"We were confident of fighting HUL": Mariwala
During the early years of Marico, its toughest competitor was none other than the mighty Hindustan Unilever (then known as Hindustan Lever). In his book, 'Harsh Realities - The Making of Marico', Harsh Mariwala, founder and chairman, Marico, narrates an incident when he got a call from the then Unilever India chairman Keki Dadiseth, ordering him to sell his hair oil brand, Parachute, to Unilever. Mariwala admits that it was indeed unnerving (especially when over 60% of Marico's revenue at that time came from Parachute), but he was clear that he would not sell out to HUL. "For me, running a business was more important than being monetarily happy. I wanted to continue working and expand my business."
Mariwala says that it was a risky decision, but after talking to people from the industry and to his team members he was confident of fighting HUL. "We were a strong brand and we understood the category well...we took steps to expand our distribution and we also came up with innovative advertising."