About Corage Dolls
Numerous studies and child psychologists have shown that many children, specifically girls, undervalue themselves due to a lack of positive representation in images and the media. Especially, in the toy industry where toy shelves carry dismal levels of diversity (under 30%), children derive meaningful lessons from their toys as they’re building their imagination and cognitive skills. Also, the frustration a parent often finds themselves in when struggling to find a doll that represents their child, shares positive reinforcement, and creates a solution that they were unable to receive as kids; this is why Corage Dolls exist.
- Lack of choices: Multicultural dolls grossly underrepresented on toy shelves.
- Homogenous options: Limited existing dolls that truly reflect ethnic features & stories.
- Self-doubt: With a lack of representation, children of color are left feeling that they're not good enough and potentially internalized racism.
- Authenticity: Beautiful dolls that look like girls of color today that instills cultural pride, sparks creativity, and promotes diverse play.
- Development: Diverse books for kids on career exploration based on each doll with uplifting stories that help unlock their limitless possibilities.
- Sistership: Growing #Coragecrew community of socially-conscious moms, aunts, grandmothers, educators, and allies that support and advocate for the empowerment of girls.
Hi! My name is Flora Ekpe-Idang and I’m the Founder & CEO behind Corage Dolls. When I was in high school I watched the documentary “Girl Like Me” in which a “doll test” was conducted. A group of Black children were given a Black doll and a white doll and asked various questions about the doll's perceived attributes such as which one was smarter, prettier, uglier, etc. The majority of the children chose the white doll when it came to anything positive and when the children were asked which doll they associated most with they said the Black doll.
Now you must know that this same test was conducted more than 60 years earlier and garnered similar results. It was frustrating and disheartening to see how children as young as 5 could already have a negative perception of themselves and underlining internalized racism. I didn’t know at the time what I wanted to do with this realization, but I knew I would always remember that moment. As time went on I soon built this idea of wanting to fix the toy aisle with positive representation of dolls of color that weren’t fashion dolls.
I spent years perusing toy shelves and talking to parents and kids to see if change was happening, but it continued to be dismal. I even interned at one of the largest toy companies in the world Hasbro to understand the inner workings of the toy industry, but it was during grad school that I decided that if I wanted to see the change on the shelves I had to be the one to do it. I wanted to celebrate Black beauty and other ethnic and racial identities of beauty through dolls that looked authentic and like girls of today. I wanted to educate children on rich career developmental stories that were inspired by girls today taking charge in the space of entrepreneurship, STEM, activism, and more and lastly, I wanted to build a sense of sistership among girls, families, and advocates for the empowerment of girls of color.
Especially in the era of racial reckoning today, parents want to find greater diversity in toys for their kids but struggle, families want to have meaningful conversations about race but don't know how, and brands want to support Black-owned businesses, but don't understand the barriers. This is why Corage Dolls exist to encourage girls of color to be unstoppable. This is Because Representation Matters!