It’s not hard at all for most white parents to find dolls that resemble their children. As Gaëtan Etoga and Yannick Nguepdjop know all too well, though, the same is not true for parents of color.
Etoga and Nguepdjob are Quebec residents who have recently launched their own doll company, YMMA. They’re on a mission to diversify the toy industry.
In an interview with My Modern Met, the men explained that “Black dolls are hard to find.” They also added that, when these dolls are available, they’re typically expensive.
Etoga and Nguepdjob want to change this so that kids of color can have access to “toys that look like them.” They hope to help these children feel inspired, build their self-esteem, and understand that they’re beautiful “the way God created them.”
Increasing the creation and distribution of Black dolls is obviously good for children of color. However, the men also pointed out that white children can benefit from seeing and playing with dolls that don’t look like them. They believe the exposure to diversity at a young age encourages open-mindedness and awareness in adults.
The dolls created by Etoga and Nguepdjob carry out an important mission regarding diversity. However, they’re also using their business to support both Cameroon’s (their home country) and Quebec’s local economies.
When speaking to Le Devoir, Etoga explained that all of the dolls’ clothing is made with local fabrics by seamstresses in Cameroon. The packaging, on the other hand, is all made in Quebec.
Those who want to support YMMA, as well as Etoga, Nguepdjob, and the Cameroonian economy, can do so by shopping for dolls and accessories through the company’s website. The company ships worldwide, so children from all over can enjoy the beautiful dolls.