Toy story: A designers approach to making Indian toys for the global market

Author : LavadaCrooks
Publish Date : 2021-04-20 06:08:37
Toy story: A designers approach to making Indian toys for the global market

© Chanpreet Khurana Toy story: A designer's approach to making Indian toys for the global market

Once upon a time in a tony house in Nagpur, Maharashtra, fetching toy stories were being written perpetually. The matriarch of the house would pick old frayed clothes, embroider them, sew them and give them a new look, a new life. She would sit long hours on the whirring sewing machine to make dolls and dresses.

In that house, a little girl picked the basics of sewing techniques and chalk sculpting from her maternal grandmother, the one who made dolls and dresses. The little girl’s mother would religiously upcycle clothes and curtains and her father created fascinating trifles from discarded leftover material. That little girl observed everything. The thread and the paint and the delightful toys that they turned into.

Many years later, that little girl obtained a masters in toy design from the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad. Her name: Suhasini Paul.

Paul has since created Kinder Joy surprise gifts, panda-featured Paddy Baby Walker, a collection of Monster Hugs stuffed toys, Pizza Role Play Toy and Icon Teethers, among several other toys.

Design interventions in toy making

Soon after her post-graduation, Paul started looking for opportunities for design interventions in the toy sector. In a market cluttered with toys from China, however, there weren't many takers.

Paul pursued her toy dream doggedly and in 2005, designed her first toy: the Water Cycle, which was launched at the Nuremburg Toy Fair, the world’s biggest toy fair. The Water Cycle was sold in India as well as 14 different countries across the globe.

She got her big break a few years later, when Kinder Joy approached her to design surprise toys to mark their entry into India. “I have designed various surprise toys, innovative and interactive collectibles for Kinder Joy. These toys have modular elements which are complete in itself but can be made into another playful object. Passive element turns into dynamic toys,” says Paul who shuttles between Pune and Noida.

As a child, she had created a personalised hexagonal carrom board to accommodate more than five of her friends. From there, she has carried forward the notion of design simplicity and the need of the end consumer.

“My design process begins with observation and need-identification through in-depth research. With those insights, I come back to the drawing board and conceptualise the toy. The most crucial phase is detailing of the toy to make it user-friendly and cost-effective, as well as increasing its perceived value. It generally takes four weeks to design a toy and then another three to four months to make it available in the market,” adds Paul who names Balancing Cactus toy by Plan Toys (Thailand) as her favourite toy.

What next?

These days at Paul Studio (www.paulstudio.in), new toy ideas are being sketched on the drawing board. Paul is collaborating with her husband Sandip Paul and other Red Dot winning designers to make wooden toys, IoT toys, collectible toys like Space Rocket and remote-controlled cars and monster trucks.

Within her busy schedule, Paul is also sharing her toy stories and skills with others. She conducts Make your own Mini Monster Toy workshops in which participants can turn their favourite monster into a Mini Pocket Toy and their drawings into little 3D objects/toys. All this without a sewing machine - toys are hand-sewn as they were in the days of yore.

It has been 16 years since Paul made her first commercial toy. India’s toy story has been rewritten since then. Worldwide, India is becoming one of the largest consumers and suppliers of toys- this is further fuelled by the

fact that the country has a strong competency in board and paper, plastic and textiles, which translate into good quality educational board games and puzzles, wooden toys and plush toys manufactured locally for the export market. The recent impetus came from the virtual first-of-its-kind India Toy Fair (February 27 - March 4) in which approximately 1,000 toy makers and 60 toy clusters participated and exhibited their toys.

To boost the Indian toy industry in terms of manufacturing locally and increasing toy exports, in 2020, the government of India increased import duty on toys and the also made Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification mandatory. Now, toy traders who were i© Chanpreet Khurana Toy story: A designer's approach to making Indian toys for the global market

Once upon a time in a tony house in Nagpur, Maharashtra, fetching toy stories were being written perpetually. The matriarch of the house would pick old frayed clothes, embroider them, sew them and give them a new look, a new life. She would sit long hours on the whirring sewing machine to make dolls and dresses.

