I’ve been writing about diverse toys for years. There is a lack of diverse toys on the Great British high street, which is a shame. During this season there is a high volume of toy shopping and it’s glaring how absent those toys are. On Instagram I often see the laments about this lack. Honestly, I never noticed until I became a parent. Miss V’s first brown doll was bought on eBay. When I’m shopping, I might see one or two black dolls depending on the store. It shouldn’t be a task to find dolls and toys that reflect the diversity of our community. I normally write a special peace for Christmas highlighting books, toys and dolls but this year I want to focus on dolls. Here are my picks of 5 brands that stock adorable black dolls.
Just Like Me Toys
When first began searching for diverse toys and books online, I discovered the Black Baby Show. In 2015, I attended the show which led to my discovery of Just Like Me Toys. What I love about this brand is that not only does it stock afro dolls, they also have Chinese dolls, boy dolls, along with doll accessories. Some of the baby dolls are anatomically correct which is awesome for imaginative play.
Just Like Me Toys imports their dolls, so they stock a variety.
In 2017, I attended the London Toy Fair for the first time. It became clear then, that if there were no diverse dolls there, then how would we find them on the Great British high street? .
In the same year, the Zuree Doll was featured on the news. Naturally, as a Caribbean island girl, I was excited hear this Jamaican Patois speaking doll. Zuree Doll now stocks non-speaking dolls, a Rasta Talking Jamaican Bear along with their original Patois speaking doll.
You may remember that I reviewed the Nouble doll last year. Since then the Sibhale brand has grown. I’m so thrilled for them. They now have a range of party essentials, as well fashion accessories for girls and dolls.
Sibhale is based in South Africa, it will be too late for order for Christmas. However, this is a brand you want to know. Think birthdays, just because gifts AND teas parties of course.
I’ve been following Clarke’s Closet for a few years. It’s such fun funky brand that’s celebratory of black beauty.
Clarke’s Closet rag dolls are is perfect for little ones. Not only is their style on-trend but the different textures will be a joy for little hands. Of course, big kids will love them too. Some dolls come in different skin tones. They also stock one with vitiligo.
Clarke’s closet also creates cross body bags, knapsacks, bum bags and more.
When I was little, my grandmother gifted me with a black ballerina doll. She was one of my favourite toys of all time. Every little girl should have a black ballerina doll, if she wants one.
Some months ago, I spotted the Nia Ballerina doll on Insta. She’s a beauty in her pink tutu. The name “Nia” is very close to my heart and is an African name meaning “purpose” in Swahili. How fitting for a doll that will inspire girls for years to come.
The brand also stocks knapsacks, and musical jewellery boxes. They ship worldwide.
Things have improved since my search began in 2013. However there is still LONG way to go towards being more inclusive. My advice would be search online, talk to friends visit craft markets. There are sites and small independent shops we can go to. Don’t despair.
If you know of any UK brands or brands that ship to the UK, where divers dolls (books and others) can be found, please leave a comment below lets share the intel.
Photo Credit: feature image from Clarke’s Closet