There is no better known Indian brand than Godrej in the context of cricket and Bollywood as Sachin Tendulkar and Amitabh Bachchan are in those fields. It goes without saying that Godrej is the name that comes first to mind when it comes to locks and cupboards. However, do you know how this well-known brand came into existence? How long has this company been in existence, where did it start, and where is it today? Is it possible for you to answer these questions? The whole story of this Godrej will tell you the answers to your questions, if you don’t know, then that’s okay, we’ll tell you everything.
So let’s start the story of this famous brand.
A lawyer is the protagonist of the story
An attorney whose principles were 100% in line with those of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is the protagonist of this story. Advocacy professionals are prohibited from using lies. Despite his principle of truth, this lawyer soon stepped away from advocacy in East Africa because he understood it did not meet his needs. Ardeshir Godrej was his name. Upon saying goodbye to law and returning to India in 1894, this Parsi boy began a new life.
Loaned 3000 to start a business
As with most Parsi people, he had to try his hand at business, but he started his career working as a chemist’s assistant in a pharmaceutical firm. After he became disillusioned with his job, he decided to make surgery blades and scissors for a living. A respected Parsi society member, Merwanji Mucherji Cama, lent him 3 thousand rupees to finance this. Unfortunately, he was unable to succeed with this business.
A failed business venture
You would be proud of him for his stubbornness behind the failure of his business. Actually Ardeshir had to make surgery tools for a British company. These tools would be sold by the same company. There was an agreement on everything, but there was a problem with the country’s name. Despite Ardeshir’s desire, the British were not ready to allow him to write “Made in India” on his products. The product would not sell if it was marked ‘Made in India.’ Ardeshir Godrej’s first business was closed because a screw got stuck here.
Disaster uncovers opportunity
Perhaps destiny had taken such a decision because Ardeshir had to do something different. This was the reason that even after his failure, he did not despair. A news published in the newspaper changed the fate of Ardeshir. According to this news, the incidents of theft in Bombay had increased a bit. In this regard, the Bombay Police Commissioner at that time told the people that ‘all the people should make their home and office security better.’
Although this was simple news, Ardeshir saw it from the business point of view and decided to make locks while finding opportunities in the disaster. Locks were already present in the market but they were made by hand which were not very secure. In such a situation, Ardeshir decided to make such locks which are safe.
However, for this he needed funds again and he once again reached Merwanji with his idea. It was the courage of Ardeshir that without repaying the previous loan, he again reached to Merwanji Cama to ask for the loan. But luck favored him and Cama was impressed by his idea.
Ardeshir got a loan from Merwanji and started building locks there by taking a 215 sq ft godown next to the Bombay Gas Works. With this the Godrej Company was born. Although it did not guarantee the safety of the locks at that time, Godrej took this risk and started selling the locks with the agreement that ‘every set of locks and keys is unique. No other key can open this lock.
A lucky streak
The amazing thing was that people trusted Godrej and seeing Godrej’s locks became a new example of trust. When the business of locks started, Ardeshir started stepping into other business as well. The foundation of the next business of Ardeshir and Godrej was also laid on the problem of economic security of the people. People in the rich city of Bombay did not have facilities like bank lockers then. They had to keep cash and jewelery at home. In such a situation, Ardeshir came up with a plan to make such a cupboard in which people’s money could be safe and thieves could not break it easily.
Once again, the wardrobe performed miracles
After months of brainstorming with the engineer and his craftsmen, Ardeshir decided that he would make a cupboard that would be made of iron sheets without cutting. Godrej’s wardrobe came in the market in 1902. Ardeshir’s hard work once again paid off. Seeing this, this wardrobe won the trust of the people and once again people’s faith in Godrej increased.
An endless stream of new businesses
After locks and cupboards, it is very difficult to count how many brands Godrej has stepped into and succeeded. The world’s first vegetable oil soap in 1918, furniture business with cupboards in 1923, 17 lakh ballot boxes for the first Lok Sabha elections in 1951, Cinthol soap launched on Independence Day in 1952, became the first Indian company to manufacture refrigerators in 1958, 1974, introduced liquid hair color products, entered the real estate business in 1990, entered the farming business in 1991, bought Translecta, the maker of the 1994 Good Night brand, and then in 2008 built the launch vehicle and lunar orbiter for Chandrayaan-1 .
Ardeshir Godrej, who founded the Godrej Group after it failed at making a surgery blade, now has over 20 business lines. Besides selling their products in over 50 countries, Godrej also operates their own manufacturing plant. It is estimated that their combined market capitalization is around Rs 1.2 lakh crore.
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