Meet my mom friend: Sonia Nagar, founder, Little Rituals
Meet my friend, Sonia Nagar, founder of Little Rituals. Sonia and I were introduced by a mutual friend and I’m so grateful for that intro. We’ve come to learn that we have a lot in common, including our passion for kids’ wellness and creating healthy parent-kid rituals.
Her company, Little Rituals offers kid-friendly, wellness products that are designed to be enjoyed by kids and parents. I asked her about her story, company and her approach to self-care and mindfulness with her children.
Can you share your quick background?
I grew up in the Midwest, and lived all over (Boston, Seattle, NYC, Austin) for school and work before my husband and came to Chicago to start a family and be closer to our extended family. We live downtown in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago with our 2 kids (4yo Zara, and 2yo Jaymin) and dog (Sergio).
Why did you decide to launch Little Rituals?
We’re a tea-obsessed family. It’s more than just a beverage, it’s an excuse to create a moment to sit down with each other and connect. During the first few months of COVID quarantine we were staying with my parents and my daughter saw us drinking tea together 3x a day -- morning, late morning, afternoon. At the same time, I was craving easy at-home activities I could do with my daughter. Obviously I didn’t want to give my daughter caffeine, so we experimented to create caffeine free herbal tea blends that she loved, and hence, a teatime tradition and a company was born. Separately, during quarantine I started thinking about what the most important lessons were that I wanted to teach my daughter (since we had the gift of more time together). I have built companies in the past, and it felt like the best gift I could give her was to teach her how to build. And hence, she became my co-founder!
Thank you for sending us some Little Ritual teas! Mishka loves having tea parties but in the past, I’ve hesitated to give her tea out of my cabinet, even if they are organic and caffeine-free. What makes Little Rituals teas a better choice for kids?
Our mission is to make it easier for caregivers and kids to connect and enjoy everyday moments together. So the number one difference between Little Rituals and other teas is that we’re focused on making the tea drinking experience a memorable routine. Our teas come packaged with tools to help kids with emotional and social skills, via teatime conversations and activities with caregivers.
Secondly, all our blends go through rigorous kid-taste-testing and are designed with kids in mind. That means tweaks to traditional favorites (like adding vanilla to our chamomile blend).
Lastly, we designed our teas to have functional ingredients that are certified to be of the highest-quality. I’m a fan of the two-fer (e.g., exercising while catching up with a friend) so not only do our teas taste great but the ingredients have health benefits (e.g., elderberry = immunity, chamomile = calm). Our teas only use certified organic ingredients and are sugar-free, caffeine-free, gluten-free, vegan and allergen-friendly.
I am so impressed with the details including the packaging, stickers and booklet. Would you share a little about the thinking behind all of it?
The packaging ties back to our mission -- of helping caregivers and kids connect and enjoy everyday moments together. This is our north star, and as we expand our product line will be the litmus test for what we will and will not do.
For our packaging we studied current tools for kids to learn social emotional skills and consulted with child therapists. Based on that research we developed a 3-minute activity book with simple gratitude journal pages and conversation prompts to make it easy for caregivers to connect with little ones. The stickers make it easy for younger kids (who may not be writing yet) to customize their activity books or tea tags. We actually have a bunch more ideas how the packaging will evolve with feedback from parents and kids on what tools will help them connect and have calm moments together better. My 4-year old co-founder is key to this effort.
Besides teas, you sell vitamins as well. Would you share a little more?
My four-year-old co-founder’s favorite thing in the world is gummy vitamins (even more than teas!). There are few daily rituals that bring my daughter more joy than taking her gummy vitamins, and I’m a huge believer in the benefit of hero ingredients like elderberry, so I knew we had to make gummy vitamins part of the brand. If you check the label on the most popular gummy vitamin brands for kids, they have a lot of added sugar (they are literally coated in sugar)! Sugar is critical in the gummy formation process, but we did a bunch of research to find a manufacturer that could do elderberry gummies with less sugar and more elderberry per gummy. Our elderberry gummies have 25% less added sugar and 67% more elderberry per gummy than other leading brands for kids’ elderberry gummies.* Our vitamins are also Vegan (made from pectin vs. gelatin), gluten-free, kosher, non-GMO, and allergen-friendly.
How do you and Zara enjoy your teas? How often? Any other fav self-care / mindfulness rituals that you share with Zara besides the tea?
Zara either joins me for morning or after-school tea (depends on if we have time in the mornings). We also do ad-hoc teatime anytime she’s not feeling so great or needs a moment to calm down. “Teatime” has almost become a code word for “mommy I want some quality time with you”.
Our other little rituals are bathtime/post-bath lotion massage, reading books, doing nightly dances to the “freeze song” with her little brother, trips on weekends to Starbucks (when you drink tea 3x per day there’s room to mix it up), and “toasts” at dinner for what we’re thankful for.
Between the business and home, I’m sure you have your hands full! How do you make time for yourself mama?
Little Rituals truly is a labor of love -- my favorite daily self-care ritual is a cup of tea in the morning! I’m convinced the world would be a better place if everyone drank more tea together with friends and family, which means working on Little Rituals energizes me.
I wish I could say I exercised or cared to exercise, but it doesn’t bring me joy, so I don’t do it consistently. I do walk everywhere (I love walking everywhere! A perk of living in the city!), and once a month I indulge in a massage.
Where can readers buy your products?
Website is: www.littleritualskids.com
Code: LOVEMISHKA (10% off)
Anything else you’d like to share about your story and your journey with Little Rituals?
I’m a huge proponent for women building things. I previously founded a mobile software startup, and worked in venture capital where I invested in people starting things and want to see more women on the opposite side of the table. If I can help other women in any way, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!