With the world becoming a more diverse place and the political landscape growing more volatile, it's more important than ever for kids to learn about ethnic diversity at a young age and also, to have a representation of dolls and toys that they can relate to. Enter One Dear World, a line of dolls launched by a London couple to represent all of the diversity they see in the capital city.
Currently on IndieGogo, the line of dolls with an accompanying ebook, is making waves in the toy industry. We sat down with One Dear World's co-creator Winnie Mak to find out what makes this range so special.
Can you give us your pitch for One Dear World?
We believe the world will become a better place when our children form dear relationships with people of all ethnicities and backgrounds and see themselves as one people.
We have designed a collection of multicultural dolls and a storybook so that children can have a doll that represents them as well as dolls that look different from them so that they can grow up with a vision of being friends with people from around the world.
How did you come up with the idea?
My background, family and our experiences in London contributed to the idea. I am Chinese from Hong Kong and my husband Rafael is half French, half Greek. Coming from totally different backgrounds, our relationship gave me lots of cross-cultural experiences. Two years ago, our son Alex was born and it made me think more about the world we want to leave for him, so I wanted to do something that can make a positive impact on children.
In the playgroup I went with Alex, there is a black doll called Rosie and the teacher there always emphasized the importance for all children to have a doll. Early last year, I tried to find one for Alex and started to do a bit of research, then I realized that there are very limited options for dolls in the market with a majority of white girl dolls, so I decided to design a collection myself and write a story about them.
Why did you decide to go to Indiegogo to fund the product?
Having a child makes us more conscious about the financial risk involved in a startup, so we wanted to make sure that we have a proven concept before we invest in stock. Therefore we decided to go for crowdfunding. We thought it is also a very good platform to gain visibility and raise awareness.
Why do you think diversity is important in dolls?
I think diversity is important in dolls as much as in business/management decision making. Diversity in dolls simply enriches the interactions with children and gives play another dimension. I believe dolls and toys on the market should be reflective of the diversity of the world we live in, this is one of the main reasons that we created One Dear World.
Can you tell us about the ebook you are releasing?
The book is about the four dolls' adventures in London. Their good friend, Mr. Globe, has a bad headache and the four of them think putting a nice magic hat on Mr. Globe's head will help, so they start to travel around London to look for that magic hat!
This will become my first published book in the World tour collection. The book will be illustrated with a mix of real life photographs of iconic places in London and digital illustration so children can have a vivid visual experience of London and at the same time open up their world of imagination.
How has living in London inspired this line of dolls?
We live in Southeast London, an area where many people of different cultures live. So when we go out, have friends at home or even at Rafael's work or in the not for profit organisation we volunteer for, it is always a blending of people from around the world. This is one of the reasons we love London, it is so rich in terms of cultures and diversity.
For our son, his nursery friends are from many ethnicity groups. When we go to the supermarket, we can often hear people speaking in languages other than English (Polish, Chinese, French, Arabic, etc). So on a daily basis, we can meet people with different background and ethnicities. These experiences become my inspiration for the dolls to bring the same multicultural experience to children around the world.
I think there are more than enough apps, smart toys and toys around STEM these days. Rather than creating another digital comforter for children, I like the idea of creating beautiful dolls for children which brings parents back to play.