When it comes to toys, cars and dolls dominate the landscape. It is difficult to find toys that are unique, productive and fun for children.
Sabrina Imam, the Founding Director of Praava Health, set out on a journey to find the perfect toys for the children of Bangladesh.
She was inspired to start Bitsy as she discovered a gap in the local toy market. She could not find good quality, inspiring toys with creative and educational value for her daughter.
Tired of searching, she finally thought of solving this problem on her own and started Bitsy - a shop just for children's toys - in 2021, during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.
When you browse their website, you will notice an emphasis on DIY and Science Technology Education Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) toys.
While the toys are assembled, packaged, and branded by Bitsy, they import the parts for their products from abroad.
Bitsy claims that all of its toys follow international safety guidelines, and the manufacturers are hand-picked by the owner for quality assurance.
Some of their most popular toys are the Multi-function Robot Kit (Tk2,750), DIY Airplane Kit (Tk950), DIY Dinosaur STEAM Kit (Tk930), and Wooden Number and Shape Puzzles, Counting Rings and Fishing Game (Tk1,280).
There is a strong emphasis on DIY in their products. Children are born curious and unique and these toys are designed to make sure that they are developing problem-solving and critical thinking skills, while having fun.
When they finally assemble the toys, it gives them a sense of accomplishment, which is important for their growth and development at an early age.
Furthermore, their website is as carefully designed as their toys. Once you visit it, you are greeted with the option to select the age range of the child you are buying toys for. There is no option to filter through the toys by gender.
Behind this simple decision lies an important message. When talking about her products, Sabrina said, "I strongly believe it is important to introduce gender-neutral toys so children are less influenced by culturally enforced gender stereotypes. On the Bitsy website, I made a conscious decision to categorise toys by age and theme, not gender."
Another critical aspect of these toys' focus is the bonding between the parents and children. The various puzzle toys for toddlers and preschoolers demand a parent's involvement, creating an opportunity to bond with kids.
The owner also mentioned their toys were especially popular during the lockdown. She said, "Most people were at home and found these toys to be an effective way to spend time with their children."
Dhaka was the prime location for their pilot launch, and now they are looking to expand to other parts of the country. The owner said they plan to create free educational videos about topics like space, physics, mathematics etc.
She also wants to make Bitsy a household name by introducing subscription boxes. Bitsy will send creative toys to buyers depending on their chosen theme. The brand is also looking to expand its range of products by including toys that teach children the basics of financial literacy, such as toy banks with digital counters.
In future, Sabrina wants to work with the government and the private sector for funding and support to help bring these toys to underprivileged children as everyone has the right to quality playtime and education.
Price: Tk750 - Tk2,750
Where to find: Their products are sold in Unimart's Gulshan, Dhanmondi, and Wari branches. You can also visit their website at bitsy.com.bd.