Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Nigerian Barbie Competitor Queens of Africa Dolls Are Making Their Way to the U.S. Also A Look At Ntomb'entle Dolls

  Barbie may soon have a new competitor. A popular Nigerian line of dolls called "Queens of Africa" is about to be introduced to the United States.The line was released in Africa in 2007, and in 2014 they actually outsold Mattel in Nigeria. The line features different skin tones and hair textures to represent different African women. 
The dolls themselves look a bit like your common dollar store dolls in the photos, (Without seeing them in person I can't say what sort of quality the vinyl is.), but the care taken in some of the hair styles, and the quality and beautiful fabric of some of the clothing brings them up quite a few notches.

  Another feature is the clothing. The dolls are dressed in bright contemporary African fashions, with dresses, tops, and pants with wax print patterns. 
Taofick Okoya with some of the Queens of Africa dolls.

 The dolls are the creation of Nigerian entrepreneur Taofick Okoya.  Okoya originally noticed there was a need for Black African dolls when he went shopping for a gift for his niece  and noticed there was a lack of Black dolls on the shelves in African stores.(No Black dolls in Africa! How crazy is that?!)He was later inspired to create the dolls when his daughter was three years old. "...she had asked me, ‘what colour am I?’ Realizing where it may be leading, I told her in an upbeat way that she is black. She got a sad look and when I inquired why, she said it was because she wished she was white. This, I believe, is because all of her favourite characters were white and she had imagined herself in their likeness." He also recently told Forbes magazine,"I used to always buy her white dolls, and it never got to me that it was relevant which color her dolls were. On top of that, we have DSTV in Nigeria, where children watch the Disney programs, and all her favorite characters were white. I started to understand why she’d feel the way she did, ’cause it was all that she’d been exposed to.” "This further drove my passion to create a doll that she and other African children can relate to." said Okoya," That was the beginning of the ‘Queens of Africa’ dolls. The goal is not just selling pieces of moulded plastic, but also to inspire and create a sense of appreciation of them by promoting value, culture and a heritage.

  The brand's motto is "Empowering the African girl child". In addition to the dolls there is also a series of educational books aimed at teaching self confidence and cultural pride. Ironically,a couple of years ago the line was having trouble getting little African girls, accustomed to white contemporary dolls, to accept the traditionally dressed African dolls. The company switched to more contemporary clothing, but have been trying to bring back the more traditional African fabrics.

  Okyoya has his dolls made in China, and shipped to Africa for dressing and hair styling. He employs 15 people, and is hoping to keep his operation in South Africa,but costs are making that difficult.   
  Okyoya has had requests for the dolls from stores in the U.S. and Europe, and is now shopping the line to potential American distributors. In the meantime, he is bringing  the dolls to the United States on a “Coming to America” tour in April, May, June and July. The stops on the tour will include Atlanta,(That visit was April 30th and May 1st.) New York,(June 4th and 5th.) and Chicago (Three stops throughout July.), and dates for Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Houston are to be announced. Click the link above for more details.You can also invite the tour to visit your town by emailing them at  INFO @QUEENSOFAFRICADOLLS . COM
  If you can't wait for the dolls to come to America,you can shop the dolls and beautiful fashions HERE, or buy them on Amazon.

You can also check them out on their website HERE, or their Facebook HERE.
  In researching this post I also discovered another line of African dolls which found it's way to store shelves in a similar way. Ntomb'entle dolls is the creation of Molemo Kgomo a South African mom who, once again, couldn't find a Black doll for her daughter on the store shelves in Africa.

Molemo Kgomo with all eight exquisitely dressed dolls in the Ntomb'entle line.
  Her dolls were created in 2005, and are today also sold in the U.S. and Europe. At just over 14" tall the Ntomb'entle, (Which means 'beautiful girl'), dolls are larger than 11 1/2" fashion dolls like Barbie. The dolls themselves resemble the larger 'dress me' type craft dolls, but the clothing is more special, with detailed bead work on many of the outfits. Dolls are dressed to represent 8 different African countries.Kgomo said she wanted to make dolls that made children “appreciate and see beauty in all kids." She hopes to branch out into boy dolls as well. You can find out more about Ntomb'entle Dolls, and see their beautifully dressed dolls, on their website HERE. You can also visit their Facebook page HERE,where you can also purchase their dolls. You can also email them about purchasing dolls at
  For more information about the dolls you can read an interview with Ntomb'entle's marketing director HERE

Thursday, May 19, 2016

It's My Third Blogaversary! I'm Celebrating With A 'New" J Doll, Old Church Street! Plus My Top Ten Posts Ever

  Three years ago today I started this blog.

