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With LittleWings, Priya Kathpal and Puja Karambelkar want to make multitasking easier for parents

Rekha Balakrishnan
12th Mar 2018
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LittleWings is a range of sturdy, baby-friendly, ergonomic baby carriers made of handwoven, chemical-free fabrics.

Puja Karambelkar (left), and Priya Kathpal - Founders of LittleWings

In this multitasking world, you always look out for things that make life easier. New mums and dads are no exception, especially when they are expected to be balancing career and home, just a few months after they have delivered their babies.

Baby carriers are new to India. Those of us who have visited hill-stations would surely have seen women tea-pickers carrying their babies in slings on their backs, going about their work efficiently. The babies look snug in the slings fashioned out of old cotton sarees, secure in the warmth of their mothers.

Today, the concept is not much different. Women carry their babies in the front in ergonomically manufactured baby carriers.

But what makes LittleWings — a startup that produces and sells baby carriers — stand out is that it offers baby carriers that can be used for babies from their birth till about toddlerhood. They are sturdy, baby-friendly, made out of handwoven fabrics that are tested for safety and the dyes used are azo (chemical) free. And they look pretty too.

Priya Kathpal (34) and Puja Karambelkar (31), Founders of LittleWings, are two friends who turned entrepreneurs when they were new mums.

“When I gave birth to my son, my only goal was to give him all the comfort he needed. This made me read about things that can help a mother/father or a caregiver multitask but still be close to the baby. This led me to the ergonomic baby wearing concept and I was surprised to know that it’s not just about carrying a baby safely but is also a lifestyle/therapy/resource and so much more for a mother and baby. The benefits are amazing and we wanted new mums and dads to experience them,” Priya says.

The idea of manufacturing baby carriers, however, was conceived by Puja, a new mum herself who found babywearing a boon especially when she was up and about soon after delivery. Both Priya, who was a nutritionist, and Puja, a management graduate, decided to give this idea a try and that’s how it took wings.

“We decided to name our brand LittleWings to resonate the freedom and independence babywearing offers a mother who has no choice but to multitask, and with our products, they can do it all,” Puja says with a laugh.

LittleWings, based in Mumbai, began with a small number of customers. Its fabric loom is in Madhya Pradesh as the weavers are located in the state. It claims to offer products at very pocket-friendly prices, compared to similar products available in the market. It also customises baby carriers based on the needs/choices of the buyers. The range includes wraps, ring slings, soft structured full buckle carriers in standard and toddler sizes, custom-made preschool carriers, and meh dais. The products are available on their own website.

Puja agrees that when one talks eco-friendly, it usually means the product is expensive. “However, if you consider factors such as usage, longevity, and benefits — that make the purchase more economical.”

The founders work from a home setup and that comes with its fair share of challenges. They started LittleWings when their children were less than a year old. “There were times when we could not meet our deadlines and had disagreements on many things leading to a point where I wanted to give up before we launched. But again, we pulled through the phase and managed to do what we did,” says Priya.

“Our biggest success so far is that we have become quite popular among opinion leaders with loads of positive feedback and support, purely on the basis of our product quality,” she adds.

Bootstrapped currently, the founders hope LittleWings will soon find an investor who believes in them and their mission. It operates with a team of two and a few freelancers, and the weavers at the loom in Madhya Pradesh.

The duo is also a part of many support groups for mums on social media platforms where they discuss, share information, and support each other. They also organised a demo session, conducted by a certified fitness trainer for mums who could not leave their babies at home, on how baby wearers can help them do so much more.

Priya believes that both of them bring their own insights and perspectives to the startup.

“In the future, we want to make babywearing more common, especially among mothers with low birth weight and preemie babies. We want to reach out to as many as possible, and this also means making these carriers more economical. Besides, we plan to encourage more handloom projects and revive traditional weaving,” she says, signing off.

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