KOCHI: The moment the couple laid their hands on the Channapatna toy, their faces lit up. They knew they had to get it for their child. The hand-carved lacquerware was appealing enough for them to overlook its slightly higher price. It is such moments that entrepreneur Merin Varghese finds rewarding. For, she has been promoting the use of organic baby products - diapers, teethers and toys - through her store ‘Oh My Bow’ in Kakkanad.
Besides educational Channapatna toys, her handpicked collections include bamboo toothbrushes, cloth diapers (both microfibre and bamboo) and other baby products like wooden teethers.Merin says when she decided to sell baby products, her only criteria was that it wouldn’t have anything plastic in it. “We are so dependent on plastic products for our baby that the whole idea of a plastic ban can seem a bit surreal at first. I used cloth diapers for my child and found it extremely good and safe. That’s when I decided to promote it. So, when I started ‘Oh My Bow’, I took it on myself to sell only organic products,” says the entrepreneur.
She, along with her husband, went to Channapatna in Karnataka, to handpick toys. “The quality and safety of Channapatna toys are unparalleled. These toys, made of wood and painted only using organic colours, are educational too. It is the massive inflow of cheap Chinese toys that affected Channapatna. So, when I decided to sell these toys, I wanted to ensure the products are safe and educational too,” says Merin. It was the same with diapers. Good-quality cloth diapers were not easily available in India that she had to source the same from outside. “We have ones with both microfibre and bamboo linings. Now, I am researching on bio-degradable diapers,” she adds. Another product which is available is an organic toothbrush. “That’s one thing most of us ignore. We let our children chew on plastic toothbrushes. The bamboo toothbrushes are safer and a healthier option,” adds Merin. But, finding customers for organic baby products wasn’t easy. “Basically, it takes a lot of awareness. I used social media as a tool for the same. But, there is a lot of positive reactions from customers too,” she adds.