When my son first went to school, a family friend gave him a gift that would spare him the chagrin of having to adjust to a right-handed world. It was an ergonomically-designed crayon, thicker than the regular ones, and it was supposedly made for left-handers. At that time, that was mostly what he needed to get through a day at school.
With every passing year, he is six years old now, he has been facing other challenges that only a southpaw is likely to encounter. So, when I came to learn about Maitri Wadher’s online store, it was a wonder. Called The Left Out Store, it has an interesting collection of products for lefties.
Maitri Wadher, 24 years old, has sourced and designed products that she wishes were around when she was growing up. The Bengaluru resident struggled adjusting to a right-handed world and came up with the idea of starting an online store for her tribe, while she was studying MBA at St. Joseph’s Institute of Management.
“I always had to sit at the corner of the table,” she says. Whenever she had to take an exam at an unfamiliar venue, she would hope desperately that she would not get to sit at a foldable desk. “Or else, I would have to change my position to write,” she says.
Left handers would mostly be unable to see without tilting the notebook. Whenever she faced any difficulty at home or school on account of being a left-hander, Maitri would make her frustration known, but she thinks people, that is, the right-handed, did not understand what she was going through.
“After all, we are just a minority,” she says, and trots out numbers. One of them is: “A research says only 10% of the population in the world are left-handed people.” No wonder commerce is not sympathetic to the plight of left-handers – it does not make great business sense.
At an inter-college fest, she presented a talk about the dearth of products for left-handed persons. With the presentation being well-received, she felt encouraged to start a store for left-handers. The Left Out Store is nine months old and currently has an online presence. They sell pens, scissors, geometry box, spiral notebooks, files, folders, scale, kitchen tools, and a few card games, priced from Rs. 15 to Rs 2,750.
The left-handed scissors, for example, have the blades reversed so that one can see the cutting line and therefore make a clean cut. “The pen is designed in such a way that you can see what you write, and it is easier for you to push the pen across the page, thereby reducing the pressure on your fingers,” she explains.
The blade of the sharpener is reversed, so that a left-handed user can hold the pencil in the left hand and sharpen it in a motion that comes naturally to them. While a majority of the products are designed in-house, most of the others are imported.
Maitri agrees that the market for left-hand products is niche, but she feels it is important to offer these resources. She has started going to schools, and asking the management to allow her to interact with the parents and teachers. She is also marketing her products at flea markets and educational events.
“We have to increase the number of products and make the world left-hander friendly,”says Maitri, and announces her plan to open a physical store this year.
To know more about the products, visit www.theleftoutstore.com