Samir Modi may be the grandson of renowned Indian industrialist Gujarmal Modi – founder of the eponymous Modi Enterprises – but he has forged his own successful path within Modi Enterprises; one that has kept the family’s name in the spotlight.
“People feel that because you’re in the Modi family, you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth,” Samir, Executive Director of Modi Enterprises, tells The CEO Magazine. “But I worked hard. Nothing came easy to me; nothing was given on a platter.”
Modi Enterprises is a longstanding Indian conglomerate with businesses across the retail, travel, education, fashion, chemicals, hospitality and healthcare sectors. Its founder, Gujarmal, began the company with a sugar mill in the town of Begumabad (now, Modinagar) in 1933.
With the success of the sugar mill, he went into the production of vanaspati (hydrogenated vegetable oil) as well as soap, oil and paint, among other things. Then, following India’s independence, he built a textile mill which was considered one of the largest in India. Today, Modi Enterprises is a US$2.8 billion business with a reach extending from the Americas to Australia.
The company’s current president is Gujarmal’s son, Krishan Kumar Modi, who is responsible for shaping Modi Enterprises’ core vision. With a family steeped in the business, Samir was destined to be a part of Modi Enterprises. However, he didn’t simply stick to its established businesses.
After completing his schooling at The Doon School in Dehradun, India, and graduating from the prestigious Harvard Business School in the US, he worked at tobacco company Philip Morris. Upon returning to India, he joined the family business and in 1996, at age 25, he launched his own company within Modi Enterprises – Modicare.
“What has helped me over the years is resilience and my belief that change is constant.”
Modicare is a direct-selling business operating 40 centres throughout India. It provides more than 2,700 cities with products in the home care, laundry care, agriculture, food and beverage, health and wellness and automotive industries. Over the years, Modicare has grown into a successful business, thanks to Samir’s strong entrepreneurial spirit.
“In four to five years I made it one of the top direct-selling companies,” he says. “And what has helped me over the years is resilience and my belief that change is constant.”
As Managing Director of Modicare, Samir keeps an eye on the business. “Because the company is growing so fast, one of the main focuses for me is the supply chain,” he says.
“In Modicare, we have launched more than 300 products so there is a broad portfolio. It’s a different ball game with supply chain.” Samir didn’t just stop with one business in Modi Enterprises. In 2004, he developed Colorbar Cosmetics, a premium beauty brand that provides a range of make-up and care products.
“I launched Colorbar amid great opposition from the family,” he recalls. “Today, we have grown 34%.” Colorbar has manufacturing facilities in Italy, Germany, France, Greece and the US, as well as in Japan and Korea. Samir adds that Colorbar is best known for its innovative, out-of-the-box approach.
In 2005, Samir went one step further with his business ventures and launched Twenty Four Seven, a chain of convenience stores that provide round-the-clock services. With groceries, cosmetics, music and courier services, Twenty Four Seven has become a mainstay in India’s convenience store sector. “We have 94 stores right now and we plan to have 600 by 2020,” Samir says.
Samir believes what sets Modi Enterprises apart from its competitors is its investment in its employees and its research focus. “The group philosophy my grandfather launched with the first business was ‘Don’t compromise on your products and on what you offer’.
He also said that what you say is what you need to do.” Samir mixes this with his own belief in the Greek concept of Meraki. “It means: ‘Anything you do must be done with love, must be innovative and must bring passion.’ And it is something I encourage my employees to do every day.”