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VICCO - an ancient Indian science at an affordable price

As India awakened to freedom in the mid 20th century, the 50 year old Keshav Vishnu Pendharkar, who owned a grocery store in Nagpur, wished to participate in the nation's growth story by establishing a pan-India brand. Since most of his relatives were Ayurvedic practitioners, he felt it was time to utilize their contacts & knowledge, to promote ancient science at large-scale within India as well as abroad.


To fulfill his ambitious entrepreneurial plans, Keshav Vishnu Pendharkar shifted to Mumbai and established a company with its corporate office at a Chawl, while a tiny garage served as his first factory. When it it was time to name the company, he simply named it after himself, and registered it as "Vishnu Industrial Chemical Company (V-I-C-CO)'', which was soon shortened to VICCO for better brand recall.


For the next few months, he went through hundreds of ancient texts to understand the science of Ayurveda, and with the help of his relatives (who were already Ayurvedic practitioners), came up with low-cost yet effective formulations for toothpowder based on herbs & beauty cream based on turmeric. He even went on to use his toothpowder formula to develop a paste which in fact became the first ayurvedic toothpaste in the world!


However, the initial years were highly challenging, as Pendharkar & his children used to work as door-to-door salesman to promote their ayurvedic products, and were met with skepticism, as centuries of oppression & brainwashing by invaders & imperials had led to negative impression about ayurveda (as a quackery) especially in cities. Moreover, potential customers were hesitant to try the turmeric based paste, as they feared their skins would turn yellow upon its usage.


That's when the Pendharkar family came up with an innovative idea of live demonstration at each house they visited, where they used to apply the cream on their own skin to allay such fears. These measures helped boost customer confidence, and over time, with word of mouth, as well as aggressive marketing (Cinema hall advertising, TV show sponsorships, overlay ads in video tapes, etc), Vicco made further inroads and became a household name.


Today, Vicco is a Global MNC with a wide range of ayurvedic products in Dental as well as Beauty segments, produced strictly in accordance with the ancient texts which are the national heritage of India. With exports to more than 50 countries around the world, it has been fulfilling the vision of Keshav Vishnu Pendharkar, who wished to promote the ancient Indian science at an affordable price to every person in the world.

Story by
Guru Prasad

Guruprasad (or “GP” in short) is a Chief Engineer & Technology Mentor by profession and spends a...

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