like oil-free cooking and precise temperature control, meeting the evolving needs of consumers.
A groundbreaking achievement for Stovekraft is the introduction of its automated warehouse. With the capacity to handle up to 1,000 product varieties, this cutting-edge facility is expected to increase sales by 200 percent by 2026. It features an advanced Warehouse Management System, which precisely identifies product locations, ensuring efficient distribution.
"Technology has been a game-changer for us. It enables us to provide quality, energy-efficient products to our customers," the MD affirms.
Meeting Changing Consumer Habits
Stovekraft has adapted to changing consumer shopping habits by opening company-owned and operated retail stores, including 54 stores in southern markets in FY 2022-23. These stores provide invaluable insights into customer preferences, which drive innovation and product development. The brand's products, including choppers, air fryers, spin mops, and slow juicers, have bridged the gap between desire and necessity.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a significant shift in consumer mindset, with more people choosing to prepare delicious meals at home rather than dining out. Stovekraft was quick to meet this demand with its innovative products.
Stovekraft's retail success is evident in its impressive growth rates. The brand recently celebrated the opening of its 100th store in South India within just 14 months, a milestone achieved by a few. The average quarterly growth rate for the past four quarters has been a remarkable 166 percent, emphasizing the brand's retail segment's flourishing status.
The brand's exclusive brand outlets have attracted a discerning customer base that significantly contributes to the brand's growth. This demonstrates the brand's ability to cater to a wide range of market segments effectively.
Unique Marketing Strategies
Stovekraft's well-recognized brands, innovative products, and strong distribution network have been the driving forces behind its brand identity. The brand focuses on improving customers' lives through its thoughtfully designed products. The approach has allowed Stovekraft to secure a substantial market share.
Moreover, the brand positions itself as a brand dedicated to offering high-quality products at attractive prices. This approach has nurtured a cycle of positive consumer experiences, strong brand loyalty, and diversification into new categories. The brand prides itself on key differentiators, including delivering value to customers, and maintaining quality and cost consistency through manufacturing, and robust distribution channels.
"Stovekraft's differentiators are the pillars of our success. We focus on providing quality and affordability to our customers," Gandhi emphasizes.
The D2C Approach
Stovekraft's embrace of a direct-to-consumer (D2C) approach has played a pivotal role in elevating brand equity, expanding its presence, showcasing the product range, and cultivating a loyal customer base. The establishment of exclusive brand outlets has been instrumental in enhancing the brand's market share.
Rajendra Gandhi comments, "D2C has allowed us to connect directly with our customers, understand their preferences, and offer them the best kitchen and home solutions."
Stovekraft's financial journey has witnessed growth and resilience, despite challenges. In recent years, the brand faced fluctuations in import prices from China and supply chain constraints. Nonetheless, it has continued to grow, with revenue from operations in FY17-18 at Rs 530 crore and an impressive EBITDA growth at a CAGR of 101 percent year-on-year between FY15 and FY18.
Looking ahead, it is forecasted to continue its growth, with a projected earnings and revenue increase of 35.4 and 13.5 percent per annum, respectively.