Kerala-based Vasudeva Vilasam manufacture Ayurvedic products and is known for hair oils, body oils and tooth powder. The traditional business produces over 500 Ayurvedic products with over 40 patents.
Founded in 1884, Vasudeva Vilasam is a traditional family business established by Vaidya N Vasudevan Unni to promote and encourage Indian consumers to adopt the ancient practice of Ayurveda, called Asthavaidya.
Being the officially appointed doctor of the palace, Unni started practising in the palace in the 1870s. Significantly, there was a huge temple in front of the palace, where Brahmins used to bathe in a pond in the temple premises, before offering morning prayers. As Unni was residing near the temple, he initiated to offer a spoon of Ayurvedic oil for hair and body along with a tooth powder to the Brahmins to beat the ill effects of cold pond water.
Later, the ritual was transformed into a business practice by Unni’s son by and the tooth powder and oils for body and hair became star products of the Vasudeva Vilasam.
At present, the seventh generation scion, Dr. Pradeep Jeothi, who is the current Chairman and Managing Director of the Ayurvedic conglomerate, is taking the baton forward.
In an exclusive conversation with WI Bureau, Dr. Jeothi shared, “When we started growing, our founder's nephew started manufacturing these three products at home and started selling them. A lot of repackaging started happening 20 years back.”
Here is the business DNA and more shared by Dr. Jeothi about his family business. Edited excerpt:
Present product offerings
We are selling the same three products, with new branding and repackaging to appeal the masses. Hair oil is known as Amalakesh which we branded 10 years back. The body massage oil is a combination of three different oils and is named as Ojass, Thejass, Srothass.
Market presence and expansion plans
Our presence is across Kerala and most of the southern regions of India. The products are only available online at vvmart.com. Amazon is also selling some of our products. As the demand rises, we will expand our product line. Earlier, we had three products, now we have around 500+ products for different segments like massage oils, hair oils. We use natural ingredients for our soaps.
Branding and repackaging
A lot of our products have been used by foreigners and they said that when your product is so good, why don’t you change the packaging and make it more appealing. Packaging makes a lot of difference. 20 years back, we started a factory where we started packaging our products in a much modern way and started selling it in different ways.
Foray into new categories
We have different types of categories like healthcare, wellness and fitness products. We have entered the food supplement market too which we want to market across India. We are using millets to form these.
As far as quality is concerned, we are a very strong brand. We do not compromise on the quality. We use genuine products. We are going to identify raw materials in a proper way. I am sure that we can build a very strong brand.
We have two manufacturing units on the outskirts of Trivandrum and we are thinking of setting up two more factories in Karnataka and Uttarakhand.
This has happened about 10 years back. People started realising the potential of Ayurvedic products and medicines, especially after our products hit the global market and gained acknowledgement from the international consumers. We export to different countries like Russia, Germany, Italy and several European countries. They started liking our products because our products do not have any side effects and they do not contain any preservatives or chemicals.
Expansion in Indian market
We are planning pan India expansion. I am visiting Uttarakhand and we source raw material for our products from this region. We wanted to expand to the northern market ever since we started selling our products online. There are a lot of people from the North who purchase our products and we see huge demand in the region here. That is why we are coming to different places in the North.