A major brand in India, Cello Group, has a turnover of Rs.1500 crore. But, do you know the company that introduced casseroles to the country had humble beginnings?
Cello Group, which started 60 years ago, now enjoys a significant market share in India. However, many people might not be aware that the group started humbly with a Polyvinyl Carbonate (PVC) footwear and bangle production unit in in 1967, in Goregaon, Mumbai. At that time, the company had 7 machines and 60 employees.
33-year-old Gaurav Rathod, who now operates the family-run business, says that his late grandpa, Ghisulal Rathod, pioneered the plastics industry.
Gaurav claims that Cello produced plastic items for other companies in addition to footwear and bangles. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s that the company expanded and began broadening its product line.
Gaurav says that Cello not only made bangles and footwear, but also manufactured plastic items for other businesses. But, it was only in the 1980s that the business started growing and diversifying its range of products.
Guarav said his grandfather thought about establishing his own brand instead of producing goods for other companies. That is what led him to purchase a small plastic manufacturer in the city and invent the term “Cello.”
Cello became well-known for its signature casserole dishes.
Guarav explained, “During a trip to the U.S, my grandfather.noticed how the people there kept food warm for hours in little round-shaped plastic containers.He realised the product suited the lifestyle of the people of Indian and marketed it in the country in the late 1980s.”
During its journey, Cello also branched out into plastic moulded furniture. It later evolved into various segments like steelware, glassware, kitchen appliances, melamine and cleaning products.
Explaining the reason for branching out, Gaurav says Cello originated by adapting to consumer needs and continues to evolve even today.
The company also ventured into making pens which are commonly used by school, and college students as well as office goers. Cello also made steel flasks and bottles by blending steel with plastic.
Gaurav says steel was suddenly back in trend, which led Cello to create a ‘cross product’ that had new looks and designs. The consumers widely picked up products such as bottles, jars, casseroles, lunch packs, which had steel within and were insulated with an external layer of plastic.
The company finally carved out a niche for itself in nonstick cookware, pans, grills, toasters, coffee makers, grinders, blenders, kettles, and other products.
Cello expanded into fresh markets in 2014, such as glasses, and opal ware in 2017.
Gaurav noted that Cello’s continuous evolution also enabled it to survive challenges.
He added that the group, which now has a 50,000 retail network employs 6,000 people, will diversify further and reduce the production costs.
Cello also exports 15% of its products to the Middle East, South America, and Europe, and has an annual turnover of Rs.1,500 crore.
The company has so far in its journey branched out into a variety of 1,700 products in a range of categories. Due to this, Cello has become one of India’s major brands.