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Pune Architects Script Success With Eco-Pleasant Academic Toys


Toy Trunk, a Pune-based startup based by architects Priyanka Mangaonkar-Vaiude and Ajay Vaidya, is altering the best way we perceive toys for kids between the ages of 0 and eight.

Not solely are their handmade toys designed “following intensive analysis on motor and cognitive growth of kids”, however additionally they work with conventional artisans to make them with non-toxic and sustainable eco-friendly supplies like wooden and lac.

“The experiences kids have in early childhood form their mind and the capability to study, get together with others, and reply to each day stresses and challenges. Toy Trunk has been constructed with a imaginative and prescient to unfold consciousness amongst mother and father and guardians about how toys can contribute to the general growth of a kid,” says Priyanka, chatting with The Higher India.

“Additionally, to qualify the ‘handmade’ declare we make, some toys could require primary machine slicing when it comes to their base form. Nevertheless, fine-tuning, shaping the perimeters, colouring, detailing, assembling, and ending is all achieved manually,” she provides.

Co-founders of Toy Trunk making eco-friendly toys
Co-founders Priyanka Mangaonkar-Vaiude and Ajay Vaidya

Discovering inspiration

Priyanka, a skilled architect and inside designer who additionally specialises in craft and expertise, has greater than a decade of expertise within the greater echelons of Indian academia.

Again in early 2020, whereas writing a analysis paper with a fellow architect Minu Joshi for a convention at IIT Bombay, Priyanka took the instance of reviving conventional woodcraft practised within the Konkan area of Sawantwadi in Maharashtra — well-known for making toys.

“Completely different revival methods have been proposed on this paper, and each of us thought ‘as a substitute of simply discussing these, how can we implement them?’. And that’s how the concept of the Toy Trunk was initially born,” remembers Priyanka.

Nevertheless, inspiration additionally got here near residence.

Within the midst of the primary wave of COVID-19, Priyanka’s son had turned three. She was discovering it very tough to maintain her son away from the display throughout the lockdown. It was very disturbing to see her son getting hooked on cell phones, tablets, and TVs, which might severely hamper his psychological in addition to bodily progress and studying skill in the long term.

“I discovered a real lack of acceptable toys which might interact him. This pushed me to analysis youngster growth and strategies/instruments that enable for the holistic growth of a kid in a enjoyable and simple manner. I discovered that toys are the most effective instruments one can supply to a toddler throughout their early phases of growth, as additionally they entertain,” remembers Priyanka.

Connecting the dots, she considered redesigning conventional toys made by these artisans as instruments that would support the holistic growth of a kid. Furthermore, in the event that they have been made by these artisans, it might play some half in conserving the standard woodcraft, in locations like Sawantwadi, alive.

Ajay, an architect and concrete designer by commerce who specialises in human ergonomics, additionally observed how the arrival of on-line schooling throughout the pandemic had led to elevated display time for folks and kids, resulting in disengagement. In his condo advanced, Ajay additionally noticed that infants and toddlers have been now not glad even by being seated in entrance of a display.

“Kids have to be engaged in numerous methods off-screen. When Priyanka and I joined fingers with our frequent imaginative and prescient, we participated in ‘Toycathon 2021’ — a nationwide competitors organised by the Union Authorities in January 2021,” says Ajay.

Their entry made all of it the best way to the ultimate spherical, and barely three months later in April 2021, Toy Trunk was first established. They launched their web site in Could 2022.

Check out these eco-friendly toys
Eco-friendly toys by Toy Trunk (Left: Threading shapes; Proper: A toddler taking part in with rope stilts)

Using analysis to make toys

Neuroscience analysis tells us that about 85% of an individual’s mind growth occurs by the age of eight. Throughout this era, the speed at which neurons are produced within the mind is excessive. These neuron connections are the results of learnings achieved by way of expertise. Subsequently, offering the appropriate instruments which is able to give the required experiences on the proper age throughout this era is essential.

Listed below are a few of the toys that Toy Trunk have that assist such growth within the early childhood interval.

1) “Kids study to regulate their physique actions by the point they’re three years previous. Kids between three and eight years are thought of to be studying with associates of the identical age. Throughout this time, their social abilities are growing, and therefore, offering such alternatives ensures the development of social abilities,” explains Priyanka.

“Our faux play kitchen set is among the greatest instruments the place kids study contemplating others’ views, language abilities, negotiations, and problem-solving skills, primarily based on the observations made by them each day. Moreover, the concept behind growing a kitchen set was sparked when my son identified that the standard toy kitchen set he had lacked the tools that one makes use of in a kitchen each day in the present day,” says Priyanka.

“This made us realise that her son’s present picket kitchen set wanted plenty of modification in its design and dimension in order that he can relate it with those that we use. Additionally, the information of ergonomics and human physique proportions which we discovered in structure assisted us in deriving the appropriate dimension and proportion of every utensil for that excellent grip,” She provides.

“Whereas designing the kitchen set, we made many iterations and examined them with household and associates earlier than reaching the right dimension. Moderately than utilizing lacquer color for its end, we determined to make use of darkish and lightweight color wooden to make it extra interesting,” says Priyanka. 

This kitchen set is part of Toy Trunk's eco-friendly toys collection
Toy Trunk’s picket kitchen set for kids is a part of their assortment of eco-friendly toys

2) Apparently, Priyanka sends her son to an ‘unconventional college’ the place the main target is on experiential studying, in contrast to standard faculties. “Right here they first deal with the event of muscle tissues from the shoulder to the fingers earlier than taking on the duty of writing,” she notes.

