Suryakant Walavalkar: The Modern Trade Wizard Determined To Uplift The FMCG Industry In India

Suryakant Walavalkar: The Modern Trade Wizard Determined To Uplift The FMCG Industry In India

Suryakant Walavalkar,Founder & CEOThe visionary leaders always discern what is important to achieve the end result and never get strangled by the mundane stuff. While kick-starting his career with Sony Electronics as a Logistics officer, Suryakant Walavalkar, now the founder & CEO of LOTMOR Brands Pvt. Ltd had already decided on his goals that he wanted to achieve with respect to different stages of life. He focused on them regardless of the challenges en route, while his ability to plan things ahead, which in truth defines the retail business itself, paved the way to his success. And of course, being his own boss and giving back to the market in his own way was always on his bucket list.

He has an envious resume. With two decades of experience, spanning all over India, South East Asia and Europe, Suryakant has done it all. From Indian companies to MNCs, from Sales to Marketing to Strategy, General Management with Regulatory, Finance, and Compliance. His work with companies like Hettich International, Shoppers Stop, Tarz (Chalhoub Group) and Samsonite India (wherein he was promoted from the role of an Assistant Director to the Dep. Director within the first six months) have put him on the map. Recently, he incepted LOTMOR Brands - agrowth hacker connecting quality products to new-age sales channels.Thanks to Suryakant’s unparalleled international experience in the retail industry especially, in the modern trade, process-oriented approach, and out-of-the-box solutions, LOTMOR seems to be on an upwards trajectory. CEO Insights unwinds Suryakant’s success story through an exclusive interview.

What inspired you to incept LOTMOR?
After my stint with Samsonite, I was connected to Chennai-based
KKrowten India Enterprises, which was into Direct Selling. As my family wanted to stay in Mumbai, I came back to Mumbai. I knew it was time to bank on my retail industry wisdom and start my own venture. I chose the ever-growing FMCG industry and launched LOTMOR, specializing on the F&B market. The F&B market didn’t have many options for healthy carbonated drinks and I wanted to fill that gap. Interestingly, I found that there were plenty of good regional products already available in the market, but they find it extremely difficult to fit into the modern trade and optimize the potential of the product. The idea was to bridge the gap between healthy drink manufacturers and modern trade. The wide acceptance of Nature Day (an indigenous healthy sparkling fruit drink) is a testament to the unlocked potential. Nature Day has added health benefits, fortified with Herbs & Natural Juice, so that the consumers enjoy taste & health benefits of both without changing their regular habit of consuming soft/cold drinks. We believe in adding value in people’s lives without changing their habits!!

We have always looked at the challenges as our opportunities

How do you leverage your decades of experience that you harnessed from some of the globally leading MNCs to fuel your venture?
I am always grateful to my mentors like Mr.AnuragMehra, who guided me in the right direction in the early phase of my career and Mr. Suresh Menon, who in the later phase acquainted me with the better impact I could create in sales rather than in logistics. His guidance across various business aspects have always been an instrumental aspect of my growth in the corporate realm

It’s a different ball game now. In addition to leveraging my knowhow in modern trade and in turn giving manufacturers access to supermarket chains, mini-markets, hypermarkets and many more, I am able to bank on my network as well. I have known Punit Jadhav, a hard-working professional, for the past 15-20 years and he joined hands with me while starting the company to majorly handle finance and administration.

What were the challenges that you
faced in the initial stage as a startup?
We have always looked at the challenges as our opportunities. For instance, we received our first and foremost exposure from Nesco - the exhibition center in Mumbai. Immediately after we gave the samples to the F&B department, we were asked to set up our counter and start the sale within the next two hours. We embraced the opportunity and it paid off as we received an overwhelming response. Within the next four days, our product was on their menu.

How has been the support from your family and how do you maintain the professional and personal life balance? Also, how do you try to influence your two children?
My wife Anjali has been a great influence in my life. Without her support, building a successful business would have never been possible. Twice a year, we disconnect ourselves from everything else and getaway for both a national and an international trip - each spanning a week. That was a promise I made to Anjali and kids long ago and we never compromise Influencing my children is more about helping them realize their dreams and helping them set goals, and standing by their side to help them achieve them. My son Siddharth wants to be a pilot and he is starting his pilot training this year, after having completed his ground training. My daughter Khushi is in Ninth grade and she is an all-rounder who is very good at Bharatanatyam.

What are your future plans?
Now we are expanding our operations to South and North India. I am also thinking about launching a few more world-class products into the market while keeping the focus on the health benefits.

Suryakant Walavalkar, Founder & CEO
A retail industry veteran, Suryakant’s wisdom in modern trade is unparalleled. A B.Com from Mumbai University, he has completed aEXIM Management course from Bhagubhai Mafatlal College, MBA from Indian Institution of Export & Import Management, Sigma Green Belt from IACT GLOBAL Institute, and a Disaster Management program from Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.

Hobby: loves watching sports
Food: Fish prepared in Konkan style
Destination: Switzerland

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