Barbie and her Malibu dream house are no longer every little girl’s dream. A new doll is going after Barbie — and seems to be making some really good headway. Created to embody the essence of an African woman, the Queens of Africa Dolls blowing Mattel’s Blonde Beauty’s sales out of the water in Africa.
Inspired by his daughter, entrepreneur Taofick Okoya created the dolls to encourage young African Girls to embrace themselves and exude a more positive self-image. Realizing that none of the dolls on the market looked like his daughter, Okoya set out to make a line of dolls that were exclusively “brown skinned”. After seven years of development and sales, Okoya now sells anywhere form six thousand to nine thousand dolls per month; maxing out Mattel’s sales with a larger market share.
Each Queens of Africa Doll comes with an origin-story style book the pays homage to its individual heritage, stresses the importance of education, and encourages ethical behavior. Bringing forth an awareness of ethnic distinction and diversity, the dolls also come pre-packaged with a female-empowering message centered on the vales of self-acceptance and a sense of independence.
Alongside his surge of growth in Africa, Okoya has also seen substantial advancement in his international audience, those including sales here in the U.S. While there are some glimpses f diversified dolls here in the states, none really touch on to the same ethical messages as the Queens of Africa. These dolls speak for more than pink make up high-heels, high fashion, and dream houses.