March 26, 2006

Inspiration for the day

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T.V.Scaria, Popy Umbrellas, Alappuzha

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Long ago, the first marriage proposal of T.V.Scaria alias St.George Baby turned into a fiasco as the girl’s relatives found him at the workshop stitching cloths and assembling parts for umbrellas with other workers.  Decades later, his Popy Umbrella has become an almost fashion statement, fit for any occasion including a marriage ceremony.

St.George Umbrella, as it was known then, was inherited by him from his father ‘Kuda Vavachan’.  It was then a cottage industry that depended on imported parts.   When raw materials were finally available in India, they left much to be desired.  Unwilling to compromise on quality, Baby framed his own standards and documented specifications in detail.

When Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) decided to frame standards, he was the only producer with documented processes.  No wonder Popy became the first umbrella manufacturer in the world to be awarded ISO 9002 certificate.

Baby recalls an event in this context.  They had gone to Japan to buy raw materials.  Though they were willing to pay in advance, the Japanese party uprightly rejected their order as Indian firms were blacklisted then.  Undaunted, he approached them, this time introducing himself as Chairman of BIS for umbrellas. The result was dramatic.  His team was treated with respect and their orders accepted without any advance.

Baby’s son Davis was behind the change of name to Popy.  Davis’s mentally challenged brother was fond of poppins as a kid.  The only word he could utter was ‘Popy’.  “Since he could manage to pronounce it, I knew the name and brand would catch on,” says Davis.

The company, which has production units at Alappuzha, Thane (Maharashtra) and Falna (Rajastan), has more than 5200 agencies across India.  It has tied up with the number one world player Futai Group of Taiwan.  The 5 decade old company, which has no history of strikes, meets the entire educational expenses of its staff’s children under the umbrella of employee benefits.


Courtesy: Nageena Vijayan (editorial), Margadarshi, The Times Group, August 2004
Contributed by: Administrator 


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