Meeta Gupta is an ex-IIT and Harvard graduate who sells non-toxic, designer toys for toddlers on Amazon and is the founder of the brand Shumee. As a mother of two, she was not happy with the toys available in the Indian market for children as they were not completely safe and their design did not seem to be development friendly. She decided to start her own brand that would provide toys made of natural material like wood, which would help in the sensory and motor development of toddlers by providing a good touch and feel experience. To realise this dream, she designed a couple of products, got in touch with toy manufacturers in and around Bangalore and started selling her products online.
She found online success on Amazon. She signed up for FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) seller and her products became available on Prime. In the last year, she has seen a 12x growth in her business and with FBA handling her storage, packaging and shipments, she only focuses on growing her business. Amazon provided her with the platform to compete against big toy brands and she is beginning to establish Shumee as a successful brand in the online retail space.
Meeta: Hi, I’m Meeta Gupta, founder of Shumee Toys. We sell non-toxic, eco-friendly and safe toys on Amazon. I was working with a research lab in the US. We were there for 10 years and we moved back to India to be closer to our family. I’m the mother of two boys. When we moved back, my younger one was barely a year old.
I was not very happy with the toys being offered over here, both in terms of safety and the design of the toys! Being exposed to toys which helped the child grow, develop laterally, I wanted to create a brand in India which also offered the same, safe and engaging toys for the Indian market! I quit my job in 2014 and started looking for manufacturers who could help us build these toys!
Luckily I found one manufacturer close to Bangalore. We designed four toys and he helped us manufacture it and we started selling it online.
Shalvi: The design process involves looking at the age group, looking at the skills as associated with that age group. For example sensory, motor and cognitive skills. Then we take up sketching and then prototyping and finally the execution.
Meeta: We chose to be an online brand initially and this decision helped us reach customers from the remotest parts of India. Last year we decided to focus on Amazon! We became FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) sellers and we’re available on Prime.
We have seen a 12x increase in our sales from 3 lacs a year, last year, to around 36 lacs a year, this year!
Being on Amazon has helped us grow our brand. ‘Toys’ is a fragmented market, but with the tools and support provided by Amazon helps brands like us get discovered! We are very happy with our growth and we would like to focus more on growing ourselves on Amazon. All Shumee Toys are made with non-toxic and eco-friendly materials and hence, are safe for babies and toddlers.
We hope to find a space for ourselves and cement ourselves in the toy industry. We know we are up against bigger players but, through Amazon, we hope to establish ourselves in the online retail space!