Malaysian Mum Promotes Active Learning Toys while Supporting Local Businesses
Lawyer by profession, Joyce Lim always found a passion for teaching. Even while practising, she always found more value in mentoring younger lawyers. Upon becoming a mother in 2017, Lim took a step back from work and began pursuing a Diploma in Montessori education. After completing two diplomas for Montessori Education for Early Years 0 – 6 she was inspired to create Malaysia Toys.
“For early years Montessori, there is a focus on learning and absorbing with the child’s senses. This led to me to look out for high quality, open-ended toys for my children. This doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be expensive, but each thing that is put in front of a child must have a purpose and it must ignite something in the child.”
What about the toy shops in Malaysia?
Lim’s search for purposeful toys for her child often turned up empty-handed. She had in mind natural toys that provided a hands-on and educational experience for her child. “Learning only comes from a reflection of doing,” Lim says.
“Although many battery-powered toys are claimed and marketed as ‘developmental’ due to the many buttons, lights and functions, the painful truth is that these toys have the opposite effect. If your child can sit and watch the toy ‘perform’, then it is more likely entertaining than educational. The more a toy does, the less your child has to do.”
Her go-to shop for toys was Etsy – an American/UK based platform for handmade toys and products. But it was pricey, and the shipping fees added another hindrance. “I felt that we should be able to produce equivalent, if not better, products in Malaysia.”
She started looking around locally, and found small scale businesses producing the products she was scouting for. The downside to this, Lim said, was that they were fragmented.
“You had to ask people already in the know, or trawl through social media for products. The process was also very manual in that you chance upon something you like; message the seller for a catalogue. Then you select your products and pass them your address, get the total sales price with shipping, make a transfer then send the transfer confirmation.
“I wanted to connect the vendors to the buyers and make the shopping process more accessible, so the idea for Malaysia Toys came up.”
What makes Malaysia Toys?
Malaysia Toys does not market any renowned international toy brands. Instead, it aims to empower businesses started by mothers and fathers with a passion for early-years education and a similar enthusiasm for arts and crafts.
Lim found that there is a demand for learning toys within the Malaysian market. There were 13,000 unique visitors to the site in the first month and this doubled in the second month. Sales figures also tripled by the second month of its establishment.
“We saw our store grow from having only 10 products to 250 products and we look forward to seeing the figure grow.
“With the MCO situation and the lack of easily accessible educational toys in the market, a lot of parents have ventured into creating activity kits and handmade toys for their little ones. They are looking to sell their products but may not have the best access to market,” Lim said.
Malaysia Toys focuses on curating high quality and unique products from local vendors. It will be the place to go for activity kits, Montessori materials, wooden toys, sensory play products and even kids furniture.
“You won’t find much plastic or battery-operated play-things in Malaysia Toys. The premise is simple – you can buy from multiple vendors from this store, and pay only one shipping fee. This means you no longer need to look through Lazada, Shopee, Instagram or Facebook to find hidden gems for your kids. It’s a one-stop shop for all your kid’s needs,” she added.
Lim plans on expanding Malaysia Toys’ inventory to include more products for all your children’s needs. The idea might have started out as a toy store, but has expanded to include furniture for your child’s playroom. Learning towers, bookshelves and even toddler beds made by local carpenters in Malaysia can also be found in store.
“With Malaysia Toys’ platform assisting our vendors with marketing and sales, I hope they will be able to focus on what they do best – creating more products.” The store is also catering to parents who are looking for subscription activity boxes (https://malaysiatoys.com/home/subscription/) and customisable party favours (https://malaysiatoys.com/home/party-favours/) for special celebrations. For more information kindly visit: https://malaysiatoys.com/