In 2011, Rishav Juglall dropped out of the University of KwaZulu Natal at a young of 21, and launched Rocky Brands, a company supplying over 400 stores with cleaning products in South Africa and the continent.
As you’d expect, he initially dealt with a lot of rejection but persevered until he managed to get his way through.
With half a dozen brands in its portfolio, Rocky Brands supplies big retailers such as Game, Pick N Pay, Makro, Builders Warehouse, Spar, Hirsch, Defy, Virgin Active, and the Gautrain.
To understand Rishav’s rise to the top, let’s take it back to 2011, when his mother sent him to the supermarket to buy a glass top stove-cleaner. When he got there, he realized there was only one product in the market, which had a monopoly as the products were highly priced at around R300 per bottle.
During that time, he was studying marketing & economics at UKZN, and one of the assignments given to them was to understand how a brand could have a monopoly in a county.
Rishav took that case study and applied it in an everyday situation. He studied the monopoly to understand where they lacked, thus making it easy to introduce new competition.
After doing thorough research, he realized the brand was extremely overpriced, had terrible packaging and also didn’t have too many products in its range.
It dawned on him that if only he could find products that were cheaper with many varieties in a sexy packaging, the competition wouldn’t stand a chance.
After realizing US-based Weiman supplied every other continent besides Africa, Rishav approached the cleaning service brand with a proposal. His passion got the attention of the company, they saw an opportunity, and needed somebody with local knowledge to take it into the market.
After the samples were sent out, he instinctively knew he was sitting on gold, but getting into retail presented a huge problem.
He started by approaching Game, but got rejected for several months. According to Rishav, the management just couldn’t understand how a 21-year-old could add value to their brand.
Not one to give up easily, he kept on knocking on Game’s door every week for months until he was finally given an appointment just to get him off their back.
According to Rishav, he prepared a hot marketing plan, and within 15 minutes of his presentation, Game accepted the products and the pricing.
After the first month on the shelves of 4 stores, almost 90% of the stock was sold out.
He started receiving calls from other leading retailers offering him shelves to sell the product including the likes of Makro, Builders Warehouse, Spar, Pick N Pay, Leroy Merlin, and the others.
Including Weiman, Rocky Brands also has half a dozen brands in its portfolio managed by 38 employees.
Find something to sell….
According to Rishav, aspiring entrepreneurs should go out there, find something to sell, and sell it.
“The most important character trait of any entrepreneur is the skill of selling. If you can’t sell, you won’t last very long.”Rishav Juglall
Get South Africa’s latest entrepreneurial or business success stories delivered right to your inbox – Sign up to Entrepreneur Hub SA’s newsletter today