Urban consumers have always been the target market for many leading brands. However, it was the rural market that was considered truly profitable in the early years, as the demographic population was immensely large.

In the early 70s and 80s, there were brands that understood the importance of targeting the rural market as the consumer base was indisputably larger than urban cities. However, it was the high cost of products, especially home and wellness products, that was preventing brands from connecting with them.

Many of us might be aware of the ‘Sachet Revolution’ of the 1980s that helped consumer goods companies expand into rural markets. The revolution was of great significance in Indian history as it enabled poor rural consumers to buy expensive brands of everyday consumables such as soaps, shampoos, etc. in small bags at affordable prices. Now it has become an important part of retail packaging.

The man behind the revolution

The man behind the ‘Sachet revolution‘It was not from a multinational company, but from an Indian. Late Chinni krishnan, based in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, was the man who introduced the sachet concept to the Indian market. Only later did other leading multinational brands embrace the sachet concept.

Hoping to make luxury products accessible to the working class and the people, Chinni Krishnan came up with the idea to present products in small packages.

During the 1970s, talcum powder came in tin cans and was priced very high. Krishnan found a way to make it accessible to people from low-income groups. It packaged the content in smaller packages of 100g, 50g and 20g, and sold them at a much more affordable price. He started doing the same with Epsom salt and later decided to even test and pack liquid products in smaller quantities.

The birth of a bag

Chinni Krishnan experimented a bit before landing on the final product. First, he modified a machine that sealed PVC folders and then sealed one end of a transparent hose. After filling it with water, he sealed the other end.

The experiment didn’t work, but he kept trying different materials. Once he was successful in finding a material that would keep the product securely sealed inside, a sachet was created.

The first items she sold in sachets were hair oil, honey, and shampoo. He sold them locally in and around Cuddalore.

Carrying the legacy forward

Chinni Krishnan died in 1979 at the relatively young age of 48. After his passing, the family learned that the company had a 2 lakh rupee bank loan from the State Bank of India.

The bank then threatened the family with auctioning off their home, which was mortgaged if the loan was not repaid. Chinni Krishnan’s sons, Rajkumar and Ashok Kumar, a doctor and a lawyer respectively, decided to save their home. They quit their jobs and took over the business despite having no prior experience or knowledge.

The brother has started the Velvet International shampoo product that came in a Rs 2 sachet. Velvet International eventually expanded not only in India, but also overseas, and it worked phenomenally well.

It was Dr. Rajkumar who deserves all the credit for making the company a success. Today he is the youngest son of Chinni Krishnan CK Ranganathan, President and CEO of CavinKare that carries the familiar torch forward.

In 2018, YourStory recognized eminent men and women from Tamil Nadu who made a difference in their chosen vocations. The Legend of Disruption award was one of the highlights of the YourStory Disruptors Tamil Nadu 2018 event. For the first time, the late Chinni Krishnan received an award for his invention. His award was received by his four children.

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