“Don’t Let Yesterday Take Up Too Much Of Today.”
– Will Rogers
How very aptly these lines depict the awe-inspiring journey of one of the first-generation entrepreneurs of post-independence India, Balvant Parekh! Popularly known as “The Fevicol Man”.
Story Of Pidilite Industries
One of the giant stakeholders in the adhesive industry and a name that went on to become synonymous with adhesives in the Indian market, Balvant launched Pidilite Industries in 1959.
His initial journey was, however, was not a cakewalk!
Born and brought up in Mahuva, a small town situated in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district, Balvant completed his Law studies from Mumbai. Although he left his studies mid-way for a while and jumped into the Quit India Movement, launched by Mahatma Gandhi in Gujarat.
He participated actively in freedom movements for over a year, and then went back to Mumbai to complete his degree.
Despite having a lawyer’s degree, Balvant was not willing to practice Law, owing to the number of lies the profession demanded. He had to initially work at a dyeing and printing press, as life in Mumbai was difficult.
He later joined a wood trader’s office as a peon, when lived in a warehouse along with his wife.
Destiny took a turn and along came an investor who recognised the talent in his business skills, with the help of whom he started importing cycle, areca nut, paper dyes from western countries, and eventually launched his own company.
His younger brother Sushil Parekh supported him a lot.
This very company, named Pidilite Industries, was started with just one factory, manufacturing a single product, Fevicol.
Pidilite Industries built a monopoly in the adhesive space, over the years. Fevicol became the glue carpenters would swear by! Inspired by such success, Pidilite launched two other flagship brands, Feviquick and M-Seal, that too went on to become 70 per cent market shareholders each, making Pidilite synonymous with adhesives in India.
The brand started focusing on international expansion from 2006, building factories in the US, Thailand, Dubai, Egypt and Bangladesh. The company has also built a Research Centre in Singapore.
Strange if you think about it, Balvant took a seemingly unexciting product and made it into a top brand, with clever advertising campaigns.
Being a fervent philanthropist, Balvant founded two schools, a college and a hospital in Mahuva, his hometown. He also started the Darshak Foundation, an NGO that studies the cultural history of Gujarat. He made a generous donation of Rs 2 crore towards Bhavnagar’s science city project and established the Balvant Parekh Centre for General Semantics and Other Human Sciences.
Sadly he passed away in 2013, at the age of 88. He was ranked number 45 on Forbes Asia’s India Rich List, the previous year in October, with a family fortune of $1.36 billion.
Such was the enlivening journey of ‘The Fevicol Man’.