This week, we had a chat with the founder of Little Wiwa, a new Aussie-based label that specialises in baby play mats that are chic to boot and safe for bub. Founded by Shanti Wiwatowski in January 2018, the full-time mum and former marketing services manager decided to fill the gap in the market when she couldn’t find a baby play mat that wasn’t loud in a myriad of colours or family-friendly. Little Wiwa’s play mats are all made of PU foam and free of latex and PVC — making it a safe choice for your little one and even for the rest of the family to hang around on. The best part? It comes in the most beautiful, neutral/pastel hues, making it a perfect addition in any minimalist, modern abode.
Below, we had a quick chat with the founder on what makes Little Wiwa stand out from the rest in the market:
What spurred your decision to open Little Wiwa?
Our little one, Vinnie, was an early crawler at five months. Since then, keeping him on our bed for tummy time was no longer an option. When we lay him down on the floor, he was always getting his poor little head bumped (our floors are made of hard wood), and when he is on the carpet in our bedrooms, he would commando-crawl so fast that he will somehow find nooks and spaces to get himself hurt or stuck in. Also, he developed calluses on his elbows from all that friction – which my ex-gymnast husband is very proud about till this day!
We knew we had to find a safe plush play mat to support his newfound motor development. But after much research, I could not find a single one in the market that is of non-primary/bright-coloured designs. I had no choice but to purchase one (and at a shocking AUD200 too). But as a first-time parent, you wouldn’t know any better and you’d do what’s best for your baby. Since that was a safety essential, it was a well justified purchase.
As months passed, I couldn’t help but to cringe at the sight of my blinding, contrasting-coloured living area. What was once a elegant Scandi-inspired space now resembled a chaotic play land. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and create minimalist designs inspired by my love for Scandinavian aesthetics; conscious of the fact that the product must be 100% safe for babies and big kids alike, easy to clean and sustainable. With these aspirations, my journey started and Little Wiwa was born.
Tell us more about Little Wiwa’s play mats.
Our play mats are made of PU foam and are latex- and PVC-free. It is also hypoallergenic and do not contain any toxic substances (whether BPA, formaldehyde, phthalates or DEHP).
Our play mats are soft but thickly-cushioned with reversible designs, and each is designed with sleek modern Scandinavian-inspired aesthetics. Waterproof and stain resistant, the mats can be wiped clean with a soft damp cloth, making clean up so much easier for busy parents.
Not only are these play mats Scandi-cool for the home, they are also perfect for outdoor play as it is very light and portable. These play mats have have been independently tested and certified safe and compliant with Australia/ New Zealand Standards on Safety on Toys – AS/NZS8124 & European Standard EN71. In addition, they have also passed the DEHP test to ensure safety for children under three years old.
Maintenance wise, I recommend getting it wiped daily with a soft damp cloth at end of day, or as soon it gets dirty from food or drink spills.
What were some of the challenges in opening an online site selling niche baby products?
Just like any business, clear business planning and marketing strategy are crucial. As a digital marketer, I fully understand that the brand, product and website all need to be well-planned beforehand to provide a smooth customer experience. Shipping is also a huge factor as our products are considered bulky items due to their dimensions, so finding the right equation and supplier to minimise shipping costs can be very challenging.
What is a fun fact about your play mats that Shoppers should know of?
Our Little Wiwa play mats is multifunctional for the whole family. I do yoga and my husband does his strength workouts on it. The thick cushioning is soft on the knees, and is great for the family to sit on the floor when we play with the kids.
What were some of the best feedback you’ve received for your playmats?
Here are some of the feedback we received from customers:
“We absolutely love our play mat, other than the cot and the change table its probably the thing we use the most in our household now. Also love the fact that its stylish enough to have out in the living room and not have to worry about packing away when we have visitors.”
“Absolutely love it! It feels great and is easy to wipe and clean. Love it so much I bought another one. Love the fact that it is not like all the other play mats out in the market with children characters on them. Its design fits perfectly into any home.”
“We have floor boards so I’m at ease knowing if she falls it’s a soft landing.”
“What a wonderful product — such great quality and even more beautiful in real life.”
“Surprisingly soft and comfortable for little ones and parents alike. Easy to keep clean, move around the house and flip over for a colour change.”
“It is super plush and we no longer reluctantly sit or kneel down to play. We now do it willingly!”
“It is obvious that this product has been carefully researched, planned, produced, and I think, loved…not a mat from someone who just wants your money, but from someone who really cares about you and your kids.”
What’s next for Little Wiwa?
We are currently working at expanding to retail stores and stockists, as well as extending our range of designs.
What inspiration advice would you give new moms in terms of lifestyle changes?
Motherhood is the greatest, most incredible yet the hardest change you will experience in your life, but it is worth every single second. Remember the good moments and love them and know that the bad ones won’t last forever.
A little more info on Little Wiwa’s play mats:
The Labyrint (in blue/grey) and the Natur (pink/grey) are made from non-toxic, sustainable materials, and offer thick cushioning to protect your tot as they make their first steps. Both can be used as a comfortable nappy change mat — or a mat you’d like to nap on as well! Each reversible mat comes in a sleek, Scandinavian-inspired design that you can use intermittently. Both are available in two sizes: Små and Generös.
Små: 100cm (L) x 140cm (W) x 15mm thick (2.1kg)
Generös: 200cm (L) x 140cm (W) x 15mm thick (4.2kg)
ShopandBox Little Wiwa now:
- The Labyrint – Små, Little Wiwa, AUD99, + Add To Wishlist
- The Labyrint – Generös, Little Wiwa, AUD159, + Add To Wishlist
- The Natur – Små, Little Wiwa, AUD99, + Add To Wishlist
- The Natur – Generös, Little Wiwa, AUD159, + Add To Wishlist
For our Shoppers who are interested in ShopandBoxing Little Wiwa’s play mats, score 10% off your Little Wiwa order with code SHOPANDBOX10 — from now until May 31.
Get started in less than 10 seconds here!
- Simply click on the ”Add To Wishlist” links above!
- This will automatically add the items into your ShopandBox wishlist after it prompts you to sign in/sign up.
- You can add as many items as you want into your wishlist (even items not mentioned above).
- Simply select the items you want bought, name your order, and hit the “Submit Order” button.
- A personal Boxer will be assigned to you and will help you buy all your coveted items.
- Your box of goodies gets shipped to your door in 1 – 3 days wherever you are in the world!