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Why We Started Rooted Toys & What We Have Learned So Far

Rooted Toys was born out of a conversation between my sister and I during the early days of the pandemic in April 2020.  We were chatting about our childhood in a small town in Northern B.C. Canada. I mentioned how envious I was of today’s South Asian generation who is growing up with some representation in western media. The closest thing to an Indian in mainstream during our upbringing was the scientist in the film ‘Short Circuit’ – who, by the way, was a white guy in brownface!

My sister pointed out that while there was definitely some progress in the media for young adults, children were still being overlooked. She mentioned that currently there were no plush toys for Punjabi kids. I assumed she was just exaggerating, as our community has contributed so much worldwide, and this could not be true. When I did my research to prove her wrong, a lifelong pursuit of mine, it turned out she was right. I have to admit I was a little frustrated: Why were Punjabi children being ignored!?! Without an answer, we decided to do something about it. My brother joined the cause and thus Rooted Toys was born. Our goal is to celebrate South Asian children and help them feel seen and valued.

Anyone who has tried something new knows the path is full of doubt, fear, and uncertainty. We had so many questions. Does representation really matter? Will anyone buy our toys? Will kids reject our products? And then the ultimate question, will we kill each other along the way (we are siblings after all 👶🏽👧🏽👧🏽)?

Despite these challenges, we spent 2.5 grueling years creating characters, learning about manufacturing, and debating names and logos (with invaluable help from our spouses). Finally, in September 2022, we launched our products for sale. In this short time, we have already received numerous heartwarming messages from the community, as well as beautiful videos and photos of children’s reactions to our toys and e-book.

One story that touched us deeply was from a lovely mother whose son received the Manu and Mahi doll as a gift. The boy was thrilled to see that the Manu doll had a patka, (a Sikh head covering worn by many Sikh children). He had never seen a toy that looked like him before and was so excited that he went up to his room and changed into his kurta to match Manu. His mom was astonished at how happy it made her son to receive a toy that resembled him. She told us that she had no idea how important representation was until that moment. This was extremely validating to our team – it was the exact reason we started this work.

As we continue to navigate the uncertainty and obstacles of starting a small business, the one question we have a definitive answer to is, “does representation matter?” The answer is a resounding YES!

Thank you for your support. We will keep you updated on our journey. Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions.


  • It’s lovely to see the representation for our younger generation! Looking forward to seeing what you guys have in store for all of us next! Keep up the amazing work!

    Amanjot M
  • Way to go! So proud of all of you and the hard work you’re doing to make sure our kids have representation! Can’t wait to see what Manu and Mahi get up to next!


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