Buying the first set of toys seems exciting. But, as kids get older, the toy selection gets tougher, as you see the same kind of toys everywhere and finding new ones seems like finding a hidden treasure. We came across Yellow Giraffe, an exclusive toy portal for kids, based on skills and age.
Richa Dikshit is the Founder & CEO at Yellow Giraffe. She is an economist and an MBA and has worked at Alliance Bernstein and Merrill Lynch before founding ToyTasting and Yellow Giraffe. Richa is also the only Asian to have been inducted into the prestigious Toy Trends Panel of the Nuremberg Toy Fair (the world’s largest). She is also an advisor to global toy brands.
We get into a quick chat with Richa to understand more about Toy Tasting Project and Yellow Giraffe. Read on!
What is the idea behind Yellow Giraffe? Take us through the story behind startup.
The thought behind Yellow Giraffe is to make quality toys available to Indian families. And to map toys by their skill benefits. Yellow Giraffe grew out of the Toy Tasting project which was started by Richa as a video channel on YouTube. Toy Tasting does 1min video reviews on toys, and is the largest video channel of its type globally (over 15m views). We were encouraged by parents who were a part of the ToyTasting panel to start the online toy store. Online appeared to be the natural place for selling quality toys to a larger audience.
What market research did you do, before launching Yellow Giraffe?
Most of our market research came out of the Toy Tasting experience. We had inputs from observing the play pattern in real world families. We also got the benefit of inputs from various toy manufacturers.
All our research was at the consumer end. We didn’t spend time in researching market size or drawing up projections.
When is Yellow Giraffe launched, and what kind of traction has it seen so far?
The online toy store went live in the last quarter of 2011. We spend a lot of time on our merchandizing. We’ve built a name for ourselves on the back of our recommendation model, and our consistent pricing. Never will you find at Yellow Giraffe, a toy whose price is marked up, and then marked down to give the illusion of a discount. We’re a top 3 site when it comes to most search terms on Google, and that has helped us draw new customers.
Is Yellow Giraffe bootstrapped? Let us know if you are looking for any external funding.
Yellow Giraffe is funded by a team of long-term India investors. There are no institutional investors involved. We’ve avoided the suicidal practices prevalent in the ecommerce space in India. As a result, for us, fund raising is not the most important strategic imperative.
Established Online Platforms like Firstcry and others sell extensive baby related items. How would you say Yellow Giraffe is different?
We rarely find our customers comparing us with the general merchandisers. I think by focusing on toys and spending effort in the recommendation model, we’ve created a space for ourselves. A visit to our store will immediately indicate that the merchandize we stock is at a significantly higher quality than the general merchandisers. We also believe that general merchandisers like FirstCry will eventually be displaced by mega stores like FlipKart and Amazon.
How do you plan to market Yellow Giraffe, so that it reaches the mass market?
Currently the mass market is typically toys in the Rs300-Rs500 range. We’ve struggled to find enough quality toys in that price range. At one end is the business’s desire to grow. At the other end is the brand promise of quality. We’ve decided not to compromise on quality.
That said we believe the mass market is at Rs300-Rs500 largely because parents are not being presented with the skill benefit of toys. But once a dedicated retailer explains the long term benefits of, say, playing with LEGO sets – the same parent is willing to foot the bill.
Based on your experience in setting up Yellow Giraffe so far, what is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? How did you overcome it?
Consumer behavior on the web is quite different from consumer behavior in a physical store. Understanding this bit took quite a while. We ran a number of experiments, and still do, to understand what consumers like or don’t like. While there are a number of tools out there, Google Analytics is quite sufficient.
What are the near future plans for yellow giraffe?
In the near term, the intention is to stick to the Yellow Giraffe brand promise of quality toys, and increase market share.
TTP’s take on Yellow Giraffe
In the era where big E-Commerce stores are selling everything from Diapers to refrigerators, will niche stores work? Absolutely Yes, as Yellow Giraffe has proved by showing up in Google for anyone who searches kids toys. The differentiation at Yellow Giraffe is in terms of segregating toys by skill and age. Apart from that, the Toy Tasting Channel had the required users to start off, once the portal was launched. We wish to see more variety of toys and a bit more proactive marketing to reach the target audience of parents to maximize the visibility.