In that house, a little girl picked the basics of sewing techniques and chalk sculpting from her maternal grandmother, the one who made dolls and dresses. The little girl’s mother would religiously upcycle clothes and curtains and her father created fascinating trifles from discarded leftover material. That little girl observed everything. The thread and the paint and the delightful toys that they turned into.

Many years later, that little girl obtained a masters in toy design from the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad. Her name: Suhasini Paul.

Paul has since created Kinder Joy surprise gifts, panda-featured Paddy Baby Walker, a collection of Monster Hugs stuffed toys, Pizza Role Play Toy and Icon Teethers, among several other toys.

Design interventions in toy making

Soon after her post-graduation, Paul started looking for opportunities for design interventions in the toy sector. In a market cluttered with toys from China, however, there weren't many takers.

Paul pursued her toy dream doggedly and in 2005, designed her first toy: the Water Cycle, which was launched at the Nuremburg Toy Fair, the world’s biggest toy fair. The Water Cycle was sold in India as well as 14 different countries across the globe.

She got her big break a few years later, when Kinder Joy approached her to design surprise toys to mark their entry into India. “I have designed various surprise toys, innovative and interactive collectibles for Kinder Joy. These toys have modular elements which are complete in itself but can be made into another playful object. Passive element turns into dynamic toys,” says Paul who shuttles between Pune and Noida.

As a child, she had created a personalised hexagonal carrom board to accommodate more than five of her friends. From there, she has carried forward the notion of design simplicity and the need of the end consumer.

“My design process begins with observation and need-identification through in-depth research. With those insights, I come back to the drawing board and conceptualise the toy. The most crucial phase is detailing of the toy to make it user-friendly and cost-effective, as well as increasing its perceived value. It generally takes four weeks to design a toy and then another three to four months to make it available in the market,” adds Paul who names Balancing Cactus toy by Plan Toys (Thailand) as her favourite toy.

What next?

These days at Paul Studio (www.paulstudio.in), new toy ideas are being sketched on the drawing board. Paul is collaborating with her husband Sandip Paul and other Red Dot winning designers to make wooden toys, IoT toys, collectible toys like Space Rocket and remote-controlled cars and monster trucks.

Within her busy schedule, Paul is also sharing her toy stories and skills with others. She conducts Make your own Mini Monster Toy workshops in which participants can turn their favourite monster into a Mini Pocket Toy and their drawings into little 3D objects/toys. All this without a sewing machine - toys are hand-sewn as they were in the days of yore.

It has been 16 years since Paul made her first commercial toy. India’s toy story has been rewritten since then. Worldwide, India is becoming one of the largest consumers and suppliers of toys- this is further fuelled by the

fact that the country has a strong competency in board and paper, plastic and textiles, which translate into good quality educational board games and puzzles, wooden toys and plush toys manufactured locally for the export market. The recent impetus came from the virtual first-of-its-kind India Toy Fair (February 27 - March 4) in which approximately 1,000 toy makers and 60 toy clusters participated and exhibited their toys.

To boost the Indian toy industry in terms of manufacturing locally and increasing toy exports, in 2020, the government of India increased import duty on toys and the also ma© Chanpreet Khurana Toy story: A designer's approach to making Indian toys for the global market

Once upon a time in a tony house in Nagpur, Maharashtra, fetching toy stories were being written perpetually. The matriarch of the house would pick old frayed clothes, embroider them, sew them and give them a new look, a new life. She would sit long hours on the whirring sewing machine to make dolls and dresses.

In that house, a little girl picked the basics of sewing techniques and chalk sculpting from her maternal grandmother, the one who made dolls and dresses. The little girl’s mother would religiously upcycle clothes and curtains and her father created fascinating trifles from discarded leftover material. That little girl observed everything. The thread and the paint and the delightful toys that they turned into.

