St. George Umbrella

St. George Umbrella: The Remarkable Journey of Kerala’s Umbrella Kings


In the world of umbrellas, few brands have achieved the level of success and popularity as St. George Umbrella, founded by Thayyil Abraham Varghese, famously known as “Kuda Vavachan,” in 1954. With a legacy spanning several decades, St. George Umbrella Mart has become synonymous with quality craftsmanship and innovative designs. In this detailed article, we will explore the captivating story behind the rise of St. George Umbrella and its contribution to the umbrella manufacturing industry in Kerala, along with the remarkable success of two other prominent brands in the state – Popy and John’s.

The Legacy of Thayyil Abraham Varghese:
Thayyil Abraham Varghese, the visionary founder of St. George Umbrella Mart, played a crucial role in establishing the brand’s reputation for excellence. His race acumen and dynamic entrepreneurship were instrumental in the astounding growth of the Umbrella Mart in its early stages. Varghese’s dedication to quality and attention to detail set the foundation for St. George Umbrella’s success.

Popy and John’s: The Umbrella Kings of Kerala:
Popy and John’s, two brands that have captured the imagination of Kerala’s residents, have emerged as the leading umbrella manufacturers in the state. These brands, founded by cousins Davis Thayil and Joseph Thayil, respectively, have taken the umbrella market by storm. Together, Popy and John’s enjoy a staggering 70% market share in Kerala, with turnovers exceeding Rs 100 crore each in recent years.

The Origins of Popy and John’s:
The story of Popy and John’s begins after the passing of their grandfather, Thayil Abraham Varghese, the umbrella tycoon who founded the St. George’s group in the 1950s. Following their grandfather’s demise, both cousins decided to venture into the umbrella manufacturing business, splitting from their fathers’ partnership after two decades of working together. In 1995, Popy and John’s were born, marking the start of their incredible journey.

Catchy Ad Campaigns and Quirky Designs:
The success of Popy and John’s can be attributed to their ability to capture the imagination of the masses through catchy ad campaigns and innovative designs. The introduction of visual media advertising in the late 1990s proved to be a game-changer for both brands. Popy’s hit jingles, such as “Mazha Mazha Kuda Kuda” and “Ayyappanta Amma,” became instant favorites among kids. John’s, on the other hand, focused on product-based advertising and cleverly coined the term “Kunjanja” for rains, which became synonymous with their brand.

Building a Household Brand:
Popy and John’s cemented their position as household brands in Kerala through relentless competition and constant innovation. They introduced umbrella designs that were unique, crazy, and catered to every customer’s preference. From bridal umbrellas to soda bottle and cap umbrellas, GPS tracker and selfie stick umbrellas, and even umbrellas with MP3 players, both brands pushed the boundaries of creativity. They also forged partnerships with popular studios like Walt Disney, Star Wars, Marvel, and Green Gold Animation to produce umbrellas featuring beloved characters.

Beyond Umbrellas: Diversification and Global Presence:
As the popularity of Popy and John’s grew, the brands expanded their business interests beyond umbrellas. They diversified their product offerings and ventured into other sectors. Popy even established factories in Dubai and China to cater to a wider global clientele. However, despite their expansion, both brands maintain a focus on customer happiness and innovation rather than merely chasing profits.


The success story of St. George Umbrella, Popy, and John’s exemplifies the power of innovation, marketing, and a commitment to customer satisfaction. Through their relentless pursuit of excellence, these brands have become synonymous with quality umbrellas in Kerala. With their quirky designs, captivating ad campaigns, and a diverse range of products, Popy and John’s have captivated the hearts of the people, solidifying their position as the umbrella kings of Kerala. As they continue to innovate and delight customers, the legacy of Thayyil Abraham Varghese lives on, ensuring that St. George Umbrella Mart remains a symbol of trust, style, and protection for generations to come.

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