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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.

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