NONHLANHLA MTHETHWA, 37
My customers are very supportive. I haven’t had any negative feedback – instead, people ask for more languages. My goal is to manufacture our own clothing and to compete in the bigger retail industry. This venture is a passion for me – it isn’t about the money. I want to make a difference in my country.”
Girlz Ink, a company that manufactures black dolls for little girls. It was founded in 2005.
“I’m a mom of two kids, a 14-year-old girl and a five-yearold boy. The idea of Girlz Ink came when I had my daughter. I wanted to give her a doll that looked like her. I wanted my child to grow up knowing that she’s beautiful and must be proud to be black.
That’s how the company’s doll, Baby Thando, came about. My child was two years old when I decided to create my own dolls. I spoke with my close friend, Luleka Nzimande, about entering into a partnership and that’s how we founded Girlz Ink.” funding for the project. We both had day jobs, so the business was self-funded. Now we’re a niche online boutique for girls. We stock everything a girl child between the ages of two and 14 needs – from dolls and clothing to accessories.
Our speciality, however, is making Baby Thando dolls. We wanted the doll to look like most black girls, so she had to have African features. She has chubby cheeks, round eyes and natural hair. She’s manufactured in China, but we design everything here. We have one doll design, but we intend to expand our range. Our doll will be able to ‘speak’ in Nguni and will have a clothing range. Eventually, she may even become a cartoon brand.” 1.