t’s hard to imagine childhood without toys. Our first friends, who won our smiles, got soaked in our tears and even faced the brunt of our tantrums. I still remember my toys. Mini the giraffe and Moo-cow were the first few friends I ever made. I would speak with them, have tea parties with them and wake up next to them every morning.
And Nisha Ramasamy knew that toys are instrumental to a child’s development. The 29-year-old mum was working as a teacher at a Montessori School in Chennai and quit soon after when her child was born in late 2016.
Though the young mother resumed work in the same school a few months later in June 2017, she had to quit again three months later due to a family emergency.
“My husband and I started noticing that our daughter’s skin was reacting to random things. She was developing these skin allergies and we were really trying to understand what could be the cause,” recalls the concerned mother.
After speaking to doctors, she realised that her daughter had Atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema in which the skin may flare up due to multiple reasons making it red and itchy. “Later, we realised that our daughter’s allergies were flaring up because of the plastic toys she was playing with,” states Nisha.
Not wanting to take away her daughter’s fun time with toys, Nisha immediately started looking for alternatives that were available in the market. Sadly, there was very little to choose from.
“The toys that were available in the market were colorful and noisy. Most importantly, a majority of them were made from plastic and did not serve the kids in any way. The teethers too were made of plastic and the wooden ones were imported and super expensive,” she says.
As a Montessori teacher, Nisha knew that toys needed to be age specific and should help in the development of the child.
This realisation led Nisha and her husband, Vasanth Kumar Tamilselvan, to found Ariro in April, 2018. The startup makes toys handmade by village artisans based out of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka.
Since they started, Ariro has sold over 5000 toys and has developed over 60 varieties of their product. Moreover, through their network of village artisans, they have impacted over 200+ livelihoods.
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