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I kid you not

Stores with kids’ accessories are getting so innovative, you might want to buy some of the products for yourself, writes Lina Choudhury Mahajan.

india Updated: Mar 03, 2009 17:58 IST

For Andheri-based couple Shipra and Naveen Patel, foreign trips no longer include a mandatory visit to stores like Macy’s and Debenhams to pick up accessories for their children. “Now all we do is scout around for whatever we need in Bombay,” says Shipra, referring to the accessories she buys for her children aged seven and ten, which includes night lights, funky doorknobs, colourful linen, hoodie towels, wallpaper.. all of which are now all available in stores around Mumbai.

New trends Gone are the days when indulging your child meant just giving her/him their own room. Now parents go all out to dress up their kids’ rooms too. Rani Advani of Bumblebee, a new kid’s store in Colaba attributes this trend to the rise in the number of single-child-double-income families and exposure to international brands. Adds a spokesperson of @Home, “Parents today are modern and adventurous, they give a lot more freedom to their children in terms of choosing their needs.”

Most of this furniture in the regular stores is still for adults and doesn’t cater adequately to the requirements of the kids, especially in terms of size and design. “When it comes to creating a space for children, there is still a gap, with many furniture companies either being international or having a limited range of children’s items,” explains Advani.

Many stores import products from abroad — Bumblebee sources them from suppliers in Europe and the U S, as does Sandbox in Kemps Corner — other like @Home import them from Denmark and China.

However, Portico has their own design studio in India that creates one-of-a-kind creations. “We manufacture most kid’s products from manufacturing units across South Asia and South-east Asia. We have strong relationship with most leading manufacturers of license product merchandise in those regions,” informs the Portico spokesperson.

And it’s no wonder that brands are gung-ho about catering to this niche, albeit growing audience -- prices vary but recession or no recession, parents are still going all out to indulge their kids’ fancies.

For example at Sandbox, prices for accessories start from Rs 800 while that of furniture starts at Rs 10,000, while Portico begins at a more moderate Rs 49 and can go up to Rs 3599 or above. Bumblebee sells their products from Rs 325 (for a pillow case) to Rs 8250 (for a double quilt).

And at @Home, bunk beds range between Rs 29,000 and Rs 49,000 while wardrobes go for Rs 12,000-17,000. “Its a nascent market growing rapidly,” says Neha Saraf, who runs Sandbox along with her husband Aditya.

Sounds extravagant? But the footfalls tell their own story. “Twenty per cent of the overall footfall is specifically for buying accessories kids rooms,” informs a Portico spokesperson. Growing market

Bumblebee’s footfalls of parents buying for kids' rooms amount to about 50-55 per cent while the remaining comprise relatives/friends and at @Home 50 per cent of the footfalls consist of families with kids.

“It is an indicator of how the kid’s furniture segment is important for being a family store,” says an @Home official. Suma Menon, an interior designer who owns Shrishti Interior Designers and Consultants in Malad, says there are no limits to doing up kids’ rooms. “You could try out a ‘princess theme’ or a sporty theme or just paint cute animals on the wall. The possibilities are endless.”