A'bebi Dolls is a black owned business that makes stunning brown and black dolls. Based in Canterbury, Adeola Salami, works from home and is a proud mother unequivocally supportive of back culture, black creation and black folks. When she became a mother to her three lovely sons, Adeola began the life-long commitment to growing her children into confident young men.
“My boys are my inspirations.”
Determined to nurture their sensitivity and emotional development, Adeola turned her attention to the biggest providers of children’s entertainment: toys. She noticed that by and large, especially in Aotearoa, toys that are labelled as ‘boys toys’ do not include dolls. Adeola decided that this was something important that was missing and chose to do something about it. “I found most of my children’s toys to be trucks, trains, animals, and other educational materials. We had no tools to speak to their sensitive nature and identify emotions. I then realise I need dolls who look like them, so they can see themselves. If I want them to have the confidence to be seen and heard, it has to start from our home.”
Adeola has always been one to dance to her own beat and taking the leap into starting a business, A'bebi Dolls, has allowed her to create her own rhythm. She has been inspired by many women in her life but her grandmother is one who holds a place of prominence. Remembering her matriarch, she says “my grandmother was a hardworking cocoa farmer and trader, an unapologetic Queen of her time, a brave woman who would always stand in her truth.
As a Black creative entrepreneur Adeola has one advice for others who wish to be both full parents and business owners. She says, “running a business is a marathon, not a sprint, it takes time and consistent effort and ultimately, owning the tools doesn't make you successful, putting in the work does.”