Black parents know how difficult it is to make sure their kiddos have books and toys that reflect who they, but Molemo Kgomo was shocked by just how difficult it was to find a doll that celebrated her culture in South Africa.
After not finding a suitable doll for her daughter, Kgomo decided to make her own and Ntomb’entle Dolls were born.
Ntomb’entle Dolls are fuller-figured, have dark skin, and are clad in traditional clothing. So far the line includes Zulu, Sotho, Pedi, Swazi, Ndebele, Venda, Tsonga, and Xhosa dolls, and Kgomo has plans to expand to toys for boys.
Kgomo’s mission, to make toys that will help Black children “appreciate and see beauty in all kids,” has resonated with many and buyers have snapped up her dolls at markets and shops in South Africa.
Things weren’t always this good for Kgomo, though. She came up with the idea–and prototypes–for Ntomb’entle Dolls about a decade ago but couldn’t get any traction with major retailers. That all changed when she hooked up with her business partner Mpumi Motsabi and the pair used social media to spread the word about the gorgeous dolls.
Within months of leveraging social media to spread of word about the business, Ntomb’entle Dolls have sold out in South Africa, the U.S., and the U.K. So why the sudden shift? For Kgomo, it’s all about timing.
“Maybe the timing wasn’t right then, but I feel like now is my time. The biggest lesson I’ve learnt as an entrepreneur is to be patient,” she said. “You’ve got to know what it is you want, you’ve got to have perseverance and faith to carry on no matter how slow it is.”