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DailyMirror Article About Edutoys
Most of the toys we manufacture locally are designed by myself, and then passed on to the craftsmen to deliver the final product.
Mom of three Fazla Meyen Milad had an interesting career trajectory before deciding to change the course of the birth of her 3rd child. After completing her studies at Bishop’s College, Fazla pursued CIMA but left partially. At present, Fazla owns Edutoys – an online (also, now a physical store) which offers Educational Toys, Furniture and Montessori Material. She is also currently working on her new brand, Artisan Island, which focuses on locally handmade toys and crafts.
Q: YOU HAD AN INTERESTING CAREER PROGRESSION…
A: I have been employed in the banking sector for eight years but had to leave the bank with the birth of my son, to take care of the children. After leaving the bank, I worked from home for a short while for a Digital Marketing Agency, where I worked as a client coordinator and handled their portfolios but had to leave, due to family commitments.
My work experience in the corporate sector has given me a lot of insight and knowledge about how to handle and build my own business.
Q: TELL ME ABOUT EDUTOYS.
A: While being a stay at home mum, taking care of my young children, I developed a special interest in Early childhood Education, and so joined the 56th batch to begin my Montessori Training at St.bridget’s Convent, Colombo.
During my period of training as a Montessori Directress, I learned and observed many things about the young child that later went on to form the basis of Edutoys. About two years after completing my AMI studies I had my third baby. The fun part was, now I had been given a chance to implement what I had learnt.
I sadly did not find many places locally, which supplied the kind of toys I was looking for. Hence, I had to look at foreign sellers. Which brought me to the conclusion that I wasn’t the only parent going through this.
And so, Edutoys was born, from the small, home-based business, that was started two years ago, selling hand-picked Educational Toys, packed in brown paper parcels to the now brick and mortar store, that sells our very own locally designed and crafted Educational Toys, Furniture and Montessori materials.
Q: WHAT DOES IT INCLUDE AND DO YOU CONCEPTUALISE THE TOYS YOURSELF?
A: While most of the Educational Toys and Montessori materials were imported, during the COVID-19 pandemic, with import restrictions being placed, we shifted towards manufacturing locally.
We have started working with several local artisans and homebased businesses to provide toys that are safe, fun and help a child to learn and develop. Most of the toys we manufacture locally are designed by myself, and then passed on to the craftsman todeliver the final product.
Q: WHAT AGE GROUPS DO YOU DESIGN TOYS FOR?
A: Our toys are suitable from ages 6m to 10 years and we are looking to expand that range.
Q: WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT?
A: The most challenging aspect was when we decided to manufacture our own products locally. This meant we had to source the raw materials and find craftsmen who could do this for us, at a price the final customer was willing to pay. While it sounds easy, it actually is not. A lot of time and research went into this, and we were finally able to work with a small team of local artisans, each skilled in their own way, who bring to life all the designs we come up with.
Q: WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATIONAL TOYS FOR CHILDREN?
A: We are strong believers of Dr Montessori’s quote “Play is the work of the child”. While some toys are means of temporary entertainment to a child; a carefully selected educational toy, on the other hand, provides a child with many benefits such as improving their fine and gross motor skills, develop problem-solving, teaching cause and effect and encourages creativity to name a few.
Q: THERE ARE MANY EDUCATIONAL TOYS OUT THERE. WHAT MAKES YOURS DIFFERENT?
A: While we agree that there are many Educational Toys out there, we believe that what makes us different is:
1. Each of the toys you find at our store is handpicked by an AMI trained Montessorian, who is well aware of the child’s needs at different stages of growth and development. This means we don’t carry a toy in our store if we feel it does not add value to learning. Many of our toys are also used by Special Needs Educators and Paediatric Therapists, supporting the fact that they do indeed prove to be helpful.
2. We make sure to use safe and non-toxic material and paint on our products, that comply with international toy safety standards.
Q: WHAT ELSE DO YOU HOPE TO INTRODUCE?
A: We hope to introduce more locally manufactured products, where local craftsmen are offered an opportunity to show their talent. We are currently exporting small quantities of locally handmade toys under the brand name Artisan Island and can be found at www.artisanisland.com
A little message we would like to give to the community: Show a little love and support to small entrepreneurs like us, because we have a lot we can and would like to offer the world. This is especially true for women entrepreneurs who have many roles they are required to play, in society.