Thanks to 7-year old Esi Orijin who inspired her mom to launch Orijin Bees’ Baby Bee Doll Collection, the company had an amazing year in 2021. From being selected for Oprah’s Favorite Things list, launching with Target, receiving the Mom’s Choice Award, and being nominated as a finalist for the 2022 Toy of the Year Award, let’s just say that it’s clear that kids and their toy boxes have been waiting for Baby Bee Dolls!
Esi’s mom, Melissa Orijin, comments, “Previously, without even a passing glance, one would notice that black dolls only had one type of curly hair texture and maybe just one skin tone. No matter how much I searched, I just couldn’t find dolls that showed the vast diversity of Black and brown girls.”
Melissa continues, “Through Orijin Bees, we want to provide dolls that are truly representative of Black and brown girls. Baby Bee Dolls are available in a variety of skin tones, hair colors, and curly hair textures (3c to 4c curl patterns). We ensure this because we know this collection teaches self-love and inclusion during play. We are striving to fill the gap by creating products representative of children that didn’t feel included during play before Orijin Bees was born. Ultimately, our goal is to support the development of confident children that grow up to become the leaders of tomorrow.”
When asked by Storybeat Studio, “Why are dolls important toys?”, Orijin responded, “Dolls are so important during pretend play. They teach children about their place in society, encourage nurturing, help develop gross motor skills, and the list goes on! Children often imagine themselves through their dolls. Now, we need to ask ourselves what they see about themselves if they don’t have dolls that look like them? What are we teaching them?” Melissa added, “We need diversity in toy boxes because the world is a diverse place. Children learn about the world as they play. If from the beginning a child is taught about the importance of diversity and the value of celebrating our differences, wouldn’t we live in a much better world? I think so.”
Media powerhouses are taking note of the Orijin Bees’ impact. A recent Forbes article featuring the company states, “More impressive than most recently being on Oprah’s Favorite Things, is seeing the impact these dolls have made on Orjin’s daughter and children across the world. Parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles tell Orijin about the sheer joy and excitement their child shows when they see a doll that looks like them.
“It’s as much a positive experience for the adult as it is for the child. They get to see their child represented in a doll, to know that it will positively impact how they see themselves. As adults, we know the importance of playtime for children. We’re aware of the role it plays in their development. Having dolls that look like them allows these children to practice self-love,” added Orijin. “At Orijin Bees, we’re very intentional with the design of our dolls. We focus on everything from the skin tone to the hair textures, facial features, and outfits. It’s heart-warming to hear a customer say that their girls can’t leave the house without their dolls, that they take them everywhere with them. Parents have told us that having a doll with the same hair as they have has helped their child embrace their own hair. All of this confirms we are on the right path for Orijin Bees. Inclusion is at the heart of what we do, and it’s something we cannot focus on enough.”
Creating dolls with features more representative of Black and brown girls has made Orijin Bees’ Baby Bee dolls popular with customers in the multicultural doll space, quickly garnering much deserved praise and attention.
Orijin Bees is an acronym that stands for: Our Representation Is Just Inclusion Normalized, Beautifully Empowering Every Soul.