Monday, April 25, 2016

Guest Post From the Creator of Curly Girls United

Curly Girls United dolls

Having my professional background as first a critical care nurse and now a nurse anesthetist, I never imagined I would start my own doll company! But life has many surprises for us as time goes on.

I grew up with girls and women who had beautiful hair textures and gorgeous skin tones, but our dolls all looked the same—generic in a way that didn’t reflect the beauty in our communities. Being raised the youngest of 16 kids in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood during the 1970s offered me a unique perspective. A few years ago, after a failed attempt to find a natural-hair doll of color for a Christmas gift, I decided to create my own.

Kayla is the center doll; the other two will be named soon.
At a time when we are becoming more diverse as a society, it was surprising to me that this lack of diversity in children’s toys was still such a problem. Though toy makers today are producing more dolls with minority skin tones and hair types than they did decades ago, many stores don’t stock them, and the models available online are often targeted for collectors, rather than for girls to play with.

According to research by Unilever, the maker of Dove soaps and shampoos, about 60 percent of girls who have curly hair don’t think it’s beautiful. The Curly Girls United dolls come with a range of hair textures—some very curly and others with looser curls—that can be washed and styled, allowing girls to learn how to care for and appreciate their own natural hair. “I like her because she looks like me; she’s my mini-me,” was the response from Madison, a 6-year-old who received one of our first dolls.

Designing the dolls was a joy and a challenge! They are 18” to allow girls and collectors to use other popular doll clothes. We had our own mold made for the face and worked with the manufacturer to get the hair just right. The hair is fully rooted and of high quality that can be “cowashed” and finger combed. I wanted the dolls to represent the beautiful variety of skin tones and hair textures of the women and girls I know. We are starting with 3 skin tones and hair colors/textures but definitely hope to add more. It was important to have the dolls be able to stand independently and so we chose a primarily vinyl body, but to keep the cuddle factor we went with a 2/3s cloth torso. The cost of manufacturing the dolls is high.  To keep it manageable, I made the decision to have the articulation kept at the head, shoulders and hips.



Currently the dolls are available for order on Indie GoGo:  https://igg.me/at/Curly-Girls-United/x where there is special pricing until mid-May. After that, the dolls are available for full price at Brown Eyed Dolls: http://browneyeddolls.com/. The dolls will ship to customers starting in mid-June and will come packaged in a plastic bag in their own branded pink box which has pictures of all the dolls on it.

I think little girls as well as collectors will agree that these are beautiful dolls. It is my sincere hope that they bring as much joy to others as creating them has brought me.

Margaret
Brand Manager
Brown Eyed Dolls
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Thank you, Margaret, for sharing the inspiration behind the creation of Curly Girls United and for providing details about these adorable 18-inch dolls.  It is always refreshing to learn of companies like yours whose dolls are inclusive, because positive imagery of self matters in the eyes of all children.



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8 comments:

  1. Hi Debbie! Thanks for having Margareth as a guest on your blog. Her dolls are really cute. Apart from the hair which is gorgeous and the fact that the dolls represent diversity, I love their lovely face with round cheeks, big friendly eyes and smiling mouth.
    All the best tithe lovely Curly Girls dolls and to Margareth,the woman behind the project. It is so good to have more and more black women taking matters in their hands.
    The darker doll is my favourite.
    Take good care of yourself Debbie!
    Arlette

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  2. The choices for children's dolls expands! Marvelous! Do they come with instructions on hair care and/or can those be shared here? Keeping doll hair manageable and avoiding a snarled mess is harder than people hair. Thanks

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  3. Thank you, Fran. The dolls will have an enclosure that explains hair care. I agree, it can be a challenge to manage doll hair. But with TLC, these dolls are a lot of fun to "do" their hair! And, they don't squirm or complain : )

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  4. They have such engaging eyes! And, as someone who co-washes mine and my dolls hair, I can appreciate that co-washing was thought of in their design.

    Best of luck to this line.

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  5. Oh, my gosh, they are so cute, absolutely adorable!!!

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  6. Congrats Margaret! Your dolls are lovely. I like that they have different hair lengths and styles. I wish you all the best getting your new line out there.

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  7. Best wishes for success in this line!

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  8. I want one but right now my money is funny.

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!