Representation matters. It may feel like we’ve come a long way in introducing BIPOC and black dolls and toys for kids of all backgrounds, but the reality is those toy aisles are far from multicultural. Since necessity and mothers are the mother of invention, we’re not surprised it took a mom of colour to start affecting change.
Michele Ballestin was a full-time working mom of two young kids when she realized the lack of diversity in the Canadian doll market. Despite not having the time to start a business, she felt passionate about representation, diversity, and sharing her culture from Cameroon. She wanted her children and others to explore and celebrate black culture and beauty through imagination and inclusivity in play.
Koolorez Dolls: Black Dolls Celebrating Black Culture & Beauty
Just this year Ballestin launched Koolorez dolls, in February 2022. As a mom and as a black woman, Ballestin had a dream of all black children seeing themselves represented in mainstream media, films, stories, and toys, and made that dream a reality with Koolorez. The black dolls share the beauty of Caribbean and African culture and fashion with characters like Camilla and Jada, who exemplify success, creativity, and happiness in traditional African and Western fashion, kinky hair styles, and head scarves. Koolorez black dolls offer all children the opportunity to learn, play, and embrace the beauty of black skin.
Koolorez dolls come in two doll styles for children aged 2-10. And collections like On-the-Go, Party Queens, and Mini-Me offer a variety of outfits, hair styles, and clothing designs. See the dolls here: www.koolorez.com/collections