Nowadays, the topic of inclusivity is more important than ever before. Examples of “real” looking boys, girls, and non-binary identities have popped up on the big and small screen, in print media, etc. However, some would argue that a massive hole in the market exists for those still in the nascent stages of development when identity is most important. Thankfully, a former social worker with a keen eye for detail is doing something about it.
Amy Jandrisevits makes dolls. And not just any dolls—handmade craftworks that are exact look-alikes for children who are physically different. Like other innovators before her, she came up with the idea for her unique side business after noticing a lack of diversity among similar products on the market—stuffed figurines with vacant, lifeless plastic eyes peering out from toy store shelves. She took it upon herself to change all that.
Humbly operating from a seat at her dining room table (a true act of DIY), Jandrisevits is careful to incorporate all elements of a child when crafting her dolls. Upon receiving a request, she studies the source photo included with the submission for more than just physical characteristics, but also ethnicity and medical identifiers.
Although meticulous (each doll is customized entirely to the specifications of the recipient and can take up to seven hours to complete), the work is nothing compared to the reaction from a child as they look upon their new companion’s entirely unique likeness.
In the past four years, Jandrisevits has worked selflessly to design and produce these one-of-a-kind works of art—over 300 genuine, and genuinely original, creations. And luckily for children everywhere, she shows no sign of slowing down.