A creative mind knows no “right” or “wrong”. It is at its best when left to explore the possibilities beyond the obvious. Living with this belief, Suhasini Paul, an industrial design post graduate from National Institute of Design (NID) founded Pink Elefant, a Toy Design studio that celebrates the colour of child-like imagination…free-spirited, pure and innocent.Also, Suhasini Paul was one of the finalists at British Council’s Young Design Entrepreneur Awards, 2009. To know more about the Young Design Entrepreneur Awards, click here. Follow the Young Creative Entrepreneur Awards (YCE) on Facebook
Abhilasha Dafria from YourStory.in finds out more about her venture.
What is Pink Elefant all about? Tell us in detail.
Pink Elefant is the first dedicated Toy Design studio in India. We also have our own line of products to offer like Monster Hugs and My Lilliput Army. We work closely with our customers at both the ends, manufacturer at one end and user on the other. Our specialization lies in design of products, kitchenware, furniture, apart from toys and learning aids. With focus towards target users and using observation as a tool, we do in-depth task analysis. Genuine needs are seldom spoken. We dig out latent needs and desires and address them through our concepts. We validate the concepts using quick models, prototypes and then refine and create final design specifications.
At Pink Elefant, we combine in depth research, user understanding, and technology to create a customized design process which results in truly innovative and cost effective designs for our clients with the understanding of material, process and optimized costing. We facilitate organizations to identify untapped potential.
We believe in completing the cycle of designing all the way from concepts to end product to packaging to catalogue. Pink Elefant is currently involved not only in the discovery of new ideas or concepts, but also new associations of talents and businesses, fuelled by sheer creativity.
Toy design firm sounds exciting. What is your prior work experience and educational background?
Just after post-graduating from NID in Toy Design, I began my journey as a design entrepreneur in 2005, hunting opportunities for design intervention in the toy sector. Ever since, I have been actively involved in spreading awareness about Toy Design, the new profession in India, by giving lecturers in design Schools like IILM school of Design, NIFT Delhi, IIT Kanpur and NID. I am often invited by NDTV for a chat show - 'Bringing up baby', to share the perspective of a Toy Designer on choosing and buying appropriate toys for children, and also to talk about special need toys, developmental toys and toy safety. In 2005, I was honoured by the Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri. Narendra Modi as the first lady ‘Designprenuer’ of India. The same year, "Dialogue" - communication aid toy was selected as a finalist at the Business World Design Excellence Awards. In 2009, I was selected as one of the finalists at British Council’s Young Design Entrepreneur Awards.
Why did you choose Toy Design as an entrepreneur? Any personal experience that triggered you to start PinkElefant?
As a child I used to create my own toys and games. I had an inclination towards creative things and I found it to be my calling while perusing B.E. in electrical engineering. At the same time I started a company called ‘Dreamz Decorations’. My work then entailed window displays and organising birthday parties for kids in free time apart from engineering studies. I always wanted to do something for children and then gradually discovered the lacuna in the toy industry. During that period in 2002, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, started a new discipline – Toy Design and Development. I got myself enrolled in 2003 and did my post-graduation in toy design.
Could you also tell us about your services and products in detail?
We offer a wide variety of design/ business services to any kind and any size clients. Our services include:
Electrical Accessories, Lighting, Kitchen utensils, Children/baby products, Gifts, Stationary, Tableware, Bath accessories, and other everyday objects.
Board Games, Jigsaw Puzzles, Craft/Activity Kits, Wooden/Stuffed Toys, Doll House, Promotional toys, Educational Aids.
Logo/stationary, Website, Illustrations, T-shirt graphics, Packaging, Posters, POP, Catalogues/brochures.
Accessories, School Uniform, Theatre Costumes, installation design for fashion shows.
Furniture, Kids Playroom, Lamps, Clocks, Dinnerware.
Consumer Insight Design (CID)
We designed “Green Play”, series of board games / puzzles, with an aim of imbibing environmental awareness in children.
How many customers do you have? Tell us a bit about your clients. We have worked in multidisciplinary domains for various clients ranging from startups, SMEs, NGOs to well established global companies. We have been able to serve about 60 to 65 different companies so far.
Within a period of 6 plus years, I have been able to design for quite a number of industries, helping them accelerate their business growth. My clients includes Disney, Hape – Germany, Kinder Joy - Italy, Royal King -Thailand, Esselte Corp. USA, Nokia, Plan strategies UK, Frank - India, Playgro – India, Ediots, India to name a few.
How big is your team?
We have a core team of 3 people; we work with a freelance artists and illustrators, vendors and manufacturers as and when required.
Where are your toys available for sale?
They are marketed by Pink Elefant in collaboration with Ediots. They are available at online shops and their launch is scheduled in India next month. We shall update the retailers list on our website soon.
How does the revenue model work?
Currently, our major revenue comes from design services. We have just entered in our own line of products, toys and clothing line. Revenue has just started from our clothing line – ‘EDiOTS’ which I have co-founded with my brother Bhushan.
We are focussing on manufacturing of good quality products, setting up a supply chain and distribution network by exhibiting in International trade fairs like Frankfurt Ambiente and Germany Toy Fair.
Are you looking at raising funds?
Yes, we are looking to raise funds.
Are you planning an e-commerce site for your toys?
Yes, it’s in the pipeline.
How do you see the design ecosystem evolve in India?
It’s less evolved in India. However, there is plethora of quirky products available in the market since past 2 to 3 years.
What are the three tips that you would like to give to budding design entrepreneurs in India?
Do things only if you believe in them.
Many of us think we are different but very few believe they can make a difference. Be a doer.
Work for joy!
How was the experience at YCE?
YCE gave us the opportunity to reinvent ourselves; it gave us fuel to enhance our lacking areas. We are a family now. They invite us for all the events, be it a book launch or a talk by any renowned person. They facilitate us to connect with people from various domains to explore possibilities for newer collaborations. We would like to thank YCE team for creating such a wonderful platform for creative entrepreneurs like us.
Do visit their website http://pinkelefant.in and let us know your feedback.