RSH Global: A 35-year success story of redefining personal care in India with passion and dedication

RSH Global’s narrative began 35 years ago with a failed talcum powder business and a loan of Rs 15 lakhs. SME Icons tells the story of Sunil Agarwal, a chemistry student who went on to become one of India’s top names in the personal care industry

RSH Global a 35 year old business in personal care industry

In the ever-evolving world of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), there are a few trailblazers who have not only carved a niche for themselves but have also transformed the landscape of the industry. This is the journey of one such luminary, Sunil Agarwal, whose unwavering determination and curiosity propelled him to build the RSH Global Group, a giant of the personal care industry. 

Agarwal envisioned RSH Global from the outset as a brand that would adapt to consumers’ changing requirements by providing high-quality personal care goods at reasonable prices. As a result, in just a few years, this multi-brand house with renowned personal care brands such as JOY, X-Men, and Karis has become a vital part of the lives of millions of Indians, with JOY maintaining the flagship brand.

Building a legacy 

As a chemistry student, Agarwal’s interest in the field coincided with his family’s heritage in the wholesale business in the personal care arena.

“We had a family wholesale business in the personal care category. Hence, I got exposure in this category. This exposure complemented my inquisitiveness as a student of chemistry. I was also curious about the consumer decision-making process. All of these led to my passion for starting a personal care brand,” he says.

Despite facing adversity during his initial venture, he displayed resilience and turned failure into a stepping stone towards success.

“I was devastated and uncertain about what to do next. However, I turned to my brother for help, and he gave me a second chance by extending additional funds for another six months. I was grateful for his trust and support. This was when the JOY brand was born, and has gone from strength to strength since then,” he reminisces. Today, RSH Global has become synonymous with the JOY brand.


Learnings and inspiration

Agarwal’s leadership style is marked by his commitment to fostering a culture of collaboration and empowerment within his organisation. Talking about his journey, Agarwal shares with us some of the biggest lessons that he has learned.

According to him, the quality of your products should be the core of your business without any compromise. Also, building and empowering a team that supports the business and being innovative and future-ready are some of the basic requites for any business to flourish, he says.  

His passion for his work and observing the ever-evolving needs of consumers have been keeping Agarwal motivated for the past 35 years. “Identifying a range of products that will be a good fit for them inspires me regularly. I believe in the almighty, I believe in destiny, and I believe in hard & smart work. That is the inspiration that motivates me in hard times,” he enthuses.  

Creating consumer-centric solutions 

When asked about the philosophy behind the success of JOY, Agarwal emphasises the importance of being consumer centric, saying that understanding the needs and aspirations of consumers is crucial for any business to thrive.

“Our aim has always been to deliver products that bring joy and enhance the lives of our consumers. We constantly strive to stay ahead of the curve by anticipating their evolving preferences and tailoring our offerings accordingly,” he avers. 

Consumer-needs identification is a trait of RSH Global that has given birth to their other two brands, X-Men and Karis. Different cultures, diverse faiths, beliefs, tastes, habits, lifestyles, and preferences need customized offerings for different markets. Speaking of which Agarwal says, “Understanding very well that there is no one offering that fits all, Karis was introduced as a brand to satisfy the needs of diversified geographies.” 

Another example of RSH Global being consumer centric is that it understands that nowadays people spend more time at home and focus a lot more on self-care, due to which the demand for high-quality skincare products has significantly increased. Hence, JOY provides skincare solutions that help maintain the natural beauty of women without promoting unrealistic beauty standards.  

Innovation sets RSH apart

One of the key factors behind the enduring success of RSH Global and JOY is their commitment to innovation. The chairman of the group firmly believes that staying stagnant is not an option in today’s competitive market. “Innovation is at the heart of everything we do. We constantly invest in research and development to bring breakthrough formulations and packaging designs to the market,” he says. 

This commitment to innovation is exemplified by JOY’s diverse product portfolio, ranging from hair care, skincare, and personal care to baby care and fragrances. Through a combination of cutting-edge technology and in-depth consumer insights, RSH Global has been able to introduce products that cater to the diverse needs of consumers across various age groups. 

For example, it has launched new and innovative serums that provide targeted solutions for a range of skin concerns.

Social responsibility and sustainability 

Sunil Agarwal recognises the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability in today’s business landscape. RSH Global has implemented several initiatives focused on empowering communities, promoting education, healthcare and conserving the environment. He believes that sustainable growth goes hand in hand with social responsibility, stating, “As responsible corporate citizens, we strive to make a positive impact on society. We believe that long-term success can only be achieved by creating shared value.” 

Milestones achieved 

RSH Global has achieved many significant milestones in recent years, such as the company setting up its third state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, which will require an estimated investment of Rs. 70 crores. JOY is proud to be the associate sponsor of KKR for two consecutive years & of Delhi Capitals for the inaugural season of the WPL.  

JOY, a believer in women empowerment has hired an acid attack survivor. It has also launched specialized skincare solutions for acid attack survivors, demonstrating its commitment to providing accessible and inclusive personal care solutions to all. “These developments reflect RSH Global’s strong commitment to innovation, growth, and social responsibility, ensuring that it continues to remain a leading player in the personal care industry,” Agarwal affirms.  

A JOYful future ahead 

RSH Global has charted an ambitious roadmap for growth, centred on expanding their footprint in India and beyond and introducing a range of innovative products.  

With a keen focus on innovation and excellence, the company is dedicated to driving key initiatives that will enable it to realize its long-term objectives. These priorities include sustained investments in research and development, expanding its distribution network, and enhancing the visibility of its brand.  

As part of its growth strategy, the company is proud to announce the establishment of its third state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh. This cutting-edge facility is slated to begin operations in February-March 2024, providing a significant boost to the company’s capabilities.

“Currently, around 10 per cent of our business comes from international markets, and we expect this figure to rise to 13 per cent within the next three years,” Agarwal tells us.

India’s personal care market has a bright future 

The outlook for personal care brands in the Indian market is highly favourable, presenting significant opportunities for growth. India’s personal care segment was reported to be worth around US$ 13.74 billion during the financial year 2022 and is projected to achieve a market size of US$ 23 billion by 2025.  

“Online sales, which presently account for approximately 10 per cent of our company’s total revenue, are set to increase to 20 per cent within the next three years,” says Agarwal.  

Speaking of the future, he says, “We expect to achieve the target of Rs. 1000 crores of revenue in the next 3 yrs. While there are a significant number of players in the mass premium and premium categories operating in the online space, there is a noticeable gap in the mass segment, which our company intends to fill with its unique offerings.” 

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