How this Indori startup is changing the hospitality industry

Have you ever imagined that the soaps or gels you are using in Marriott, Hilton or Sheraton are manufactured by whom?  It is most likely that these hotel toiletries are manufactured by Kimirica Hunter International, an Indore-based start-up.  This company has a number of hospitality clients across the globe.

About Kimirica Hunter

The brothers Rajat Jain (34) and Mohit Jain (31) launched the company in 2013. At that time they were working out of a small, 100 sq ft room. The duo had bad debts and faced a huge cash crunch.

It now claims to be India’s largest manufacturer of luxury hotel toiletries and guest room amenities. Kimirica Hunter International is now worth Rs 300 crore and records a turnover of around Rs 90 crore. It also serves a large number of international hotel chains such as Marriott, Starwood, Hilton, Jumeirah, Hyatt, Sofitel, Pullman, Westin, Le Meridien, Sheraton, Fairmont, Radisson, St Regis and an array of independent luxury hotels. Their finest quality guest toiletries are developed with natural formulations using natural actives, pure essential oils, exquisite natural fragrances, 100% paraben-free preservatives. They have eight, manufacturing setups across the globe which helps the international hotel clients to enjoy global amenity programs with localized benefits & prompt customer service.

In 2017 Kimirica had joined hands with Canadian hospitality product manufacturer Hunter Amenities, from where it gets its complete name ‘Kimirica Hunter.’ It is one of the world’s leading formulators and manufacturers of luxury bath and body products for the hospitality industry. With this joint venture, Kimirica Hunter is able to offer India's largest portfolio of luxury amenity brands with beautiful tailor-made solutions.

Birth of Idea

 Mohit was writing his dissertation about launching a contemporary herbal skincare brand in India. With Rajat’s background in pharmacy and the family’s Ayurvedic business, the brothers were pretty confident that they could manufacture herbal skincare products on their own.

“Initially, everything seemed easy. But after 10 months of rigorous research, we realized that launching on retail platforms would require products with varied formulations for specific skin and hair problems,” said Rajat Jain, Co-Founder, and Managing Director, Kimirica Hunter.

Rajat adds, “We also needed a lot of time and huge funds for marketing. Due to a lack of funds, we were exploring a channel where we could start with some small steps. While brainstorming, we remembered staying at a hotel. The miniature amenity bottles we had used stuck in our minds, and then we were immediately inspired to get into this game."

The brothers started examining the market. While conducting their research, they observed that more than 70 percent of hotel amenity products for international hotel brands were imported. Rajat said that hotels had to face a lot of difficulties in importing goods but they had no other option. 

The brothers observed that each hotel and resort had its own uniqueness, with different themes and special ambiance, but there was no local customization.  “Our idea was to fit the hotels’ brand images and budget, and hotels could also choose their best-fit brand from our available stock,” he adds.

After gauging this demand, the brothers started making liquids such as shampoos, lotions, shower gels, conditioners, and more. They also began making soaps and accessories such as loofahs, dental and shaving kits, massage oils, bath salts, etc

After a lot of persistence from the entrepreneurs, the Marriott Group in India finally gave them a break. The multinational diversified hospitality company signed Kimirica as its supplier for toiletries and ancillary products in India. Since then, Kimirica has never looked back. It grew to 400 employees working in a 70,000 sq ft room - a massive upgrade to the previous workspace.

Kimirica also went on to sign a number of big-name clients in the hospitality sector, whom it currently serves. At this stage, Kimirica was the first supplier in India to manufacture both liquid amenities and dry room accessories.

What’s next?

There are many players who try and imitate Kimirica’s ideas, Mohit says, “In the midst of fierce competition, even well-established, top-notch players from the industry have tried to clone and imitate our ideas and niche that we have spent months or years building. But we have been battling this with sheer dedication and innovation. We always say that competitors can copy our products, but not our passion.” By keeping innovation and creativity as the driving force, new entrants in the sector can survive, he adds.

“The industry constantly tests you with sky-high parameters of expectations, and it would be helpful if you stay motivated, break stereotypes and be passionate about your work,” Mohit says.

Recently, the business launched its retail store, Kimirica Shop, which is a luxury personal care store for its B2C customers who like Kimirica products and want to shop directly. The brothers have also started work on building India’s largest hotel amenity park, an initiative that seeks to offer global supplies of hospitality products to the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

Kimirica also wants to work on innovative software products for the hospitality segment, which the brothers believe will be a game-changer. Software products may not be very common for a manufacturing company like Kimirica, but going by the brothers’ story, it seems no obstacle is too large for them.

Its competitors are Dabur, Biotique, Molton Brown, Herbline, Bluemercury, Marico, Lotus Herbal, Stila, Paramount, Caswell- Massey. Its last year’s revenue is $15.2 million.

 

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