Niyatee Sharma’s toys for kids are fun and unique especially because they carry the ‘Designed and hand-made in India’ tag.
Niyatee Sharma is simply described is a nature lover and furniture designer. This graduate in Interior Architecture from Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad, started her own furniture brand Squiggle armed with some career experience in furniture and retail design. She talks to NXg about what makes her furniture fun!
Squiggle sounds like a bucketful of sunshine for a child. How did this name and idea come about?
When I went scouting for toys for my one-year-old some time in 2011, I noticed how the good old wooden rocking horse had been replaced by the plastic, mass-manufactured electronic stuff! The absence of well designed quality toys and furniture and my background in design led me to create my own line of products for children.
I was looking for a name that would appeal to both a parent and a child. It had to be quirky; something like Google or twitter. Squiggle fit the badge also because it means ‘short curly line’, which I feel relates to the doodles a child makes.
You have brought about the concept of handmade toys for children. Have mothers adapted to this new thought?
Very much. I’m happy there are many design-conscious parents out there! I am also supplying my products to play schools and nurseries.
Squiggle seems like something you were inspired to do.What inspires you?
The products at Squiggle are designed to embrace the love for nature, creativity and the world we live in. In today’s time where the markets are flooded with mass-produced and plastic goods, Squiggle celebrates handcrafted products and materials friendlier to nature. The products at Squiggle draw inspiration from the natural world as there is a life’s lesson hidden in the elements of nature
What are your most popular Squiggle furniture?
I think all the products are popular! The Croc book shelf, Rocking sheep and the Animal clocks have generated maximum interest.
Do you have any emotional attachment to any of your creations, while you ideate?
Yes, I think I am really attached to all of my creations, be it the ears of the rocking donkey or the teeth of the croc book shelf! It could also be inspired by all the pictorial books that I read out to my son and motherhood that is responsible for the current flavour of the designs.
For instance while I was designing the rockers I was thinking that everyone has seen a rocking horse, so how about a rocking donkey or a sheep or an elephant. Even better if I break the colour association with the animal and let the child’s imagination run wild! And hence a red and orange rocking elephant, and a blue-green sheep!
Is it a team work or a one-woman show all the way?
Not exactly all the way. I do not make the furniture and products myself. The craftsmen at ‘6mm Furniture’ do all the hard and skilful work of carpentry, polishing, finishing etc. I do everything else on the creative, servicing and marketing front. I am also my own office boy and photographer.
How do you reach your audience with your products?
Social media has played an important role in reaching out to prospective clients. I have also tied up with a handful of online and physical stores targeting to children’s furniture or handmade products.