Photos: My Brown Doll




My Brown Doll is an online Dutch company specialising in afro and curly haired dolls for children.  We caught up with owner and founder Sigrid Wijngaards... 



How did My Brown Doll come about?

My Brown Doll started as My Black Doll in the summer of 2014.  Back in those days, me and my stepdaughter played a lot with my old Barbies from when I was young.  They were all blonde and light skinned.  I wanted to have a Barbie that my stepdaughter could identify with, and that would represent her beauty.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find a doll that looked like her.  The only one I could find was a light-brown skinned doll with straight hair.  Not even one doll with curly hair.  I couldn’t believe it!  From that moment on, I pursued to create some sort of platform where parents could shop for their little girls.





How do you feel children have benefited from My Brown Doll?

We are one of the first online stores in Europe with toys that enhance natural hair.  I think that identification with our products can contribute to a child's self esteem, self love and self acceptance.  Sometimes parents come up to me and tell me the reaction of their daughter or son.  And literally every single reaction still warms my heart.  No matter how small or big, the fact that they marvel at themselves when they see a doll that looks like them is the biggest reward there is in this job.





What would be your advice to parents and caregivers to encourage a child to love their natural hair?

Go to a specialised hairdresser who knows what he or she is doing, and just make it fun!  Go to natural hair events, watch tutorials, let them explore their hair, and let them create their own style.



We love the dolls' outfits.  What materials do you use?

There are a few outfits I make myself.  I love to use wax prints.  They are great to work with, versatile and colourful.



Where and how did you learn your craft?

I learnt to sew by myself for one year and then started sewing classes.  They come in handy when it comes to techniques or creating patterns.


Describe your workspace...

My workspace is literally everywhere because I’m constantly thinking of new ideas.  When I’m creating my products, I have a small desk to work on.  







What inspires you, both in your work and life in general?

My inspiration comes out of beauty.  I can hear you think: but beauty is rather subjective isn’t it?  Yes it is!  But I just love beautiful things.  Beauty can be in the smallest things that are not always visible.  If I find something beautiful, it is beautiful to me.  When you do something that is sincere, you can never go wrong.  



What's the biggest challenge of running your own business/ being an entrepreneur?

Your own insecurity.



What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs starting out? 

Stay close to who you are.



 My Brown Doll