Success is oftentimes a result of opportunity knocking on your door, and you answering that calling! And that’s the gist of how new parents Nisha and Vasanth from Chennai stumbled upon their business idea. They were busy building zero-plastic wooden toys for their own daughter, but little did they know that this would turn out to be their one-in-a-million idea which would grow into a brand loved by other parents very quickly.
About the founder
Nisha was a computer science engineer prior to the existence of the brand. Knowing well that she always wanted to do something for kids, her husband Vasanth, after their marriage in 2013, encouraged her to take up a Montessori course — a method of teaching kids through child-led activities. Once the course was over she took up teaching, however, she had to quit to take care of their newborn daughter shortly after.
An Idea Is Born, Ariro Toys
The beginning of Ariro Toys dates back to when the new parents were looking for toys for their daughter, as they soon found out that the commercial plastic toys contained substances that triggered her skin allergies. They were always on the quest for safer, wooden toys but found very few options. And the toys they did find, most of them were not the right size to be age-appropriate or engaging for their daughter. That’s when the couple decided to make the toys on their own. With Nisha’s Montessori background, they were able to design the right toys to aid their daughter’s development. They even hired a local carpenter to help them make the toys and teethers.
Soon, Nisha’s friends wanted the same toys for their kids and that’s when the couple realised they had something big on their hands. There surely must be other parents looking for non-plastic toys that were safer for their kids. Nisha and Vasanth began their research and even studied international toy markets, travelling abroad to see what manufacturers had to offer. A year later, equipped with knowledge and purpose, the couple finally launched Ariro Toys in 2019.
About The Startup
The toy brand has as many as 70 SKUs and the prices range between Rs 325, all the way up to Rs 25,000. Their products prioritise child safety; they sell pinewood and neem wood teethers, rattles, sliders, puzzles, toy mobiles, and even furniture like a Montessori floor bed, leaning tower, and indoor-outdoor jungle gym set for kids. In fact, the brand launches new products every month to keep up with the changing trends and needs of the market.
Ariro Toys now has about 10,000 clients and they process an average of 800 to 1,000 products each month pan-India. Their items are featured on 22 online portals, including Amazon, Flipkart, and others, in addition to their own e-commerce website.
The online brand recently included an experience centre in Chennai where parents could directly examine and feel the specially designed toys before taking them home for their children. The company also has partnerships with a few local businesses in the city itself, allowing them to sell directly through retail.
To enhance our performance and customer reach, we intend to open more experience centres in major cities.
The brand’s office and factory are in Chennai, and they also work with rural artisans around India to create some of their products by handing them the designs. Aside from the artisans, the company currently has 22 employees that work in various departments across design, operations, finance, and more.
The Market Competition and Future Plans
The brand’s USP is that they focus on a primary age range of toddlers from 0 to 3 years old. Nisha feels that there is a strong competition in the market since many individuals have begun manufacturing wooden toys, but each company has its own style of catering to their customers.
We aspire to produce excellent and eco-friendly products in the Indian market that outperform those offered by foreign companies. In general, trust issues can be seen with parents when it comes to Indian companies, and by overcoming that barrier, we plan to grow in the market that we have gone after.
Surely, ‘I Boss Mom’
The couple, who are co-founders, have divided their jobs according to their expertise. Nisha is in charge of the design, while her husband is in charge of the rest of the company. Their daughter is their critic and reviewer, so the parents observe how she responds to the toys and make note of any adjustments required; they guarantee that all items are child-friendly before releasing them to the market.
We started our business when our daughter was two years old, and I originally operated in my spare time. As things have gotten more streamlined and structured, it has been easier as a mother to manage the various responsibilities. Everyone in our family is an entrepreneur in some manner. They truly understand me and have been continuous sources of support for both me and my husband! It’s not like you have to have a proper nine-to-five job in order to accomplish something. So, work whenever you can and pursue what you truly desire. Take any help you can get from those around you, and give it your best.