Six-year-old Esi Orijin went from losing love for blackness to owning her own black doll company, Orijin Bees.
Having grown rooted in her culture, Esi was proud of her melanin, loving everything about herself. Yet, within the first three weeks of starting private school and being the only black girl in her class, things for Esi started to change.
According to Blacknews.com, Esi’s mother, Melissa Orijin, was devastated when Esi’s no longer loved her skin tone or curly hair. She wanted to only play with blonde haired white dolls. Melissa and Esi went on an mission to find dolls that represented her daughter. This is how Orijin Bees was born.
The mission of Orijin Bees is to normalize inclusion among toys, encourage self-love, and self-worth. Both Melissa and Esi want Black and Brown girls to look at their dolls and say, “She looks like me.”
In addition to normalizing inclusion and encouraging self-love, and worth, Orijin Bees is a philanthropic venture at heart. Orijin Bees has a GetONE GiftONE proram where they gift dolls to disadvantaged families.
To date, the company has gifted dolls to churches, NGO’s, schools, orphanages, both internationally and domestically.
The name “Orijin Bees” is just as unique as the dolls. The name is an acronym that reflects the company mission: Our Representation is Just Inclusion Normalized, Beautifully Empowering Every Soul.
Yet, the collection of Orijin Bees dolls is not the only thing in Esi and Michelle’s arsenal to bring social change to the world. In addition to the dolls, the brand also offers educational toys to consumers. Their Go Culture card game teaches children Adinkra symbols and meanings. (Adinkra are Ghanaian symbols that represent concepts or aphorisms. Adinkra are used in fabrics, logos and pottery. They can also be found in architectural features as well.)
Congratulations, Esi! We cannot think of a better way to help educate and promote a strong sense of self. Make sure you are following Orijin Bees on social media. You do not want to miss out on this incredible journey.