When Vidhi Mehra’s children were three and five years old, they suggested the name of the venture to her.
It so happened that they had a candy cane each in their hand and over a casual discussion, suggested the name to their mother. A lot of thought went into it and she was finally convinced and decided to name her venture the ‘Candy Cane Club’.
“I wanted to do something with children in the age group of two to five years. I wanted to engage children in games that would help them develop holistically,” says Vidhi, Founder of Candy Cane Club.
Therefore, in 2008 Vidhi started her journey of designing board games first for her two children and then for all in that age group. Vidhi’s aim was simple – she wanted to assist children in memory building and lateral thinking.
There were only known brands, not much of games meant for memory sharpening. She designed 10 board games, which were launched straightaway in 30 cities. Vidhi says she got a great start but did not know who was buying her games and she was eager to get a feedback.
“I wanted to reach out to all parents, mainly because I had always enjoyed interacting with children. I was known as the free crèche at Pali Hills where I stayed. Parents would often drop their young children at my place and I made sure that they were playing something or the other at all times. I would also volunteer my free time at playschools to interact more with children,” says Vidhi.
“I constantly kept developing ideas to keep them engaged while trying to teach them some valuable lesson. That’s what gave birth to the board games at Candy Cane Club,”says Vidhi.
Designing educational board games
That is when she approached Dr Toy, a popular name in developing educational games for kids in the US. Vidhi had a word with her to understand the requirement of small children. “I wanted to share my experience, understand what the parents want and thus was born the idea of developing subscription boxes for children,” says Vidhi.
When Vidhi started Candy Cane Club in 2009, it was originally meant to create educational board games and books for children in the age group of three years and above. Around 2009 was when the online games scenario was picking up and kids were beginning to get introduced to these electronic gizmos. Experts all over the world continued harping on the benefits of classic board games and basic toys to develop interpersonal and social skills for young children.
“I designed board games for three to eight year olds that maximised interaction between players to aid in the development of social, emotional, and creative skills. I believed in the concept of learning through interaction,” says Vidhi who strongly advocates experiential activity for children.
Curated subscription boxes
Vidhi says while she was bringing up her children, she was often faced with the dilemma of what toys or books to buy.
“I would end up bringing books and toys that my children would not even look at. I searched online, but there were so many products out there that I always found myself lost. And when I actually brought something home, my children would not even look at it. Whenever I wanted to make my kids play, I had only a handful of games to use. It was then I started doing research on toys and books for little babies. I realised that they were not the right games that would help me work on skills like memory and lateral thinking. I found more and more parents who felt confused or overwhelmed when they entered a toy store,” says Vidhi.
That’s when Vidhi decided to put together a team who understood the specific needs of children at each developmental level. At Candy Cane Club, they started to deliver a box every month filled with curated set of toys, books, and activities that are carefully matched to each child’s unique developmental needs. Their in-house experts design each box around an age-appropriate theme and put together an experience that allows parents to participate in helping their child grow to their fullest potential.
Vidhi started subscription boxes that essentially consist of a curated set of toys and books. Each month, there is a core topic which is then customised within a certain framework. “The primary focus remains curation, we are slowly moving away from books and toys,” says Vidhi whose customers have to shell out Rs 14,000 to subscribe to these boxes for one year.
With over 2,000 customers all over the country, primarily around Mumbai, Candy Cane Club did a soft launch in 2014. They are looking at launching a new educational tool for parents shortly, a product aimed at helping the child grow holistically and become a risk-taker.
Candy Cane Club is now a four-member core team and a recently added tech team which is helping them launch the product. Self-funded so far, Candy Cane Club engages children in a lot of online learning contests and on-ground events. They are looking at raising funds sometime soon.
With a tremendous amount of support from her family, Vidhi says she had always wanted to make children smile and this venture gives her just that opportunity.
“The journey has been beautiful. We are looking to take it to the next level and reach a global audience,” says Vidhi.
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- United States
- educational tool
- Candy Cane Club
- online games scenario
- online learning contests
- Vidhi Mehra