Shiva Kashalkar: Integrating Passion and Business to Create “Netflix” for Toys

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When Shiva Kashalkar’s daughter was eight months old, she realized that she was paying several hundred dollars every month for toys that she would only play with for a few days. The clutter from unused toys drove her crazy. Talking with other parents, she learned this was a common issue and became inspired to start Green Piñata Toys.

Ms. Kashalkar partnered up with leading experts in early education to create a service that uses predictive analytics to curate the toys for hidren so that kids get more of what they like and less of what they don’t like.

She is a firm believer that toys should match the rapid mental development of early childhood.

INDIA New England News: Please tell our readers about your work and what you enjoy most about it.

Shiva Kashalkar: I launched Green Piñata as a response to difficulty in finding eco-friendly, educational toys that my daughter Aanika wouldn’t grow bored of. Between limited space to store toys and the environmental impact they had, buying them didn’t make much sense. After much research, I realized that the ‘Netflix’ for toys didn’t exist. Armed with determination, grit, and an entrepreneurial spirit, my team and I set out to change the toy retail industry as we knew it.

At Green Piñata, we have built a scalable operation that delivers the highest quality toys to customers across the U.S. every month. We bring together predictive analytics and age-specific toy curriculum to help provide valuable insights, freedom of choice, and educated guidance on age-appropriate toys to encourage optimal learning. And, once the sparkle of the newly opened toy has faded, simply send it back and wait for the new one to be delivered.

The best part of what we do is in addition to nurturing early education, we help reduce families’ addition to landfill. Every morning this brings me a smile that we are doing our share to help preserve this earth for our future generations.

INE: To which charitable, community and professional groups do you belong and why?

SK: My husband and I have been sponsoring 2 children through ‘Save The Children’ now for more than 10 years. It has been a very rewarding experience seeing the kids grow and how our little donations have direct but huge impact in their lives. ‘Save The Children’ is great about keep the sponsors updated on the work they do in the local communities and bringing you new opportunities to help children in need.

INE: What are your hobbies and interests?

SK: Travel is my passion. I love to travel, experience local culture and foods. A toddler and the start-up has limited our travel in the recent years, though we hope to pick up again soon.

Shiva Kashalkar with her daughter

INE: In what way do you feel you have positively influenced or served the local community, your company/organization or professional field?

SK: Our mission is to become the leading provider in early education through play. We built our service on a strong foundation of insights from early education and child development specialists to deliver age-appropriate toys geared towards learning at every stage.

In addition to our passion for toxin-free, educational toys, we strive to be environmentally conscious in every step of our process. We have partnered with eco-conscious manufacturers, all of whom use sustainably-sourced wood or recycled plastic to make their products. Together, we help families ‘go green.’ Once our toys have been loved by our customers, we donate them to children in need.

INE: What are your favorite books?

SK: I enjoy both fictions as well as books on personal growth and entrepreneurship.

When it comes to fictions, I am a huge fan of Robin Cook and have read almost all of his books.

One of the latest books on entrepreneurship that I’d highly recommend is “Do More Faster”. Great lessons on accelerating your start-up.

INE: Your favorite quotes?

SK: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer

INE: Who inspires you the most?

SK: A number of successful and strong women including my mother have inspired me and helped me to be where I am today.

Katrina Lake, the Founder and CEO of Stitch FiX inspires me the most. It is amazing that she built a complex, cash flow positive business in just six years. That, and she took it to IPO with an infant in her arms.

INE: What core values do you try to live by?

SK: Perseverance, Accountability and Integrity

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