“You’re the chutney to my samosa” and “you’re the chilli to my paneer” are some of the straplines you can find on Playful Indian’s range of greetings cards. These simple, everyday references to Desi culture and life are what make this range of products so appealing, in my opinion. Playful Indian founder Dina Mistry says:
“I felt there has always been a lack of fun Asian cards on the market. I wanted to create cards that would make people smile and laugh, as well as bring Asian cards and gifts up-to-date.”
I love that Playful Indian fills a gap in the market for British Asians. It reflects changing UK consumer demographics and there should be more choices for different ethnic groups. Whilst existing Bollywood themed cards are great in offering a little more choice than is currently available on the UK high street, they have got limited appeal.
Playful Indian brings something fresh into this arena; as well as a bit of everyday Desi humour that is lacking from this market- you know, little references that are almost like insider jokes. For example, it would’ve really made me smile to receive a card that said “Congratulations on your little laddoo” when my daughter was born!
The range covers all the main card- giving occasions; as well as a few Hindu and Sikh religious festivals. There are no cards for Muslim religious festivals; I hope she adds this for the sake of diversity. The Christmas cards are a little disappointing in that, although they are beautifully designed, they aren’t specifically Desi themed- which could put off Asian Christians.
Her most appealing product line is the humorous Hungry Indian range. These are digitally hand-drawn cards that focus on that basic Indian cultural reference point: food! The Hungry Indian line is fun and simple with a young appeal. This is definitely Dina’s strongest line and I would love to see it on the high street-I really think it has mainstream appeal.
Elsewhere there are also plenty of Indian-art inspired cards, as well as the use of the iconic Bollywood font. I particularly love that there are one or two cards in the range that depict brown skinned people- where else do we see this on the high street?
The ordering facility is easy and straightforward. Delivery (to the buyer not the receiver of the card) costs the same as Royal Mail first class; which I think is reasonable given that the cards themselves are priced at around £2.25. It would be great to see a personalisation function where you can add your own message and have it sent straight to the recipient (think Funky Pigeon et al).
I do think that ethnic cards in general, Playful Indian included, run the risk of slightly objectifying Desi culture. It’s important that manufacturers don’t rely on a handful of jokes, phrases and nuances within the Asian culture and keep churning these out – this will only serve to perpetuate negative stereotypes. What’s more, once you’ve bought one or two of these cards for friends and family, there’ll be nothing to get you to return to the range- unless new humour and designs are added.
But this is not to detract from what Playful Indian brings to the market. Dina’s offering is a step in the right direction in terms of British Asian consumer product representation. And with her entrepreneurial vision (“in 2012 I approached the Prince’s Trust for funding. I’m still only a small company but my customer base is fast growing and now includes America, Australia and India- how cool is that!”) she’s definitely one to watch- I look forward to seeing further growth and innovation from Playful Indian.
This is a personal blog, written and edited by me. I did not receive payment to write this review. Any payment for any advertising, sponsorship or product reviews will never influence content, topics, posts or opinions in this blog.