CHENNAI: Egg-shaped rattles, cherry-shaped teethers, and night sky-themed mobile are lined up on a table. All toys are made of neem wood and dyed with natural extracts from vegetables. We came across Ariro (lullaby in Tamil) — a toy brand at a pop-up in the city. Founded by city-based couple Vasanth Tamilselvan and Nisha, Ariro has toys for infants and children up to three years old.
“When we became parents for the first time, we found that our daughter had atopic dermatitis or eczema. It develops in early childhood. Our child had an allergic reaction to plastic toys. We started scouting for wooden toys. In fact, we designed our own toys. Our friends also wanted them. One thing led to another and we started Ariro in April last year,” says Vasanth.
The couple travelled to France and Indonesia to study the medicinal benefits of wood and wooden toys. Vasanth’s wife Nisha is a Montessori teacher. The duo brainstormed with other teachers and designed toys keeping in mind the needs and sensitivity of the child. They joined hands with local artisans. The carved products are coloured using vegetable dyes and brought to their warehouse in Chetpet from where they are dispatched.
“The segment of zero to three years is a crucial time. But the options for this segment are sidelined in many kids’ websites and stores. We need to ensure that the infants have organic growth with a healthy lifestyle and mental stability. With more parents switching over to natural options, neem wood has become a popular choice. Our orders have doubled. People from abroad have also shown interest,” says Vasanth. Ariro’s toys amplify cognitive development, help motor skills development and aids hand-eye coordination.
Teethers are available in shapes of fruits and vegetables, and cradle mobiles made of wood have birds, clouds, airplanes, and stars as toys. Their toy collection includes 18 varieties of rattles, 12 of teethers, seven of mobiles, sliders, stackers, and puzzles. Stacking and nesting toys are said to help with spatial development, dexterity, and reasoning skills.
“Everything from design to delivery is time-consuming because all are hand-made toys. We have also mentioned the storage and maintenance details for our toys behind the package. It’s simple — keep water away. Some parents even drop in at our warehouse to get a touch-and-feel. We also suggest the toys are neatly arranged and kept within the reach,” he shares.
Ariro delivers across India. For details, www.ariro.in