Friday, February 6, 2015

Move Over, Barbie: In Nigeria, Kids Embrace Dolls That Represent Them

Barbies or Queens of Africa? In Nigeria, toy giant Mattel has been outsold by a brilliant idea.
It all began in 2007, when entrepreneur Taofick Okoya went in search of a black doll for his niece. Despite Nigeria being the country with the highest number of black children in the world, he couldn't find one.
"I'm not one to criticize and complain without taking action," Okoya told Elle. He then resolved to create a doll Nigerian girls could identify with, one with darker skin and traditional African clothes.
Seven years later, Okoya sells 6,000–9,000 Queens of Africa and Naija Princess dolls a month, granting him 10-15% of a small but fast-growing market. Prices vary from roughly US $6.50 to US $17.50 each, depending on accompanying clothing and accessories.
With about 170 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the continent's most populated country and is neck-and-neck with South Africa for the title of largest economy. According to data from Euromonitor released by Reuters, while toy sales increased 1% in developing countries between 2006 and 2011, emerging economies showed a 13% jump.


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