This Alappuzha-based coir company is making it big with clients like Disney and FC Barcelona

Cocotuft sends shipments before every match, not only those played in Spain but to every venue where Barca plays globally.

BySreerag PS

Published Feb 22, 2023 | 10:00 AMUpdatedFeb 22, 2023 | 12:46 PM

The coir mat with Johan Cruyff's words can be found at FC Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium. (Supplied)

A coir mat in FC Barcelona’s iconic Camp Nou stadium inscribed with a quote by legendary Dutch footballer Johan Cruyff may be a familiar sight for football fans around the world.

But did you know that the coir mat was manufactured by a 106-year-old company based in Kerala’s Alappuzha district — the Travancore Cocotuft Limited?

Alappuzha is considered to be the land of coir and has had a long history of coir trade with foreign nations since ancient times.

The area’s geographical speciality has made transportation of goods to foreign markets easy by sea.

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Cruyff and coir

Johan Cruyff (Wikimedia Commons)

Cruyff’s words, which welcome all to the football turf, are “Salid y disfrutad”, which is a Spanish expression meaning “Go Out and Enjoy”.

Football legend Johan Cruyff used the expression that is often synonymous with his style of football, which places playing the game with beautiful possession-based football.

The Dutchman was a former Barcelona player and later, the manager of the club. He is regarded as one of the greatest football managers of all time and the greatest proponent of the philosophy of “Total Football”.

Apart from FC Barcelona, the Alappuzha-based company is the official merchandise partner of Disney and Warner Bros.

An unexpected surprise

“The association with FC Barcelona came as a surprise. Since we work with over 120 clients, when the order first came, we did not notice who placed it. It was later that one of our managers from Malappuram noticed the mat being displayed in Camp Nou and alerted us,” Arjun Madhavan, CEO of Travancore Cocotuft, told South First.

According to Madhavan, the association with FC Barcelona began in 2018 and has been ongoing for the last five years.

His company sends shipments before every match, not only those played in Spain but to every match venue where FC Barcelona plays around the world. The football club’s merchandise is sold at a kiosk even in away-match venues.

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Cocotuft’s growing popularity

Brick of coir coco. (Wikimedia Commons)

Brick of coir coco. (Wikimedia Commons)

Naturally, the enquiries increased after their association with FC Barcelona became known to the public. It brought in numerous enquiries from Culers — as Barcelona fans are called — and football fans from India.

Due to the high interest from fans, Travancore Cocotuft even wrote a letter to FC Barcelona seeking to sell the product in India, however, the Spanish giants are yet to begin their official store in India.

A replica of the mat is available for sale as merchandise on FC Barcelona’s official online store as well.

FC Barcelona has numerous fans in the football frenzy state of Kerala. Culers of Kerala, which is officially registered as Penya del Barca Kozhikode, is the second official fan group of FC Barcelona in India after New Delhi, and the only official group in South India.

“One thing leads to another. Getting audited by Disney was a great step for us. In this category, we are the largest sellers and the company has been in this space for 107 years. We ship our products to 86 countries around the world. So when FC Barcelona wanted to have a product in that category, we became the chosen ones as we meet all the standards,” added Mahadevan.

About Travancore Cocotuft 

According to the company website, the company was founded in 1917 by a person named Velayudhan in Alappuzha (erstwhile Alleppey) and, currently, it has grown to become a company with a gross annual business of $50 million.

The 106-year-old company prides itself as the “World’s largest manufacturer and exporter of doormats”.

The company produces doormats made of coir, jute and rubber, and also runs a retail online store named for the sale of their products.

So far, the company has won seven national awards in the MSME category for becoming the biggest exporter of coir products.

“We are the official merchandise partners of FC Barcelona, Disney, and Warner Bros. When it comes to these top companies, we have to follow all the highest standards in all aspects of production, which includes product quality, the chemicals used in printing, and in the factory the minimum wages should be on par with international standards,” Mahadevan told South First.

“Even the CCTV footage of the factory can be accessed by the clients,” he added.