Black woman discusses how she got her product into 3,000 Wal-Mart stores
Reported by Nigel Boys
The founder of the Skin Toned Doll Collection, Positively Perfect, which is sold exclusively in over 3,000 Wal-Mart stores nationwide, Lisa Williams started the idea after being approached by a buyer to manufacture the multicultural dolls in 2009.
Williams was selling a line of children’s books in 1,500 Wal-Mart stores that gave her around $500,000 in annual revenues, but she had no experience in the manufacture of dolls. However the buyer approached her because she understood the multicultural market and they were looking for a doll that would appeal to the African American market.
Still unsure how she could help them find what they wanted and not convinced she wanted to do so, Williams watched a little Black girl tell anchor Anderson Cooper on CNN that she didn’t like Brown colored dolls because they looked nasty.
The little girl was reiterating what had been said before in the 1940s by Black children that white colored dolls were better because they were “good, nice and pretty.”
Following this program, Williams launched a multi-cultural doll collection in 2010, which has now grown from the initial two dolls to over 20 different models in three categories, including infant, toddler and Divah (Dignified, Intelligent, Vivacious, Attractive and Humanitarian).
Two of the Divah line of dolls include a straight “A” student Divah Zair, who is also an artist, and one who wants to be a scientist, Darling Dana.
“I did not want to see another little African American girl fail to choose the doll that most closely resembles her precious face because that child does not view the doll as being equal or more beautiful than the white doll,” said the founder and CEO of the San Diego, Calif.-based World EPI Inc. She adds that her company is planning to manufacture another doll appealing to Latin-American children because, “Other cultures don’t have dolls to represent their beauty and intelligence either.”
Williams’ line of African American dolls range in price from $9.97 to $19.97 and her million-dollar company has grown to employ 12 other people. World EPI generated two million dollars in 2012 and rose to around five to six million dollars in 2013 from licensing fees and royalty payments.