“With our distinct range, we are not only reviving the childhood toys and games but also innovating new ones keeping the Indian roots and nostalgic factor alive which makes us quite unique.”
‘Desi Toys’ is an ‘India Inspired, India Made’ brand. Started in 2012, the toy brand is not just reviving the classic and iconic Indian toys and games but is also looking to present innovative alternatives that are fun, safe, skill-enhancing, and engaging.
Mommy & Baby Times interviewed Ms. Swapna Wagh, Founder & Director, Desi Toys & Games Pvt Ltd, in which she takes us through the story behind the inception of the brand, the product range, the manufacturing of their products, their market presence, and the future plans.
January 13, 2022
Mommy & Baby Times: Please give us an overview of ‘Desi Toys’ by taking us through the motivation behind starting the brand and the relevance of the brand name in the Indian toy market which has been dominated by imported toys.
Swapna Wagh: ‘Desi Toys’ is an Indian toy brand offering iconic and classic Indian toys and games which are ‘India Inspired, India Made’. My childhood love for traditional toys and games along with my passion for exposing today’s tech-savvy generation who are being robbed of the wonders our country has to offer with its rich collection of toys and games made me take this leap forward.
Currently, the Indian market is flooded with more than 80 percent imported toys but still, we see huge scope for ‘Desi Toys’ to stand out in the clutter due to its unique offering of iconic toys. Today, people are taking pride in owning a ‘Made in India’ product, and thus, our brand name is apt as it explains our offering in the simplest words to our customers.
MBT: Tell us about the range of toys and games offered by the brand. How do you describe the unique strengths and features of the offerings?
SW: Desi Toys offers all childhood toys and games that one can think of, right from the popular Steam Toy Boat, Catapult, Lagori, Spinning top, Gili Danda to role-playing brass and wooden miniature kitchen sets to strategy board games like Chess, Mancala, Pachisi, etc. to activity toys like Yoyo, Hopscotch playmat, Slate, Bowling game, etc. With our distinct range, we are not only reviving the childhood toys and games but also innovating new ones keeping the Indian roots and nostalgic factor alive which makes us quite unique. All our products are non-digital, lab-tested with ISI marking for superior quality and safety, made from sustainable materials, and 100 percent Made in India.
MBT: Share some specifics on the designing and manufacturing of the products.
SW: The process starts with identifying the need gap and the potential to address that gap through our product offering. Our internal design team then works on designing the toy. The team ensures all our toys reflect the Indian/Desi theme in each product as per our brand ideology. For instance, we have recently launched an Indian Tea Set/Desi Garam Chai playset which has all utensils used in Indian homes to make tea, i.e. along with cups and saucer, our tea set will also have a tea pan, tea strainer, tea powder container, sugar container, etc unlike the western-influenced tea sets which only has a kettle and teacups/saucers.
After prototyping, we test and take feedback from a few of our customers and then final production happens. At no point in time, a child’s safety and product quality aspect is compromised in the production process.
MBT: How has the acceptance been like for Desi Toys? Tell us about the market reach of the brand and the expansion plans.
SW: We haven’t marketed our brand a lot yet but the ones who have bought it love them and spread the word. In the last few months, we have started selling in popular stores like Hamleys, Toys R Us, Landmark, etc which is giving us the much-needed visibility, trust, and growth in the B2B domain. Furthermore, our listing on Amazon, FirstCry, Flipkart, and through our own website is helping us to grow our sales on B2C platforms.
MBT: Since India is one of the most rapidly growing and dynamic toy markets in the world, what do you think are some of the upcoming trends you foresee in the toy sector in both domestic and global markets?
SW: Though more and more kids are getting glued to their screens, it will not completely replace play with physical toys. Parents will continue to look out for toys and games which educate, enhance skills and keep them engaged. With government-backed incentives, we will see more domestic players/startups entering into the toy sector with amazing products for India and the global audience. Many global toy brands will even look at sourcing from India hub which will further increase sales of Indian manufacturers. Also, there is a growing trend of toy companies across the globe looking for environmentally safer alternatives for making toys/packs. This will contribute to environmental sustainability. So, there are interesting times ahead with lots happening in the toy sector.
“We have partnered with popular retail stores like Hamleys, Toys R Us, etc which will fuel our B2B growth… we will focus on increasing our sales through our B2C platforms as well as launching new products”
MBT: While the market for traditional Indian toys and games is growing with the government playing a key role with relevant initiatives, it is also true that kids today remain glued to mobiles and computer screens. How do you strategise to encourage parents to go for Desi Toys and reduce the screen time of their kids?
SW: As the saying goes ‘Too much of anything is not good’, we see that happening with kids’ screen time as well. Parents are now concerned and they want to act on it and are looking for safer, fun play alternatives which even the kids will enjoy. Iconic toys have been popular for so many years across all ages and they have passed the test of time making them popular even today. If we don’t see many kids playing with these toys, it is not because they are no longer fun but simply because we don’t get these toys in the market that easily and hence, awareness about these toys is relatively lower. Going ahead, we plan to involve schools in our marketing plan to educate and run competitions amongst kids with the ‘Desi Toys’ challenger series. This will help in our mission to spread our toys to all future generations to come.
MBT: Is there any new development at Desi Toys that you wish to share? What are the future plans?
SW: ‘Desi Toys’ has done decently well even during the COVID crisis. We have partnered with popular retail stores like Hamleys, Toys R Us, etc which will fuel our B2B growth going ahead with more tie-ups happening and we will focus on increasing our sales through our B2C platforms as well as launching new products with more marketing initiatives.
We also plan to start exports looking at the huge potential globally for our products. We have touched a very small pie of this huge market. We hope that aspects such as – funding, scale, innovation, and efficiency along with a strong team will help us to lead in this market.