Mother and an investment banker turns entrepreneur, starts up ToyTastingPreethi Chamikutty
Richa Dikshit is a mother and an investment banker-turned entrepreneur, who got into entrepreneurship by chance. What Richa has set out to do is create video reviews of toys which can be used by mothers like her to understand complex toys sold in the market. “While I would like to say that I had a grand plan and what I started was well thought out, that is not the case. I thought it would be nice to have video reviews of toys, because I was surrounded by toys of my child and started recording toy videos out of chance,” explains the founder of Toy Tasting. ToyTasting is a channel on YouTube, which was started in January 2012 as a project by Richa along with a few more mothers from Mumbai. Since launch ToyTasting has received 6.8 million views and has over 190 toy videos on it.
Richa was thinking of quitting her investment banking job with Merrill Lynch when she was expecting her second child. She had an elder daughter and was surrounded by toys all the time, so Richa decided to make reviews of these toys and share it with other mothers to help them understand these new toys better. Today a number of eCommerce sites both in India, like Flipkart and abroad, like Qubro from New Zealand use the video toy reviews made by ToyTasting on their websites.
ToyTasting has a panel of mothers who review various toys and send them the videos. While earlier these reviews were mostly done for toys that these mothers purchased for their kids, now toy manufacturers and toy shops have seen a merit in what ToyTasting is doing and gets in touch with them to help review their toys. ToyTasting doesn’t take any money from the manufacturers and as of now, Richa says she is not doing this to make money, but because she enjoys the process.
Toy companies like Mattel and Funskool have sent toys to ToyTasting’s panel of mothers for getting it reviewed. Toy store Simba, has also approached the startup's panel of mothers to review new toys in their shop. ToyTasting today has a panel of 50 mothers from across the country who do the video reviews. While there is no money paid to these mothers to do the review, they get to keep the toy that they have received for reviewing, says Richa. Apart from well-known brands, even smaller toy manufacturers are approaching ToyTasting to get their toys reviewed, says Richa.Today ToyTasting’s YouTube channel has over 2,000 subscribers and Richa says the response has been very encouraging. What started as a hobby is today a full-time occupation for Richa. While she shot the first 50 videos herself, today she has a 11-member team to help her with recoding, editing and other aspects of running ToyTasting. Subscribers to the ToyTasting channel get an alert every time a new video is uploaded. While Richa is not looking at monetizing ToyTasting at this point, along the way she has started an ecommerce store for toys called Yellow Giraffe, where some of the toys reviewed on ToyTasting are being sold. “Our viewers started asking us how they could buy the toys that they see on our channel and therefore we decided to start a store where they can buy the products from,” explains Richa.
Richa is in no hurry to scale, but wants to ensure that she does what she is doing in the best possible way and give value to her viewers who come to ToyTasting. When we asked her what is it that she likes the most about her entrepreneurial journey so far, Richa says: “When I was an investment banker, my elder daughter was not sure what my job was and would tell her friends, that ‘my mom sits in front of the computer whole day’. But now she very proudly tells her friends that ‘my mother plays with toys’ when asked about my job.” The young mother is happy to make her daughter proud and in the process simplify complex toys in the market for customers, before they make their purchase.