Preserving the traditional method of making Etikoppaka toys from the Etikoppaka village in Andhra Pradesh is Mr C V Raju.
A grassroots innovator Mr Raju is conserving the ancient process of creating Etikoppaka toys, a proud heritage entrenched in his village, by developing vegetal dyes and improving dye shelf life.
His work on this otherwise disappearing art has been so inspiring that it drew the attention of the Prime Minister of India Mr Narendra Modi wherein he praised Mr Raju’s work in his 68th Mann Ki Baat. In addition he has been bestowed upon various awards and recognitions for his work.
Former President of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam had also presented Mr C V Raju with the NIF’s 2nd Biennial National Grassroots Innovation and Outstanding Traditional Knowledge Award.
As per Mr Raju the traditional way of manufacturing wooden toys is by using non-toxic paints and natural dyes, which defined the Etikoppaka hamlet in Southern India as a craft community.
We explored plant sources and the lead-free dyes in their roots, barks, stems, leaves, fruits, seeds and much more informed Mr Raju.
His experiments resulted in natural dye concentrates over wide-ranging colours, including royal red and Indigo. As per Mr Raju Etikoppaka toys are well rounded and made using natural dye colours. This makes them safe, even for kids.
Some of the toy shapes that children enjoy include teethers, telephones, cars, motorcycles, cooking sets, bowling games, go-go, ducks, whistle birds. These toys are priced at about Rs 4000-4500 per set and he sells these products to prestigious galleries like Cane and Bamboo, Contemporary Arts and Crafts, Bandez, Kamala shop in Delhi.
In addition they can also be bought at Trade Fairs in Pragathi Maidan and exhibitions in Delhi Haat. His efforts have also been aptly supported by the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India in a variety of ways, including financial support through the Micro Venture Innovation Fund (MVIF).
Below is a brief snapshot of the company
Founder’s Name : Mr C. V. Raju
Incubated/Started (Year): 2020
Industry: Eco-friendly Wooden Toys
Number of Team Members : 5
Funding Received : National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India
Vision : To develop more of these wooden toys and receive fame in the future
Claim to Fame : NIF’s 2nd Biennial National Grassroots Innovation and Outstanding Traditional Knowledge Award by Abdul Kalam.
Market of Operation: Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
Revenues: Rs. 30-35 lacs
Company’s culture :
Aggressive Easy Going Methodical
PTIM (Person that inspires me): Mrs. Kamala Devi Chottopadhyaya, an inspirational woman and a Legendary handicraft artisan.