Sameer Keny: Striving to offer that distinct fragrance of Goa
Susegad, the fragrance of Goa, will be completing a year in February 2020. Launched in Margao on February 17, 2019 at the hands of AYUSH minister Shripad Naik, the bunch of products in the fragrance industry have received overwhelming response from customers in the past 11 months, especially after online sales began in April onwards through Crescent’s website and through Flipkart. The word Susegad comes with the flavour and fragrance of Goa. The Kenys are tapping and capturing this fragrance of Goa and bottling it for those who welcome it and love it.
20th January 2020, 03:23 Hrs
We offer the fragrance of Goa through our products,” claims Sameer Keny, managing director at Crescent Fragrances Pvt Ltd that operates from its spacious 3000-sq metre factory in Cuncolim Industrial Estate since 1994, manufacturing aromatic chemicals in Goa. Crescent not only has scent in its name, but it also indicates fragrance. Expanding their product base from aromatic chemicals to perfumes, attars, air fresheners, fragrance oils, fragrance diffusers, natural essential oils, fragrance candles etc, Sameer has been the leading man, a dynamic entrepreneur and the first person in Goa to manufacture these products under their brand name Susegad.
Susegad air fresheners come in Forestwood, Freshenup, Goan Mischief, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Rose, Sandalwood fragrances. Their perfumes variety are Alpha Male, Calm Water Man, Calm Water Woman, Divine Blue Lady, Golden Magnet, Invincible Dude, Million Dreams, Sweet Poison and Tropical Twist. The attars that Kenys make range from Chameli, Kewda, Real Rose, Egyptian Musk, Fantasia, Jannat-ul-Firdaus, Fitrat-e-Hind, Mukhallat-e-Ameer, Natural Oudh, Kesar Chandan, Mujmuah Classic to Shamama.
The fragrance oils they make are Cedarwood, Basil, Jasmine, Lemon, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Orange, Sandal, Cinnamon Leaf, Spearmint and Geranium and their essential oils range is Basil, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Citronella, Citriodora, Clove Leaf, Eucalyptus, Frankinense, Geranium, Lemongrass, Nagarmotha, Palmarosa, patchouli, Peppermint and Spearmint.
Kenys also make nine types of fragrance candles that come in three varieties, six types of fragrance diffusers, 15 essential oils, 12 attars, 12 fragrance oils, nine air fresheners and nine perfumes. “We also offer gifting ideas in our showrooms at Margao and Cuncolim,” adds Sameer, recalling that the family is in the fragrance industry for more than half-a-century.
Sameer’s father Sudhakar Keny, a MSc in Organic Chemistry, has succeeded to pass his love for chemistry to his son (Sameer) who is at the helm of their business. Sameer’s son Rishabh, who is doing his BSc in Chemistry, also takes keen interest in the family business and helps out with the online presence of the company and its online sales. Sameer’s better-half Sushma is of great help when any new fragrance is added to their kitty or introduced in the market. “The chemistry between our family is excellent. That made this fragrant journey, which had its own ups and downs, happen,” states Sameer, a MBA in marketing from Pune University. His part-time diploma in Symbiosis Institute of Foreign Trade also came handy while handling his father’s sick business back home in Goa.
He recalls, “My father conceptualised the manufacturing business in 1994 and it took him four years to begin it. In those days, Indian economy had opened up its doors for global players and the market was full with imported finished goods. The fragrance industry started rattling up and eventually by 1999 our business dropped drastically, almost 80 per cent. We had a set up at Cuncolim but the state of the unit was bad. We owed to EDC Ltd (formerly known as Economic Development Corporation of Goa, Daman and Diu). There was no cash flow. It was during this phase that I quit my job outside Goa and returned home to handle the commercial aspect of our business.”
‘Quality our strong point’
Sameer who took the plunge and decided to return to Goa to handle the failing business of his father and pump in innovative ideas, focused on the market from 2000 and began developing the business. From 15-20 products he raised their range to 100 in just two years. With three customers their business went up to book 250 clients in just three years. “Our strong point was our quality, which always remained the best. That’s why even though our products were expensive than the market, customers preferred us. Our 35 per cent clients came from the agarbatti industry. We also catered to the manufacturers of attars, air fresheners, candles, flavoured supari, Flavour manufacturers and perfume brands. Today, we boast of 400 happy clients,” shares Sameer.
It took him five years to put things in place. “EDC, under the chairmanship of P F X D’lima, supported us by restructuring our liabilities and helped us turn around our sick unit. It was in 2013 that we became debt-free. In 2010 we had taken first step in backward integration and got into manufacturing and dealing in natural essential oils. We began job-working with farmers in Kundapur and Karwar, helping them with technology, steam distillation units and offering advance finance. We did buy back arrangement and contracts to buy their products. In 2014 we did forward integration, into fragrances, as I realised that there was no fragrance brand in Goa,” maintains Sameer.
Here, Kenys had two options, bottling (through jobworking) and manufacturing. Sameer took four-five years to research and decided to come out with his own brand of fragrances. He also thought of offering fancy designer bottles in various shapes and sizes – bell, butterfly, crystal, flower, frosted, lamp, peacock, pearl, pot, NRG, velvet, velvet box which are filled with perfumes of customers’ choice and gift-packed. He tried making premium attars too. As this collection grew and product base expanded, Sameer thought of launching their own Susegad brand in 2019. Rest is history. Today, Susegad is a known brand for Goans. Kenys plan to increase their outlets in Goa and outside Goa, and not entertaining dealerships.
“Those who wish to sell our products, can buy them in bulk from us and display in their stores. Currently resorts are our clients too. They gift our perfumes and attars to their guests as they check-out. We have corporate gifting orders as well. And our showrooms display attractive baskets and hampers for gifting. These come in all ranges and are handy for occasions and festivals. Our showroom in-charge in Margao, Sonali Naik, brilliantly hand packs these hampers and even customises according to the customer demand. I am blessed with a dedicated team of 10 at our factory, and a supportive family which is inclusive of our team,” smiles Sameer, happy that
he is offering wellness through fragrant living.
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