A little paradise for little people : The Little Factory
Located just off the bridge that leads to Kotturpuram, The Little Factory’s purple signboard is hard to miss as are its big windows filled with colourful stuffed toys, princess dresses and all the makings of a fun, happy childhood. The inside of the one-of-a-kind, concept store certainly lives up to the promise with its vast array of offerings for children from ages 0 to 10 years: clothes, furniture, toys, indoor and outdoor games, activity kits, decor, party kits, musical instruments, cutlery, linen and more, TLF carries it all.
It could have gone either way for The Little Factory. The idea for a store occurred to Preshant and Dhivya, who happened to be visiting Hong Kong for a conference at the same time as a Kids Expo. The sheer range and variety of the toys on display left them saddened that their own children back home had only a handful of brands to choose from, and were missing out. And so when they returned, Preshant broached the idea of opening a concept store for kids to Dhivya, who immediately and unhesitatingly agreed. “Our kids are our greatest inspiration for starting The Little Factory”, she says. “They always want toys that they see on the shows they watch, and it was very disheartening to constantly dash their hopes and disappoint them. They are a big part of the reason that we took the plunge!” Serendipitously, they already had the perfect space to bring the store to life, a silver lining from the aftermath of the 2015 floods that had forced a reorganisation of the building which also houses the Kotturpuram branch of The Srushti Fertility Centre, which the Preshant’s family owns and the couple and run. They just had to get to work!
Motivated and fully committed, Preshanth and Dhivya got down to the business of sourcing the different things that they wanted to offer, finding suppliers, organising their import, branding and setting up The Little Factory. There were many lists involved, says Preshanth with a chuckle, adding that it was Dhivya, a NIFT graduate took point on the project, researching different designer brands for clothing, furniture and more and bringing them onboard. Offering an example of the kind of detail and exclusivity that the store offers, she says, “If you look at the clothes that we offer, you’ll see that we offer only one piece in every size for each design that we carry. This is deliberate – you won’t see another six year old wearing the same outfit as your child. It’s like having your child’s clothes custom-made.” TLF works with children’s designers and boutiques, such as Moobaa, Lil Angels, Lil Pixie, Little Coogie, Popsicles, Mi Dulce Anya, Samta & Shruthi, Janya's Closet, Giggles Bun, Little Stars, First Avenue, LMNOP, Little Tribe, Nee & Oink, Fayon, Crayon Flakes and Tiny Baby, and offers clothing for kids between 0 months and 8 years.
Another favourite of The Little Factory’s clients is its gorgeous furniture. Again, Dhivya and Preshant insist that every piece on offer is handpicked in such a way that it could be a standalone addition to a child’s room, or part of a whole concept, the idea being to create a space that is fun and yet also functional. Of course, a number of criteria have to be met as well, the child’s safety being paramount. From automatic soothing cribs to sailboat beds and elaborate bedroom sets, to wall decor, chairs, shelves and quirky, and a whole lot more, there’s a fairly large selection to choose from. Says Preshanth of the range, “Our furniture is designed to offer utility and at the same time, be something fun that a child would love to have. We look for maximum usability in minimum space. And of course safety is a key consideration, so every piece that we offer is child-safe with rounded edges to prevent injury and uses non-toxic paint.”
The biggest draw of The Little Factory, however, is undoubtedly its toys and games. As parents of two beautiful, active children, Dhivya and Preshanth certainly have inside knowledge of what children want and need, and are putting that information to good use. The shelves of TLF are void of regular brands that every other children’s store carries. In their place are colourful stuffed animals and skill building toys, games for quiet afternoons indoors and noisy, active evenings outside. There are activity kits, craft sets, robots, even high-end mini cars and bikes that are guaranteed to put the biggest smiles on little faces. “We never miss the Hong Kong kids expo which showcases toys from around the world”, says Dhivya, commenting on how they manage to offer such a large and varied range of toys. “It’s such an exciting event and it never ceases to amaze us to see what the trends are, what’s new in the market... The bigger thrill of course, is when we see kids’ faces light up with amazement and joy at new toys or games that they have wanted but has been unable to get elsewhere.”
With so much to offer, it’s little wonder that The Little Factory is always abuzz with activity, the excited patter of little feet and happy laughter. As for their future plans, Dhivya and Preshant have quite a few. The couple, who also run a hotel and a creative agency, are talking about starting a next generation school, a play gym for kids and a resort for the elderly. But even as they look to diversifying their business interests, they assure us that they have no intention of being anything but hand-on when it comes to all things related to The Little Factory, their favourite and most fun undertaking.