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Popy umbrella founder TV Scaria passes away

Kochi | Updated on April 20, 2021

He was also instrumental in replacing the traditional umbrella cloth with synthetic materials which he sourced largely from South East Asian nations

T.V.Scaria (Baby), the founder of Kerala’s popular umbrella brand Popy, died here on Monday. He was 81.

Scaria, popularly known as St George Baby, was undergoing treatment for cancer and breathed his last at a private hospital in the city.

Chairman of the Popy Group at the time of his demise, Scaria started his career at St George Umbrella Mart in Alapuzha founded by his father Thayyll Abraham Varghese also known as “Kuda Vavachan” in 1954.

Following a split in the family, Scaria launched Popy Umbrella Mart in 1995 and the product emerged as a household brand in the State within a short span. The Popy name was inspired by Scaria’s youngest son Popy.

Scaria has brought a kind of new branding for the umbrella associated with rains when Kerala was always famous for.

The company’s well-known Malayalam jingle “Mazha Mazha ; Kuda Kuda ; Mazha Vannal Popy Kuda” (Rain Rain, when rains come, it is time for Popy Umbrella) that aired in all the TV channels during the time of school reopening has become a great hit among children. In another jingle two naughty boys told their teacher that he could beat them if he used a Popy umbrella instead of a stick.

These two TV commercials during those times have brought a paradigm shift in the entire marketing of umbrellas in Kerala. From a mere utility, his company was also responsible for providing umbrellas as a fashion statement with multi colour folding type of products.

With these TV ads, Popy has also made a culture of buying a new umbrella among school children with small tweaking in style and colour etc during every school opening on June 1 that coincides with the beginning of the Southwest monsoon in Kerala.

Scaria was also instrumental in replacing the traditional umbrella cloth with synthetic materials which he sourced largely from South East Asian nations. He also replaced the wooden sticks in umbrellas with metallic frames. He has also introduced several new age technologies like Bluetooth connectivity and fans into umbrellas, thus Popy became a formidable umbrella brand in the country. He also made umbrellas an affordable product for consumers.

Popy has the distinction of being one of the top enterprises in Kerala. The success of Popy has made many others to copy the model, bringing a stiff competition in the market.

Scaria also served as president of the All-India Umbrella Federation and chairman of the quality control committee (umbrella) of the Indian Standards Institution.

It was Davis Thayyil, the eldest son of Scaria, has taken the company into newer heights with the launch of Nano umbrella, claimed to be the smallest umbrella in the world with 16 cm length.

Scaria leaves behind his wife Thankamma, daughters Daisy and her husband and BJP leader and former Director General of Police Jacob Thomas, IPS, and Laly and her husband Anto, sons Davis and Popy.

Published on April 20, 2021

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