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While Red Polka hosts a theme this week—The Dance of Colours! My Munchkin (MM) also launches a lovely ethnic collection to complement Navratri! MM makes some really cute kiddie products and bridges the gap between beautiful clothes and beautiful kids. Not only that, My Munchkin also fills in colours in the lives of lesser privileged women, and in their own little way uplift them.
Harini is a project management professional, editorial and education consultant, and an ex-bureaucrat with over 12 years of varied professional work experience in India and Europe. On the other hand Deepa Pant, a NIFT post-graduate has over 14 years of experience in every aspect of the industry design, production, merchandising to quality assurance, buying and retail. Let us get to know them and the brand via this conversation!
1) How did the two of you get the Idea of MM?
Harini: As young mothers looking for an idea to do something of our own, we had long conversations about common interests and aspirations over many cups of coffee. One such session led to this. With Deepa’s extensive experience in this field, it was decided to do something with apparel and accessories. Since Both of us were mothers of three-year-olds, we were aware of a big product gap in the market for kids products, this was the genesis of My Munchkin
2) How did the inspiration of training underprivileged women brew? Tell us the whole process.
Deepa: while we both were clear that we wanted to do something of our own, we also wanted to do our bit for the society and make a difference in our own little way. Since, till our generation, stitching was a skill that was sort of interwoven into the upbringing of women, we knew that there was a huge talent pool (especially among the underprivileged section of the society) that could be tapped into with right training and guidance. Hence, came the idea of training underprivileged women to create handcrafted products.
3) Deepa, tell us about your passion for dance and teaching underprivileged children dance. What motivates you, and drives you?
Dance has always been my first love…Any opportunity to dance and I would grab it. I was told about an NGO looking out for a volunteer to help their children participate in a first ever dancing competition. I volunteered and we won the 2nd prize. The real award for me was the ecstatic children’s faces. This was the starting point and they have won other competitions thereafter.
4) Harini, tell us about the shift from working as a project management professional to being an entrepreneur of a brand that makes kids’ clothes.
An unforgettable learning experience—all my project management experience (of over 12+ years) had been in publishing, education and government, so the whole apparel and accessories industry was a completely new area. It was definitely made special and more enjoyable as I was working closely with a dear friend and learning from her experience.
5) Deepa, you were into retail merchandising for sports products, tell us about the shift?
Before starting out on my own, I had 12+ years of experience in every arena of merchandising, be it design, product development, production and quality assurance for both domestic and international trade. The product portfolio was wide and also included active sportswear to handicrafts. I consider all of this as a rich experience I was fortunate to have which actually groomed me for my own venture and helped me create a platform from where I could start my innings.
6) Harini, do you try story-telling in terms of your collection and with MM too?
I have a passion for words; so yes, a little bit of story telling has crept in while naming the collection and writing descriptions of the products. It is a fun process, and I’m loving every bit of it.
7) Tell us about your latest collection and the inspiration behind it.
With the approaching festive season, our latest collection features ethnic as well as indo-western designs for both boys and girls ranging from 6 months to 9-year-olds. The inspiration was drawn from the idea to create playful striking contrasts with vibrant colors and an array of soft and comfortable fabric.