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Black doll company owner Dr. Lisa discusses the business behind her brand

Dr. Lisa (Photo provided)

If you are looking for Black and brown dolls to buy your child that will help their confidence, look no further than Fresh Dolls. The toy doll brand was started by former college professor Dr. Lisa in 2017 to fill the gap for the lack of Black representation in the doll industry. Fresh Dolls offer an expansive range of dolls with realistic body features, varying hairstyles, and trendy fashion pieces.

Most recently, Dr. Lisa expanded her brand to include a line of dolls to highlight the diversity of Black men. The dolls can be purchased in Walmart, Target, Amazon, and on Dr. Lisa’s website. We spoke with her during our “Lunch and Learn” segment to gain insight on starting a doll company and what it takes to be successful.

Explain international outsourcing and the manufacturing process for dolls.

There are no U.S. based doll manufacturers. There are U.S. based doll companies like … EPI and Mattel, but there are no factories here in the United States that make dolls, and that’s disappointing. But that’s where the factories are, so that’s why they’re made in Asia.

How can companies get into a major retailer?

There are all kinds of women organizations that will link up and partner with Walmart. At toy events like the Toy Fair that’s usually held every February, you can go and literally pitch your product to Walmart. They will listen and if it’s a great idea, they will incorporate it into their store. That may sound like the hardest part, but that’s actually the easier part. It’s easier to get a commitment from them to buy your product. What’s harder, at least in my experience, is actually getting the product made, manufactured, warehoused shipped and delivered to the customer. 

What message do you want to share with the community about supporting Black businesses?

Retailers will put products on the shelf that they believe are going to be profitable. It might be a wonderful philanthropic idea or a wonderfully socially sensitive idea, but if it’s not profitable, it’s not likely to stay on the shelf. So we as a community have to one make our voices heard by telling the retailers, “I want more products that reflect me on the shelf.” You can do that simply by sending a direct message or going on their social media and saying, “Hey we want more of these kinds of products.” They actually do listen to those things. When you see a product on the shelf, tag your friends and tell the community, so people can go out and buy it.

You can watch the full interview by clicking here.