When entrepreneurs Caroline Hlahla (UK London based) and Khulile Vilakazi-Ofosu (South Africa) came together to launch their Dolls Collection, they envisioned a collection that will inspire young black girls all over the world. Talk about an enterprise with a purpose.
Their partnership didn’t begin like this originally. The entrepreneurs initially wanted to launch a customer-centric hair company. Throughout the business research process they found that women especially share a deep connection with their hair. Khulile tapped into her experience with her daughter who has got in her own words ‘the most beautiful thick afro’ and started to crave blond and flowing hair.
The pair didn’t see this as an issue. The found that there’s a market gap and incredible opportunity for business.They came up with a quality beautiful dolls collection called “The Sibahle Collection” that would be representative of children of African and Caribbean heritage.
The Sibahle Collection wants children to see the beauty of their skin. Sibahle is a Zulu word that means “We are beautiful”. The dolls in the Sibahle collection have features that resemble most African and Caribbean children’s facial and body features.
“We decided to do this, is because we want our children to know they are beautiful the way they are. We hope the doll’s hair will teach our children how to take care of their own natural hair from a young age and to love the skin that their in.” – Caroline Hlahla and Khulile Vilakazi-Ofosu.
Their first doll under the collection is called Nobuhle, Buhle for short which is a Zulu word that means “the one that represents beauty”. According to the entrepreneurs, her hair is the most distinguishing feature of this doll. The child gets to experiment with the hair, wash it, care for it as their own hair. Up until recently, the European market attempted to fill the gap for black dolls. The result is western dolls just painted black with hair nothing like the typical African kinky hair.
Despite the blank rejection by manufacturers to produce their collection, the duo was determined to win. Since launching their brand, they’re seeing significant growth and have sold out twice. They are now looking for seed funding to take the collection to another level.