Having a baby opens you up to a whole new world. Oftentimes, a world you didn’t even know existed. Buying your baby the right toys and accessories can sometimes be nerve-wracking. You want to buy your baby something safe, but pretty, while also investing in something that isn’t pointless.
True by Tina Lobo is a baby care brand set to fix this worrisome gap of safe and pretty. Set up in 2020, True creates and curates premium, long-lasting products for your little terror and their growing needs. True’s products are unique, functional, eco-friendly, all while adhering to the highest safety and quality standards.
The Morning Brunch chatted with True Founder Tina Chandrasena, for more on this cute little niche brand.
The inspiration behind True
Explaining how True came to be, Chandrasena shared that after welcoming her daughter Aria in 2019, she noticed she started noticing a gap in the market for safe, aesthetically-pleasing baby products. “I did so much research into all things baby-related and discovered a gap in the market and a passion for creating things for her,” Chandrasena explained. “I didn’t think of starting a business at that point, it was more of a passion for making toys, teethers and rattles that were eco-conscious and in colour tones that I thought were aesthetically pleasing. Well, that was the way it started, and then I put out an Instagram page for my creations.”
The gap Chandrasena had noticed when looking for things for her daughter was mainly to do with the kinds of products and things on offer, and how they looked. There was nothing exactly like what she was looking for, and from what was available, it was often hard to figure out, not just in terms of if it was eco-friendly or whether the materials used had been certified as safe for use, but also aesthetically. “I most enjoyed handcrafting nature-inspired teethers and rattles for Aria to play with in soft, soothing colours,” Chandrasena shared. “I considered each piece as a tiny treasure, designed with love and made to last.”
Keeping things safe
Chandrasena shared a little bit about the steps to ensure the safety of every True product. “The materials all comply with certain standards, and all the materials are certified non-toxic and tested to be food-safe,” Chandrasena said. “All the rattles and teethers use non-toxic, non-painted beads, as well as food-grade silicone whenever silicone is used. All products also meet international standards of safety, and are tested locally with CISIR, which is the local testing standard for non-toxic products in Sri Lanka.”
Speaking on how she weaves in handling safety into her products, which after all, are babies, Chandrasena explained that for products like rattles and teethers, she follows very strict, binding, knotting, and melding procedures to ensure there are no small parts that could put her put her little customers at risk.
When thinking of things like pacifier clips and other similar accessories, Chandrasena noted that these are not toys, and are not considered so even internationally, and that there is some amount of parent discretion needed when it comes to these kinds of products especially when it comes to wear and tear.
Another aspect of True’s products is that they are multifunctional. “As parents, we tend to end up with so many toys and stuff our babies. It helps to have items that are multi-functional and open-ended, and most of True’s products are open-ended. For example, a rattle can be a teether, something that they can chew, shake about, identify colours with. It’s also sensory because they can touch and feel it. Our stackers too are multi-functional. They can be stacks, teethers, or bath toys (they’re waterproof).”
Making True a bigger brand
On expanding her product range and operations, Chandrasena shared that she first started the Instagram page dedicated to her baby product experiments at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. She was very encouraged by all the love and support she received from the parenting community through the page, which also made her realise that even though hers is a niche market, it is still very much a market; and that over the next eight months or so she hopes to expand her product range.
“As of this moment, there is nothing like what I’m doing out there,” Chandrasena said. “What is unique about true, is that its designs, its colours and its curation is all my own. It’s all very unique to True. When you look at one of True’s pacifier clips or rattles, you would know it’s been designed by True. There’s also the values of True, it’s eco-conscious, and I want it to be an ethical brand, in terms of how it looks, safety, and how it is made.”
For now, Chandrasena handles all aspects of the brand, from handcrafting True’s products herself, to social media marketing, to packaging, to logistics, and dealing with sales. A big challenge for Chandrasena is managing her time to try and expand the brand, while also running things day to day.
She has no hopes of slowing down, however, sharing that before starting True, she had always been very interested in interior design, and would love to do an exclusive line of kids furnishings, and is hoping to embark on this next step soon.