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nexShakti: How Social Media is Helping This Entrepreneur Drive Her Soft Toys Business Ahead

  • Akanksha Jain
  • 05-Sep-2022
Meet Mayuri Sisodia, founder of Eddie Teddie & Company, who is running a stuff toys business with women employees only. She is navigating several challenges, and growing her toy business through social media, primarily Instagram. How? Let's find out.

When was the last time you truly believed in yourself and started the business you’ve been wanting to establish for a long time? Well, for Mayuri Sisodia, it was in 2018 when she laid the foundation of her soft or stuffed toys business, Eddie Teddie& Company.

She left her job with a renowned hotel in Bengaluru, went back to her hometown Udaipur and started the soft toys business with her savings.

In a way, you can also call this venture a second innings as her mother ran a stuffed toys business in 1999 but later shut it down due to Chinese products.

“My mother ran the stuffed toys business from 1999- 2009. It became quite popular as she was selling around 90-100 toys per day. Being a Rajput, it was a big deal because in our culture, lady running a business is like breaking the glass ceiling. But, she had to shut it down due to entry of Chinese products that were machine made and cheaper as against handmade,” said Mayuri, adding “paying wages became difficult and eventually she had to shut it down.”



Starting Stuff Toys Business

Mayuri had no plans of starting a stuffed toys business, but she knew she was cut out for something different in life.

 “I was quite passionate about working with the hotel industry and was doing quite well. Having worked with the best hotel in the country and after spending time in the hotel industry for 10-12 years, I realised I needed to do something else. That time I was not able to put a finger on it as to what to do,” said Mayuri.

After a few months of contemplating, she quit her job without any back-up and went back to Udaipur, where her father suggested her to start the soft toy business.



Registering the stuff toys business to scaling it

Even though Mayuri had knowledge of making stuff toys such as material, stuffing, designs, etc., she had to study how to run a successful business. Finally, she laid the foundation of her business in 2018 with her savings of Rs 3 Lakh.

“I gained knowledge how to run a business, legalities, registration process, sourcing vendors, etc. Raw material was a bit of challenge as getting the right fabric is not easy and they are quite expensive as well,” said Mayuri. She made several trips to Delhi for sourcing raw material.

 

As things started setting in place, COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 hit her business. For two years, Mayuri’s stuff toys business was shut as she couldn’t source raw materials or sell anything. Taking a government loan also for her capital expenditure needs became a tedious task.

“Only Rs 3 Lakh were disbursed against my requirement of Rs 4 Lakh. Although the government had announced collateral-free loans during the pandemic, I faced a lot of difficulties and paperwork to get the loan,” she said.

 



Year 2021 was the turnaround

But in 2021, Mayuri started getting orders for her stuff toy business, thanks to social media, especially Instagram. The unique designs and videos captured the attention of people.

“We started with Instagram in February 2021 and it did wonders for us. With small steps, unique products and right marketing, we were able to grab attention. Also, it was an eye-opener was as our customers comprised only 10-15% of mothers and remaining were mostly friends, pet owners, relatives, etc.,” said Mayuri.

At present, Eddie Teddie& Company has over 63 thousand followers.

Meanwhile, talking about business growth, Mayuri said, “We are selling around 300 soft toys, or plushies per month. We have seen a growth of Rs 3 Lakh Y-o-Y and everything is through word of mouth and social media.”

At present, there are five women employees who help with stuff toy making. It takes around 6-7 hours to make one stuff toy.

Pointing at few of the challenges she faced, Mayuri said, “We braved all the challenges like COVID-19. But, quality and price of the raw materials, skilled workforce and Chinese products still remain as pain-points for us.”



Learnings and vision

“What I learnt from my mother and while running the business is quality and integrity. Building a business takes patience and consistency, and if you put enough hard work, success and money follows,” said Mayuri.

Also, her vision is to give employment to maximum women and establish her brand as number 1 in stuff toy business. “I want to encourage made in India and handmade stuff toys in a market where China is still dominant. People should buy Indian made toys and help everyone go local,” she said.

Mayuri also plans to start exports.



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