Taofick Okoya, Nigerian born Queen of AFRICA dolls’ Designer Eyes American Market…Dolls Outselling BARBIE, Empowering African GIRLS to Promote Feminine Ideals
*Dolls come in Traditional Outfits, Recreates Skin, Colour and Style
*Dolls’ look modelled on Nigeria’s THREE Biggest tribes-Yoruba, Hausa, Ibo
*Products in Hot Demand and Sale in Brazil, America, Europe and Nigeria
*America’s famous actor, Whoopi Goldberg celebrates ‘Queen of Africa’ dolls
* Dolls’ design, accessories and costs around £4.50
* “It is selling up to 9,000 units a month – a staggering 15 per cent of the country’s toy market”-Reuters
* “My mission is to make the Queens of Africa a symbol of hope, trust, and confidence by promoting African history, culture, and fashion”-Taofick Okoya
BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/FOREIGN BUREAU CHIEF, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
HE’S A NIGERIAN by birth, intelligent, talented, creative and consistently focused. A dream he had since 2007 to create ‘Queen of AFRICA’ dolls has never left his sight. Since that year soft-spoken Nigerian genius, Taofick Okoya from Yoruba speaking major tribe in Africa’s most populous black nation jealously guard and guide his aspiration. Not only is he very wealthy, humble, but his dolls are fetching him fortunes from Africa to Europe, Brazil to United States. Who say dreams don’t come through in life?
Due to the consistent success he’s attained on these lovely dolls’ sales, Taofick has now set his eyes on the American market due to the ingenuity of his creative ability, as reports confirms that in view of remarkable online presence, ‘Queen of Africa’ is outselling BARBIE at a fast pace.
On plans to make lasting impression in American market, Taofick reportedly said recently: “Empowering the African girl child is the motto of Queens of Africa; a Nigerian brand of dolls founded by Taofick Okoya in 2007. The doll range depicts various African ethnicities, as well as a variety of African hairstyles (customers may opt for dolls rocking an afro, or alternatively one with braids or braid extensions). Okoya’s mission is to spread a message which enforces young black girls their self-esteem, allowing them from an early age to have role models they can relate to. This summer, Okoya and his posse of dolls will travel across several cities in the United States, to meet and greet American clients, while further expanding the Queens of Africa footprint.
“Upon realizing the non-existence of black dolls within the Nigerian market, I decided to create a brand of his own. The dolls’ body parts are manufactured in China, and are subsequently assembled in Nigeria. In the midst of it all, I ensure I empower local communities of stay-at-home mothers, who make money off of braiding the dolls’ hair and creating outfits. It takes about three hours braiding the hair. One of these women has made 60,000 Naira (roughly $300) doing this.” Sadly, Taofick has been told that he won’t be able to sell the dolls on the shelves of mainline stories in America and will have to limit his business to specialist.
According to Reuters, “The doll is now so popular that it is selling up to 9,000 units a month – a staggering 15 per cent of the country’s toy market.” This 43-year old Nigerian in 2007 created a doll that Nigerian, Africans and Black girls could identify with by recreating their skin colour and style – and it is now so successful that it is outselling Barbie. Each dolls cost roughly £4.50 and Taofick’s aim is to promote strong feminine ideals. His story is about a man who couldn’t find a black doll in the shops as a gift for his niece decided to take matters into his own hands.
At the cost of £4.50, you can be sure to have in your hands these dolls called ‘Queens of Africa’, which comes with traditional outfits and accessories and costs around. Some great features in these dolls are that their looks are modelled on three of Nigeria’s biggest tribes with the sole aim to promote strong feminine ideals, like love, peace and endurance. These dolls’ are modelled on three of the country’s biggest tribes-Yoruba, Hausa and Ibo to honor strong feminine ideals
Taofick reportedly said: “My mission is to make the Queens of Africa a symbol of hope, trust, and confidence by promoting African history, culture, and fashion.”
America’s famous actor, Whoopi Goldberg celebrates ‘Queen of Africa’ dolls on an early morning program ‘The VIEW’, a hugely watched television talk show where she hailed Taofick for his professional creativity and accomplishments in ensuring African and Black girls have a pride of history in their looks.
In spite of his fortune, fame and wealth accruable since 2007 when he began his dolls’ business, Taofick has never looked back in his aspiration of giving hope to African girls, empowering them and making them feel more appreciated due to their gifted, feminine looks.
#PHOTO credit:Isaac Emokpae