- Two close buddies have opened toy shop for black dolls with natural hair
- Their goal is to encourage little African girls to embrace natural beauty
- As they started, they were told their products were ugly and will never sell
- Now they are making money and have reliable source of income
Until now, there were no black dolls with natural African hair. The existing toy makers previously tried to tap into this market by painting black the western dolls. But the dolls did not have natural Afro hair.
Khulile Vilakazi-Ofosu and Caroline Hlahla from South Africa and London respectively took note of the existing gap in the toys market. They decided to start making dolls that reflect the true identity of the African woman. But it wasn’t just for the sake of starting a business.
The two, who coincidentally worked for a hair company, felt that the hair issue was becoming a huge concern, with young African girls refusing to accept their natural hair in preference to what they saw in the western world.
“My two-year-old daughter already wanted to go blonde. She was demanding for a flowing hair instead of keeping her natural and beautiful hair,” says Khulile.
So Khulile and Caroline started Sibahle Collections, a company that produces black dolls with natural African hair. Basically, this was more about changing the growing perception among African girls and women that Afro is not beautiful.
“Ideally we were venturing into this line of business because our aim was to let our children know that they are still beautiful as they are,” says Caroline.
However, getting the business off the ground was not a smooth ride. Khulile and Caroline say they approached a number of manufactures with the idea as they sought support, but they were told the black dolls were ugly and will never attract customers.
Following the harsh criticisms, one would have expected the duo to simply abandon the black doll idea and probably look for something else to spend their time on. But they never got discouraged. On the contrary, the difficulties appeared to strengthen their zeal to succeed.
Months later, Khulile and Caroline met two business partners in South Africa. Together with the clothing designers, they started making black dolls with Afro hair.
The venture has since started bringing in cash. Khulile and Caroline say they currently have a steady stream of income and everything is going according to plan.
Watch video of entrepreneurs making and selling black dolls with Afro hair:
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