Hi ! I’m Olivia and I run Akila Dolls from my small flat in Leeds.
The meaning of Akila is, ruler of everything in the world, brave, beautiful and intelligent. This strong and meaning full messages is what the Akila brand wants to deliver to both young boys and girls. That we can all be the ruler of our own world, we are brave, beautiful and intelligent people. That diversity and disabilities should not divide us as a nation.
Image above: Akila Doll’s founder, Olivia, with daughter, Amira
Akila Dolls are the inspiration of my own daughter, and her obsession and love for baby dolls. From the age of 6, my daughter was diagnosed with autism, she struggles with social interaction, restrictive behaviour and many other symptoms. As a mother, it was important for me to support her, and a lot of her education was based around role play learning. She loves to interact with her dolls and one could say she treats them as if they were actually human. It has become apparent to me, and more so now as a parent that diverse baby dolls were and are still massively underrepresented within the UK industry. I believe it is extremely important that not just my daughter, but that every boy and girl can see baby dolls on toy retailers shelves, that both look like them and relate to their cultures and beliefs. The only we can do this is within toys and books. By having a greater diversity within the toys children play with, will have a greater impact on how they perceive themselves and others in the future.
The mission of Akila Dolls is to deliver high quality, diverse, educational and play doll’s for children that are enjoyable to play with and are good value for the purchaser.
Each doll will be named after a historical figure in history. The first doll will be called Bessie, after Bessie Coleman. She was the first woman of African-American descent, and also the first of Native-American descent, to hold a pilot license.
Image above: the illustration of the first doll
To educate both boys and girls about other races and religions, through play, which will develop a child’s social, physical and emotional skills while they role play, dream and imagine. When a child is free to learn and play, we can encourage their self acceptance, allowing them to posses a realistic awareness of their strengths and weaknesses, and that they can accept themselves despite imperfections and what make them unique.
For every child worldwide to see a doll, that represents them in independent shops, high street stores and available to buy online.
Image above: Akila Dolls concept book
With the support of this crowdfunding campaign the money raised will be used to achieve the following:
Prototype of the doll
Prototype of the sustainable packaging
Social media campaign
Image above: Market research between January and February 2020