“On this context, what we want is a software that permits kids motion of those muscle tissues. For instance, threading exercise, which helps in growing the pincer grip, is an important talent {that a} youngster wants earlier than he/she begins utilizing a pencil. Within the case of our threading form and lacing beads toy, the kid is made to make use of each fingers to weave a form. This helps them to develop the right hand and finger actions,” she provides.

“Our threading shapes toy develops bilateral motion in addition to hand-eye coordination. It additionally teaches them to establish basic geometric shapes. This improves current threading toys out there that have a look at solely unilateral hand motion,” claims Ajay.

3) There are some conventional Indian picket toys accessible which might be additionally developmental instruments, however there’s a lack of information about their goal.

“A peacock wobbler is an instance of 1 such toy. This toy may be very useful in rising the stomach time of a two or three-month-old toddler. Usually, at this age, a toddler begins crying whenever you put them on their tummy as a result of their neck and shoulder muscle tissues are usually not but totally developed. However extra tummy time helps in growing their neck and shoulder muscle tissues which additional assist them to boost their head, roll over, sit up, crawl and stroll,” explains Priyanka.

“Having one thing which has a vibrant color and dynamic motion whereas on the stomach diverts their consideration from the ache and helps them to get pleasure from this time. We took the idea of the identical toy however improved it by modifying pointed shapes and including enticing colors, which made our toy extra fascinating to oldsters or potential mother and father,” she provides.

4) “Within the first three to 4 months, a toddler learns largely by way of contact and listening to sense. Therefore offering totally different audio stimulation is essential on this interval. At Toy Trunk, we offer varied varieties of rattles to assist this growth. We’ve redesigned the dumbbell rattle in such a manner that it’ll not hurt the little fingers of the new child,” says Ajay.

These eco-friendly toys are being made by artisans
Conventional artisans at work making these eco-friendly toys

Sustainability first

Each Priyanka and Ajay strongly affirm that “each toy at Toy Trunk is made utterly with sustainable supplies like wooden or cloth, thus conserving the kids at bay from plastic toxins and different chemically manufactured toys.” Even the colors used on the toys are constituted of lac with pure merchandise like turmeric used for pigmentation.

“The choice to make toys out of sustainable supplies like wooden and cloth is impressed by a number of elements. Moreover the apparent environmental causes, the artisans we work with have been historically utilizing these pure supplies for years collectively. Additionally, picket and cloth toys made with pure supplies are protected, in distinction to plastic toys, that are produced utilizing chemical compounds and ‘acceptable quantities’ of poisons within the manufacturing course of,” explains Priyanka.

“Wood toys have pure textures which stimulate the kid’s senses to ask them to the touch, really feel and discover the floor space. In the meantime, the fundamental shapes of the toys assist the event of your youngster’s hand-eye coordination,” claims Ajay.

Who’re these artisans?

“From our printed analysis work with the College of Design, IIT Bombay, which noticed us  finding out the Sawantwadi toy cluster, we learnt that conventional Indian toy clusters have been dealing with quite a lot of points. So, we determined to revamp and repurpose these toys and commenced working with them and the Channapatna toy craft cluster as effectively,” says Priyanka.

Channapatna, a spot close to Mysore, has a toy craft cluster of over 3,000 conventional artisans engaged within the manufacturing of lacquerware constituted of vegetable dyes.

“Conventional apply includes lacquering of domestically accessible ivory wooden (domestically generally known as hale wooden) for making toys, however in the present day additionally they work with different woods like neem wooden (domestically generally known as Gauda neem), beech wooden, and rubber wooden. The artisans don’t use any non-toxic colors or uncooked supplies, therefore making the toys protected for kids,” says Ajay. In 2005, these conventional picket Channapatna toys have been conferred with a GI tag.

One artisan that Priyanka and Ajay met after they visited Channapatna in September 2021 was grasp craftsman B Venkatesh of Sri Beereshwara Artwork and Craft. Since their first encounter, Venkatesh has accomplished six orders for Toy Trunk.

“We make handmade lacquer picket toys with domestically accessible woods — like hale wooden (ivory wooden), gauda neem, beechwood, and rubber wooden. Historically, now we have been making rattles, tops, kitchen units, trains, automobiles, spinners, yoyos, cup-and-balls, wobblers, dancing picket dolls, and so forth. At present, I’ve 30 artisans working with me,” says Venkatesh. 

“Sooner or later, we want to unfold and apply our leanings, and design developmental instruments in numerous toy craft clusters of India with respective supplies. We want to play a bigger constructive position in sustaining and enriching these crafts sooner or later,” notes Priyanka.

How are artisans making these items
Artisans working in the direction of making these eco-friendly toys a actuality

Enterprise mannequin

“Toy Trunk at the moment makes use of the D2C (direct-to-consumer) enterprise mannequin during which we promote our merchandise on to customers. This consists of promoting toys on-line by way of our web site and aggregator marketplaces resembling Firstcry and The Nestery. We purpose to be on extra well-liked e-commerce platforms like Amazon India, Flipkart, and Jiomart quickly,” says Ajay.

How do they work with artisans?

“We work with them on a per-order foundation. Once we want extra stock, we create a purchase order order with the grasp craftsman who employs these artisans. We observe this method since it’s simple to speak the design and handle the fabric required, the supply timeframe, and so forth. The grasp craftsman pays the artisans in response to the order. We’re at the moment working with two grasp craftsmen,” notes Ajay.

To date, the bootstrapped startup has launched 24 merchandise and is seeking to grow to be a model with a turnover of Rs 1.5 crore by the top of the 12 months.

“Moreover fulfilling commonplace enterprise targets, nonetheless, we’re at the moment choices for incubation and funding. In the long term, we need to collaborate with extra artisans and enhance provide chain effectivity and likewise construct a sustainable and accountable enterprise,” says Priyanka.

(Edited by Pranita Bhat, Picture courtesy Toy Trunk)



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