Cycle Pure Agarbathi Case Study

How Cycle Pure Agarbhati survives 75 years in business


The article is about the inspiring success story of Narayan Ranga Rao, the founder of Cycle Pure Agarbathi. Despite the terrible market conditions of 1950s India, Rao built a premium agarbathi brand and turned it into a business empire that sells its products in 75 countries worldwide

Rao started his business in 1948 in Mysore, after trying multiple jobs and businesses. He chose agarbatis because he loved fragrances, and he saw a great opportunity with agarbatis because of the importance and value they had in the lives of the older generation. Agarbatis were not just instruments of fragrance but instruments of hope that complemented their prayers

The market

Most companies were solely focused on the quantity of incense sticks and not on the quality of fragrances; the sticks neither gave out a strong essence of fragrance nor burned completely; and no one was keen on innovating with different and superior quality fragrances. Instead of investing money in making better fragrances, these companies were wasting money on packaging.

How Perfume Books Changed the Industry Forever

This is a story from 1948 to 1950, a time when there wasn’t a lot of information available about perfumes. The manufacturers in Akravati mostly used natural oils and forest produce, and they didn’t know much about aromatics. They kept their processes secret and didn’t share them with anyone. One person named Raji spent 600 rupees to import three batches of books on perfumes from Germany because there was no internet and international shipment was difficult. Raji learned from these books and became the first manufacturer in India to use synthetic substitutions and combinations to make agarbattis without relying solely on forests. The return on investment from the books was great, and this led to the realization of the importance of using them.

Raoji's clever marketing strategy

Entrepreneurs in India had a hard time selling their products, but Raoji was able to sell his Akravati incense at three times the price of other brands. He did this without paying high margins to dealers or having a big budget. He would visit shops during peak hours, light his incense and leave it outside. Customers who liked the scent would ask the shopkeeper about it, and the shopkeepers had no choice but to ask Raoji for more. On the third day, Raoji gave shopkeepers only two sticks to try at home, and their families and neighbors loved the scent. This led to the product becoming a huge success. This strategy helped Raoji to stand out from his competitors and become successful.

Rao decided to focus on quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction. He hired the best perfumers and invested in research and development to create fragrances that were unique, superior in quality, and long-lasting. He also innovated by introducing different types of agarbatis, such as dhoop sticks and masala sticks, which were not available in the market before.

Cycle Pure Agarbathi quickly became popular in India, and Rao started exporting his products to other countries. He expanded his business by establishing a manufacturing unit in Bangalore and by investing in advertising and marketing. He also introduced a franchise model, which enabled him to reach more customers and expand his business further.

Cycle-Pure Agarvati revolutionizes market with three-in-one incense sticks

Cycle-Pure Agarvati sales were reduced by a rival companys.Murthyji came up with a solution to this problem by introducing a three-in-one cycle incense stick. This gave customers three main advantages: the chance to try three flavors, the ability to buy a whole pack of their favorite scent, and convenience in acquiring new customers. This product turned out to be a huge hit and became one of the best-selling products in the market.

     Today, almost every successful Agarbatti manufacturer has copied the same model and introduced three-in-one products. The bicycle brand has even gone one step further and reduced four perfumes in one agarbatti, making it difficult for competitors to catch up.

Conclusion & Learnings

     Rao’s business strategies, such as focusing on quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction, were the key to his success. His story is an inspiration for the next generation of entrepreneurs in India and beyond. Despite the challenges he faced, he never gave up on his dream and worked hard to build a business empire that would unite India in prayer. 

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