Many years later, that little girl obtained a masters in toy design from the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad. Her name: Suhasini Paul.

Paul has since created Kinder Joy surprise gifts, panda-featured Paddy Baby Walker, a collection of Monster Hugs stuffed toys, Pizza Role Play Toy and Icon Teethers, among several other toys.

Design interventions in toy making

Soon after her post-graduation, Paul started looking for opportunities for design interventions in the toy sector. In a market cluttered with toys from China, however, there weren't many takers.

Paul pursued her toy dream doggedly and in 2005, designed her first toy: the Water Cycle, which was launched at the Nuremburg Toy Fair, the world’s biggest toy fair. The Water Cycle was sold in India as well as 14 different countries across the globe.

She got her big break a few years later, when Kinder Joy approached her to design surprise toys to mark their entry into India. “I have designed various surprise toys, innovative and interactive collectibles for Kinder Joy. These toys have modular elements which are complete in itself but can be made into another playful object. Passive element turns into dynamic toys,” says Paul who shuttles between Pune and Noida.

As a child, she had created a personalised hexagonal carrom board to accommodate more than five of her friends. From there, she has carried forward the notion of design simplicity and the need of the end consumer.

“My design process begins with observation and need-identification through in-depth research. With those insights, I come back to the drawing board and conceptualise the toy. The most crucial phase is detailing of the toy to make it user-friendly and cost-effective, as well as increasing its perceived value. It generally takes four weeks to design a toy and then another three to four months to make it available in the market,” adds Paul who names Balancing Cactus toy by Plan Toys (Thailand) as her favourite toy.

What next?

These days at Paul Studio (www.paulstudio.in), new toy ideas are being sketched on the drawing board. Paul is collaborating with her husband Sandip Paul and other Red Dot winning designers to make wooden toys, IoT toys, collectible toys like Space Rocket and remote-controlled cars and monster trucks.

Within her busy schedule, Paul is also sharing her toy stories and skills with others. She conducts Make your own Mini Monster Toy workshops in which participants can turn their favourite monster into a Mini Pocket Toy and their drawings into little 3D objects/toys. All this without a sewing machine - toys are hand-sewn as they were in the days of yore.

It has been 16 years since Paul made her first commercial toy. India’s toy story has been rewritten since then. Worldwide, India is becoming one of the largest consumers and suppliers of toys- this is further fuelled by the

fact that the country has a strong competency in board and paper, plastic and textiles, which translate into good quality educational board games and puzzles, wooden toys and plush toys manufactured locally for the export market. The recent impetus came from the virtual first-of-its-kind India Toy Fair (February 27 - March 4) in which approximately 1,000 toy makers and 60 toy clusters participated and exhibited their toys.

To boost the Indian toy industry in terms of manufacturing locally and increasing toy exports, in 2020, the government of India increased import duty on toys and the also ma

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de Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification mandatory. Now, toy traders who were importing from other countries want to have new toys designed and manufactured locally in India.

With wood as her favourite toy material and blue/turquoise as her favourite colour, Paul looks at her toy story with delight. She still borrows inspiration from observing children, her design process continues to be simple, she still likes making toys that are easily understood by children. And she still practices empathy. Towards everyone.

de Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification mandatory. Now, toy traders who were importing from other countries want to have new toys designed and manufactured locally in India.

With wood as her favourite toy material and blue/turquoise as her favourite colour, Paul looks at her toy story with delight. She still borrows inspiration from observing children, her design process continues to be simple, she still likes making toys that are easily understood by children. And she still practices empathy. Towards everyone.

mporting from other countries want to have new toys designed and manufactured locally in India.

With wood as her favourite toy material and blue/turquoise as her favourite colour, Paul looks at her toy story with delight. She still borrows inspiration from observing children, her design process continues to be simple, she still likes making toys that are easily understood by children. And she still practices empathy. Towards everyone.



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