Photo: @chirpeetree
Photo: @chirpeetree

New kids on the block

These young, independent children's labels are adding a personal touch to the booming baby products market

Last year, when Mumbai-based Ananya Gada was curating a baby basket for her newborn nephew, she found one item challenging to source—a swaddle. “It’s the first need of an infant, but there are no brands dedicated to making good swaddles here, and you usually have to import quality ones," she says. The former visual merchandiser decided to plug this gap in the market with ChirpeeTree, a brand dedicated to organic cotton swaddles. In the last few years, the expanding children’s market has found attention from Indian designers with the launch of kidswear lines like Chota péro by Aneeth Arora, Baby Eka by Rima Singh and PS Kids by Payal Singhal. On the other hand, young parents (and well-meaning aunts and uncles) are creating their own niche, offering distinct children’s products, from baby-wearing fabrics and amigurumi caps to open-ended toys and Scandinavian-style furniture. Here’s a first look at the new entrants in the thriving childcare market.

For a snug wrap: ChirpeeTree

ChirpeeTree’s swaddles are made of 100% organic cotton, and are available in a range of reversible designs, from muted solids to playful polkas. “Since we’re one of the largest cotton-producing country, I thought of setting up a made-in-India brand," says founder Ananya Gada. Contact: @chirpEEtrEE on Instagram.

For offbeat knits: Split Ends

Bengaluru-based Amrita Choudhury’s crochet hobby turned into an Instagram business after the birth of her son. Now, Choudhury creates personalized knitwear, making everything from animal-headed caps to overalls and bunny booties. “Apart from parents, another big customer base is baby photographers—they are always sourcing fun props for their shoots," says Choudhury. Contact: @Ssplitends on Instagram

For playful prints: Mapayah

Mapayah is a family collaboration between design couple Maulshree Somani, Rizwan Ali and their five-year-old-son Yahir (who also coined the portmanteau “Ma-Pa-Yah"). Their handcrafted products, which include furniture, bedding and accessories, merge minimal Scandinavian design with traditional block-printing techniques. The result? Endearing ice- candy stools and fox-patterned bedspreads. Contact: Mapayah.com

For hands-free parenting: Almitra Tattva

“When you wear your baby for the first time, you really feel empowered," says Anamika Sengupta, founder of Almitra Tattva. The online store offers woollen and cotton fabrics, woven by looms from around the country, that can be used in place of structured baby carriers as meh dais (front and back wraps) and ring slings. Sengupta says most of her orders so far have come from Europe. “While baby-wearing is common in the North-East, in other places we still need more awareness." Contact: Almitratattva.com

For the fashion-forward: Rani Kidswear

Started by former art director Aarti Jiandani and Toral Bhanushali, this new kidswear label for girls offers on-trend occasion-wear. Expect a mix of frills, peplums and ruffles, with creative styling options. For instance, Poppy, a shimmery brocade dress, comes with an oversized bow and a detachable trail. Contact: @ranikidswear on

Instagram

For creative playthings: Bloon Toys

These natural, open-ended toys are build on the Waldorf philosophy of using imaginative play for learning. Bloon Toys’ minimal wooden designs are suited for children aged 2-7, and include a curvy board to help children learn balance, poise and coordination; a modelling beeswax kit; and a wooden slingshot with felt balls.Contact: Bloontoys.com.

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