Nationwide — Rooted in her African culture, prior to starting school, 6-year old Esi Orijin loved everything about herself. To her, being Black was “normal” and feel included was a way of life. However, Esi struggled with confidence issues within three weeks of starting private school and being the only black girl in her class.
Her mother, Melissa Orijin, was devasted and needed to find a solution after witnessing Esi’s preference for toys change and her self-love take a dip. Esi no longer loved her skin tone or her curly hair. She wanted only white dolls with straight blonde hair. After struggling to find dolls that truly represented her daughter to show her that she was in fact included, Melissa, together with her daughter, Esi, decided to start Orijin Bees.
Orijin Bees is a brand on a mission to normalize inclusion in toys, starting with dolls. They want little girls to look at a doll and be able to say, “She looks like me”.
Both Melissa and Esi set out to create products that would encourage self-love, self-worth, and inclusion. This story is far from unique. It’s something so many families experience. Children should grow up appreciating their culture and identity without thinking they have to change themselves to fit in. This belief forms the mission of Orijin Bees. A brand to create dolls as diverse as we are, with the different complexions and curly hair textures missing from the dolls you see in most toy stores.