Vivek Sonar went out with his friends in 2016 and landed at the conclusion that India lacked a selection of quality non- alcoholic beverages. Apart from Pepsi and Coca-Cola, the Indian market did not have a variety of non-alcoholic beverages that young individuals and non- drinkers could enjoy.

 Vivek Sonar jumped at this thought in 2018, back when a revolution of beverage brands took over in the Indian Market. Out of sheer passion and excitement, he started his own non- alcoholic beverage brand, Quirky Beverages Company (QBC). Much to his amazement, the brand hit success in its very first year.

Despite the challenges that are set in the way of a start up, his determination owing to the crowd’s enthusiasm inspired him to expand the brand further. 

“We run our company for people. People love our product. They love to flaunt them and tag us on social media. When we see people enjoying our product, it makes us happy. That is where we feel we are different from other brands. That was our core starting point, and that is still where we are still.” 

He took a step back to research on packaging and product development to take his brand one step further. In 2020, Sonar consulted HP regarding their concerns about labels and packaging. HP provided assistance in addressing these issues, suggesting a converter for printing QBC’s labels and shrink sleeves.

“Usually, when we go with conventional print technology set up, we are stuck with one label design, and you need to get out almost 2.3 million labels at once. That was holding us back on several of our products.” 

Quirky Beverages Company faced limitations with their label design due to the inability to order short runs, hindering their ability to experiment with new product variants. However, adopting HP Indigo digital print technology allowed them to produce short-run labels in various designs for their entire beverage range, empowering them to focus on branding and design. 

Sonar mentions that obtaining low-volume printing is challenging in India. Therefore, he chose shrink sleeves for his canned beverages, which are printed using HP Indigo technology.

“It becomes very helpful when we get low-volume batches of shrink sleeves. We get more than 220 designs printed for market research. Rapid prototyping has been possible due to HP digital technology. It was not possible for us earlier. Around 10 different jobs used to cost us 6,000 to 10,000 USD on any conventional press. With digital, we can get labels for 60 USD with a quick turnaround time. ”This inspired the brand to launch 20 to 30 new products in a short period. 

“Our creativity has increased. A label may look-good on screen but might not match the final print result. We did not have the capability to check that earlier. We had to stick to our old designs due to the inability to print short runs. But now, we do not have to worry about timelines, getting cylinders and color matching. If anything goes wrong, labels can be printed again.” 

The technological upgrade facilitated by this intervention has enabled capabilities that were previously unattainable. This addresses a significant challenge, particularly for a company like theirs, which constantly innovating and introducing new products. Traditional label converters typically require large volume orders, which isn’t feasible for product testing purposes. Moreover, conventional printing methods often result in wastage, both in materials and environmentally. The shift towards digital technology allows for greater flexibility in handling diverse SKUs and minimizes wastage. Additionally, the label design process has evolved over time for Quirky Beverages Company. 

“I used to just go to a print shop with an idea and guide their designer. He would charge me hourly, and I would then get the labels printed and stick them on the bottles.We used to have the same template for all the labels and would just change the name of the product on them.We sat there for around 12 hours and came up with one design. I was very happy with them at that time. Now, if I look at those designs, I would not have approved them. But it used to sell, which was crazy.”

Sonar and his team have gained a deep understanding of design principles, now employing professional designers and agencies. Through this, they have learned about various design elements, color theory, and the standardization of materials and sizing, enhancing their packaging process. 

However, Sonar notes a lack of accessible resources and knowledge online, especially for start-ups seeking information on packaging, technology, and vendors. He suggests that technology providers and converters can support start-ups by improving their search engine visibility and clearly outlining their services. Additionally, Sonar emphasizes the importance of diversifying vendor partnerships to mitigate potential delays. 

Furthermore, Sonar underscores the need for label converters to educate start-ups on the intricacies of the process. 

Sonar emphasizes the importance of standardizing processes and thorough research for start-ups, cautioning against solely focusing on low costs. He stresses the irreversible impact of a product’s reputation once it’s established in the market. This underscores the significance of meticulous planning, particularly regarding packaging.

Quirky Beverages Company’s expansion across multiple locations, with plants in Chandigarh and upcoming sites in Goa, Gujarat, Guwahati, Delhi, and South India, reflects their rapid growth and ambition for broader market reach. Despite maintaining consistent product quality and recipes over the years, Sonar attributes the overwhelming response to their products to the transformation in branding, design, and packaging. This shift has significantly influenced how consumers perceive the brand, highlighting the critical role packaging plays in shaping consumer perception. 

The adoption of HP Indigo digital print technology has likely played a pivotal role in QBC’s success story. By leveraging this technology, they’ve been able to produce innovative, high-quality packaging designs that capture consumer attention and enhance brand perception. This investment in advanced printing technology aligns with Sonar’s emphasis on the importance of packaging and design in building a strong brand identity and driving consumer engagement.