Being black was normal to Esi, but within three weeks of enrollment in a private school and being the only black girl in her class, that perception changed, confidence issues set in and self love was not in the mix. She hated her skin tone and curly hair.
Quick to notice the change in her daughter, Melissa Orijin began to see Esi’s preference for white dolls with straight blonde hair. So she began to scout for dolls which looked like her daughter to show her that in fact mattered, but it was futile, so Melissa did the only thing she could, teaming up with her daughter, Esi, the power duo decided to start Orijin Bees.
“Dolls of color with various skin complexions and natural hair textures celebrating the diverse beauty amongst African descendants.”
Orijin Bees which sets its eyes on inclusivity is a clever acronym that reflects their mission; Our Representation is Just Inclusion Normalized, Beautifully Empowering Every Soul.
The brand is on a mission to normalize inclusion through the creation of diverse dolls with different complexions and hair textures. Orijin Bees simply wants little girls to look at a doll and be able to say, “She looks like me”.
Orijin Bees in efforts towards reaching out to others who may not be financially able to buy the dolls created its GetONE GiftONE program where they gift dolls to kids, Black News reports.
To date, dolls have been gifted to girls through churches, NGOs, schools, orphanages, and directly to disadvantaged families both domestically and internationally. Their gifting program has continued through the pandemic, and Oijin Bees has added gifting dolls to health clinics for them to give to families impacted by COVID-19.
Orijin Bees, much more than a doll brand aims to keep black and brown children abreast about their heritage and culture. In turn, helping children feel proud of their heritage and confident in their self-worth.