In addition to obtaining exclusive India licencing for global brands including Play-Doh, My Little Pony, Playskool, and Transformers, Stone Sapphire India Pvt. Ltd., founded in 2016 by Shobhit Kumar Singh, began distributing children’s toys and stationery under its own brand, Skoodle.
With 50 employees, Shobhit Kumar Singh started Skoodle in Vadodara in 2016.
When he was about 26 years old, in 2001, Shobhit joined Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s followers and moved into his ashram in Rishikesh. Though he had always been interested in philosophy and celibacy, living in an ashram further altered him.
Shobhit claims that the four-month Vedic management programme she underwent has helped her become more philosophical. When I was a student at Aligarh Muslim University, I used to listen to Islamic teachings while sitting with maulanas (AMU). Also, I have studied Christian theology.
“I intended to train as a yogi and discover my purpose in life in the ashram. I completed the four-month Vedic management programme at the ashram and went on to receive advanced training in meditation.
Shobhit was born into a middle class family in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. The family moved about due to his father’s transferrable position with the New India Insurance Company.
He is the youngest of three siblings and the only boy among them; his mother was a stay-at-home mom.
Shobhit graduated with a BA with honours in economics from AMU in 1997, and the same university also awarded him an MBA in finance in 1999. His first position was as an assistant manager of finance at a German software company in Delhi.
He began attending the ashram in 2001, but his parents asked him to return home before the end of 2002. He married Nina Singh, a member of a Vadodara business family, in October 2002.
As the business manager, Shobhit began working for a Singapore-based corporation in Delhi. The business traded in timber as well as a few other commodities.
Shobhit’s brothers-in-law pushed him to join their Vadodara company after the death of his father-in-law in 2003.
Although the manufacturing facility was in China, Shobhit started working for the company in Vadodara. The company produced and exported Christmas gifts to the US as well as gift boxes, wrapping paper, greeting cards, tissue rolls, and stick notes.
“It was a start-up, and my two in-law brothers were seeking for a family member to run the business in India. My wife was prepared to take advantage of the chance and relocate to Vadodara when they reached me, he claims.
The US raised tariffs on Chinese goods in 2012, which had a significant negative impact on their economy.
“The majority of the foreign players with production facilities in China moved their bases there. After careful consideration, we relocated the production site from China to Indonesia,” adds Shobhit.
“Transferring the equipment and educating the new employees took a full year. In 2014, the production commenced after a year.
Shobhit was contacted by the worldwide stationery company Hasbro in 2015 and asked to manage their distribution in India. Shobhit took advantage of the chance and hasn’t looked back since.
Hasbro offers its goods to high-end competitors like Tata, Hamleys, Crossword, and other significant market shops, he said. After a year, however, I understood that niche players had little market penetration and that I should focus on mass retailing, large volume, and high turnover.
In order to address this, I created the Skoodle brand in 2016 under the auspices of Stone Sapphire India Pvt. Ltd. He made an investment in the company of Rs. 1.2 crore, of which 30% came from personal savings and 70% from a bank loan. The company began by making stationery supplies.
He founded the factory in Vadodara with 50 employees. Hasbro requested Shobhit to take over their Indian toy distribution activities the same year.
Product lines sold by Hasbro include Funskool, Nerf, Avenger, Frozen Doll, and Plot 4.
On the second time, Shobhit says, “earning the trust of an international business behemoth like Hasbro was a proud experience for me. “They got into a contract with my company, taking a chance and giving a chance to a newcomer to the industry. Hasbro definitely bet against us.
Despite all the lessons, difficulties, and results, Shobhit will never forget how his father taught all of the kids from a young age how to live and thrive in life.
The family had too many limitations and insufficient finances. But now that I’ve had time to reflect, I believe it was for the best. The disciplined and frugal mindset was quite helpful to me.
Shobhit made the decision to use the money he had at the end of 2019 to broaden his Skoodle stationery company and produce Skoodle toys. Also, they started producing licenced products for Disney, Marvel, Hot Wheels, Fisher Price, Mega Blocks, Nerf, and Barbie.
Up until 2020, Shobhit continued to distribute Hasbro toys. Moreover, Covid left with an exit clause.
“We didn’t experience any wage or employment cuts when Covid was in Skoodle. Although the market was weak and many individuals were losing their jobs at the time, we actually began hiring critical professionals for the organisation, according to Shobhit.
“We attracted top talent, which paid off in the long run. Our team aggressively entered the market after Covid. He asserts that the company’s expansion was significantly aided by word-of-mouth marketing, retailer confidence, and the reputation the company built while collaborating with Hasbro.
Skoodle won the right to exclusively oversee the import and distribution of the US-based Corelle Crockery brand in 2021.
The corporate headquarters of Shobhit’s business are located on four floors in Vadodara’s Makarpura industrial district. They also have locations in Delhi and Mumbai.
Around 25 kilometres from Vadodara, the warehousing and production facilities are built in a 2 lakh square foot building that also includes a 13 lakh square foot open space. The company’s stationery and toy businesses employ about 250 people.
The company intends to enter the FMCG market as well as develop its own 24-carat gold-plated dinnerware brand. Shobhit is interested in investigating children-related FMCG products.
The company’s MD, Nina, a graduate in hotel management, is in charge of the sales and customer service divisions. Tanya, 17, and Alisha, 7, are school-age daughters who live with their parents.
In his spare time, Shobhit likes to read the writings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Gyanvatsal Swami and write poetry.
He advises aspiring business owners not to view startup as a short-term strategy for making money today and then selling it tomorrow because it has become a fad. Create an extended plan.
“Be sincere with yourself, and be efficient with your time. Do not underestimate the importance of your SQ (Social Intelligence Quotient), AQ (Adversity Quotient), and EQ (Emotional Quotient); these three traits are significantly more important in life than your IQ