Happy Blogaversary to me!
I wasn't sure of everything I would do with it. So far it has served as a place to share some photography, some fun finds, and some interesting facts. It's given me the chance to voice a few opinions, get some writing out of my system,and hopefully educate and occasionally amuse.
  I was thinking of doing a giveaway for the blogaversary, but there has been such a low interest in previous giveaways I gave the idea up. Maybe I'll do a Christmas giveaway.
  So what have been the most popular posts I've done so far? You might think the oldest ones would have had the most views, accumulating them over time. Not really true. The most popular posts are scattered throughout the three years. Some of them are surprising. Counting down, here are my Top Ten Most Popular Posts (So far.)
10. Topo Gigio, from Living Dolls Week. Topo was Doll-A-Day 181. You can see the post HERE.
9. Little Miss No Name. My childhood LMNN was Doll-A-Day 33. You can see her HERE.
8. Newborn Thumbelina. Another of my favourite childhood dolls was Doll-A-Day 26. Check that post out HERE.
7. That Kid. The most sought after doll of my life was part of Talkin' 'Bout Boys Week and was Doll-A-Day 218. I had wanted him since I was 5. Find out what all the fuss was about HERE.
6. Ratti girl.This Ratti Tjorven doll with the somewhat unsettling grin was Doll-A-Day 9. See her in all her glory HERE.
5.  Midge and Tressy and the second Barbie Dreamhouse. This post about a yard sale haul of Tressys,Midges,Allan, and Ken, and my online purchase of a Barbie Dreamhouse full of mystery goodies ranks at number 5. To solve the mystery click HERE.
4. Ivy Cottage dolls Violet Pickles and Ruby Buttons were a joint Doll-A-Day 320. These seemingly little known children's play dolls were the creation of  famous doll artist E.J. Taylor. Succumb to their cuteness HERE.
3. The second part of my 2 parter on Beatles dolls and ornaments comes in at number 3. To 'Come Together' with them click HERE.
2. Ai doll Bee Balm was Doll-A-Day 21, and my second most popular post so far by way more than a nose.See why HERE.
And our number 1 post of all time is, (Drum roll please!)
Mrs. Beasley! This extra long post about Mrs, Beasley dolls and how I found the Beasley of my dreams, (which I had been dreaming since childhood!), was Doll-A-Day 27, and can be found HERE.
  Anyway, to celebrate I gave myself a blogaversary present today by deboxing a doll I've had for a while, this J-Doll,'Old Church Street'.

I got her at Tuesday Morning a while back, but I didn't open her because I thought I might have to sell her. (I bought a lot of dolls there that day!) But I really like her, and she was only $20, and after three years of hard blogging, I think I've earned her!

 I love J Dolls. They have great faces, so delicate.

 Unlike a lot of ball jointed dolls, J Dolls don't have changeable eyes.

They have the same bodies as Pullips, the Number 3 and Number 4.

The J Dolls I have have at least 2 different body types.Old Church Street has the number 3 body. She has an extra waist joint the number 4 doesn't have, but a less pose-able head, and those breakable, weird looking wrists.

Her head can only turn left and right. She can't look up or down.

Fortunately she doesn't seem to share a common weakness with the other dolls I have with this body: highly breakable wrists. I've had a couple whose hands broke off nearly straight out of the boxes. (You can see my other J Doll posts HERE, HERE, HERE,and HERE.

This one has a less attractive wrist joint too.

 I seem to either love or hate these J Doll clothes. Most of them I love, including this one.
The clothes are generally well made, at least on the J Dolls I have bought.

There are also a lot of pieces to the outfits, which is good value and gives you lots of options for looks.

The shoes are often a let down though. Some are plain and ugly, and a lot of them don't stay on very well. I lost one of this girls shoes a couple of times during her photoshoot. Luckily I found it both times.
Where has my shoe gone?!
The hair on my other J Dolls is very smooth and soft. This doll has courser hair that is harder to keep looking nice.

I just washed my hair and I can't do a thing with it!
  So, Happy Blogaversary to me! I hope you're all enjoying it as much as I am. And here's a little more of Old Church Street.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Remember Euro Girl?

 I wrote the main part of this last week. By now my blister has gone away and my bruised palm is better, but it's been raining so much I've still not been able to mow my yard! Now...
 I'm taking a break from the monumental task that is mowing my yard, since pushing my little non motorized mower with a broken handle has caused me to develop a blister on the palm of my left hand. So while I have this chance I'm finally getting to my birthday presents. For one thing, I got the Asian Made to Move Barbie.I knew I was getting her because Ken bought her when we found her at Target before my birthday. He made me wait until my birthday to open her though. As everybody knows by now the MTM dolls pose beautifully and very realistically.
  My other doll gift was a Euro Girl doll, which I photographed on one nice day we had recently. Does anybody remember these dolls?

They were discontinued a while back. They were originally sold in 2003 as part of 'The Diana Collection', by Doll Factory. I've seen a very fair skin toned doll with this same sculpt being sold by Aliexpress.
The amaryllis is still blooming.

They were designed by Spanish doll artist Jose Andres Martinez.

She is 18" tall, all vinyl, with just the standard articulation at neck, shoulders, and hips.
She comes with a plastic medallion attached to her wrist with a stretchy band. Unfortunately, the stretchy band had stained her wrist. I would recommend removing it if you get a Euro Girl.
She wasn't very easy to get to stand up unaided. Her balance seemed strange.
She has a cute grin with teeth! Love dolls with teeth!

Carmen Miranda, eat your heart out!

Her eyes are inset and have 'real' lashes.
This is when my lilacs were not even finished blooming. Now they're almost gone.

She has eyebrows made of separate strokes rather than one swipe.

Her hair is wigged, not rooted. It's nice quality hair, and pretty thick.

She has such a cute toddler type face. Her body is thinner though, more like a slightly older child.

She has a sun tanned skin tone. I'm not sure if all the Euro Girls had this skin tone though.

These dolls came in a few different hair colours. The blonde may have had paler skin.

She has nicely done little hands with just a hint of nail colour.
She came in this polka dot dress.

The head band has a clip in it to help it stay in place, which is a great idea, although maybe a pain for little hands.

My doll also had one of her extra outfits with her.

The sandals came with her original outfit though.

There were a lot of outfits made for the Euro Girls, which brings me to a point: I have seen a lot of the Euro Girls clothes being sold on Ebay for Magic Attic and Carpathina dolls, since Euro Girl is slim like they are.

The problem is, the dress has left stains on various parts of this doll's body. For example,she has red marks where the trim at the bottom of her dress was against her legs.

I don't know if this outfit would stain though, since all of her stains correspond to the red trim on the dress.

So I might not recommend the clothing if you plan to leave it on your doll for long periods of time.
  And now here are some more shots of Euro Girl's cuteness.

That's garlic she's standing in. It's going crazy.