Maiden Distributors limited, a seasoned distributor of healthcare and pharmaceutical products has recently embarked on its journey in the baby care sector with its new business division- Sohii. Mommy & Baby Times had a detailed interaction with Abhay Goel, Head Business Development at Maiden Distributors Ltd., who takes us through a brief history of the company, the vision behind their business enterprise, and the baby care brands they are distributing in the Indian market.
November 25, 2019
Maiden Distributors is a leading name as the distributor for major pharmaceutical, skin care & health nutrition companies in India. Their business arm- Sohii is to cater and distribute the baby care brands and it is the exclusive distributor of international brands such as ZoLi, Dr. Ato, B&B, Little Rawr and Inujirushi for the Indian market.
MBT: Kindly brief us up about Maiden Distributors.
Abhay Goel: Maiden Distributors has been in this business for the last 36 years, and in its journey, has partnered with the leading pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, including Ranbaxy Labs, Sun Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and many more. Maiden is a family-run enterprise started in the year 1983, and since then, it’s been involved in distribution- providing products to more than 3000 pharmacies and has a network of 100+ dealers across India. We have recently started a business division- Sohii to represent the baby, beauty and healthcare products in India, majority of which are the imported from Japan, Korea and USA as of now.
MBT: What made you enter the baby care sector?
AG: We have been assessing and analyzing the baby care market segment from the previous six to seven years. After gaining knowledge and experience in marketing and distributing the baby skin care products, we became aware of the fact that the market is growing; however, it is still untapped in terms of opportunities to bring innovative products to the Indian market. There is a rise in demand for innovative products and brands which the millennial generation is asking for. This is the primary reason of our entry into the baby care market, and in fact, the 0 to 4 years segment is the biggest one in India as compared to any country. So, that’s why we are planning to bring in more baby care products, different innovative products which are unavailable in India.
MBT: Which are the international baby care brands that Sohii is distributing in the Indian market?
AG: We have partnered with Inujirushi, Dr. Ato, B&B and ZoLi to bring and distribute their products in the Indian market. These brands are from different parts of the world, while Inujirushi is from Japan, both- B&B and Dr. Ato are of Boryung Medience which is a Korean company and ZoLi is a USA-based brand. ZoLi was founded in the year 2008 and we have started distributing its products in the Indian market from 2018 onwards. The brand has a variety of items including the stainless collection of water bottles, food containers, and stackable containers; dishware; baby care products including feeding, teethers, and sippy cups; a variety of bags including backpacks and insulated lunch bags; and a range of accessories. In total, there are about 60 products of ZoLi that are available in India.
Dr. Ato was started in the year 1979 and it offers a line of hypoallergenic baby skincare products consists of wet tissue, lotion, hair shampoo, body soap and diaper cream, massage oils. There are three types of lotions, five types of wet tissues, so a complete skincare brand. B&B which offers hypoallergenic and infant-safe baby detergent and softener, feeding bottle cleanser, dental care products, stain remover and more. B&B- Baby & Basic is one of the leading Korean brands for infant-related household products and its products are free of harmful substances and made of natural ingredients only. Inujirushi is a famous Japanese manufacturer of a range of maternity wear and infant wear.
“We have partnered with Inujirushi, Dr. Ato, B&B, Little Rawr and ZoLi to bring and distribute their products in the Indian market… Inujirushi is from Japan, both- B&B and Dr. Ato are of Boryung Medience which is a Korean company, Little Rawr is an Australian Teether company and ZoLi is a USA-based brand.”
MBT: How do you foresee the growth of the Indian baby care sector in the next five to ten years from now?
AG: The growth of the baby care sector in India looks very promising and it is going to rise even further with time. According to the recent statistics, we might see a 15% growth year-on-year in the baby care market. And considering the vast demographics of India, since it is the second most populous country in the world after China, and more than 10% of the population is children below the age of 4 years, these factors would positively impact the growth in the baby care market in the country.
MBT: How are you distributing the baby care products in the market?
AG: For several products in the skincare and healthcare segment, we are distributing it through our partners who are into pharmaceutical and healthcare distribution and with whom we’ve been associated with since long. For the product categories which are new to us such as homecare and clothing, we have partnered with baby care distributors. We are selecting distributors locally and regionally, who can do their own offline marketing and sales in their respective regions. And on the online platform, we have partnered with leading online marketplaces such as Amazon, Flipkart, FirstCry and Hopscotch.
“Our goal for the next two years is to bring at least 7 to 8 international brands which are ingenious and innovative to the Indian mothers and babies.”
MBT: As the company has a long-standing experience in the pharmaceutical business, how do you think it will help in your venture in the baby care segment?
AG: Our experience and knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry is indeed helping us a lot in our new venture, because a lot of our products are going through the same channel which is the pharmacy channel. For instance, a lot of baby care products such as skincare, feeding products, food & nutritional products and diapers are usually found in pharmacies. Also, our age-old partnerships and rapport in the market is greatly fostering us in diversifying into different avenues and it is also helping us in channelizing and marketing the product in the right way. And we are largely focussing on reducing the gap between demand and supply of healthcare products.
MBT: What are the future expansion plans for Sohii?
AG: What we are doing is we are partnering with brands, most of which are international and are involved in the different sectors of baby care, such as clothing, modern care family products, feeding and skincare products. Our goal for the next two years is to bring at least 7 to 8 international brands which are ingenious and innovative to the Indian mothers and babies.
MBT: What are the certain challenges that you are facing in the business of baby care products in India?
AG: The first and foremost is the availability of many counterfeit products in the market which is evidently of a very low quality. However, it is also true that most parents would know and recognize the difference between original products from a counterfeit one and they know what an ideal product is for their baby. And, the recent increase in the fees for the imports for skincare and healthcare products by the government is also one challenge that we are facing.