With a booming economy in Nigeria and more black children than anywhere else in the world, Taofick Okoya was dismayed when he could not find a black doll for his niece.
The 43-year-old spotted a gap in the market and, with little competition from foreign firms such as Mattel Inc, the maker of Barbie, he set up his own business. He outsourced manufacturing of doll parts to low-cost China, assembled them onshore and added a twist – traditional Nigerian costumes.
The dolls represent Nigeria’s three largest Ethnic Groups; Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba so far.
Seven years on, Okoya sells between 6,000 and 9,000 of his Queens of Africa and Naija Princesses a month, and reckons he has 10-15% of a small but fast-growing market.
"I like it," says Ifunanya Odiah, five, struggling to contain her excitement as she inspects one of Okoya’s dolls in a Lagos shopping mall. "It’s black, like me.”
Like Barbies, Okoya’s dolls are slim, despite the fact that much of Africa abhors the western ideal of stick-thin models. Okoya says his early templates were larger bodied, and the kids did not like them.
But he hopes to change that. “For now, we have to hide behind the ‘normal’ doll. Once we’ve built the brand, we can make dolls with bigger bodies.”
For the first time, string composers CHARGAUX and photographer Abbensetts will combine to exhibit SELF TIMER at the Brooklyn Fire Proof Stages, 119 Ingraham St, Brooklyn. The exhibition will remain for one solo night on Wednesday, March 26 from 8pm to 11pm.
SELF TIMER is an installation collaboration that will exhibit large paintings, photography, explorative art, projected film, and live ensemble performance. Its purpose is to show the most intricate and vulnerable creativity from the artists who never have the time to be social. The show will begin with an exhibit and end with a special performance and film screening.
Free to the publicFacebook - event link -https://www.facebook.com/events/1479214828966153/?ref_notif_type=plan_user_joined&source=1
Please pass this shit around so people can see this an if they are interested get into it.
Join us for FREE screening of
NEGRO: A docu-series about Latino Identity
by Dash Harris
followed by a panel discussion with
Dash Harris, Janel Martinez of “Ain’t I Latina” and Crystal S. Roman of the Black Latina Movement.
Tuesday March 18, 2014
Brooklyn Heights Library
280 Cadman Plaza West (aka Court Street)
R train to Court St. (from Brooklyn only)
2,3,4,5 trains to Brooklyn Borough Hall
A,C,F trains to Jay Street Metro Tech