Mala Bryan, a Cape Town-based international model and founder of Malaville Toys, chats to us about her love for dolls that led to creating her own.
By Fundiswa Nkwanyana
My love for dolls began when I was a little girl. While growing up in Saint Lucia in the Caribbean Islands, I collected dolls. When I started working as an international model, I continued collecting them during my travels. As my collection grew, I realised that there were no black and brown coloured dolls with Afro or curly hair. This bothered me, and I decided to do something about it.
In 2015, I formed my company Malaville Toys. My aim was to create dolls that black children could identify with. I then searched for manufacturers in China to help me create dolls that come in various brown and black tones with different hair textures. So far, business is going well. However, I’m still struggling with distributing the dolls internationally.
I recently added a doll with albinism to my range. I believe that children with albinism need dolls that they can relate to. It took me a while to launch the doll because the head’s design took longer than expected. However, I’m happy with the results and confident that children with albinism will also be happy.
I love everything about my range, and I’m glad that I’m creating something that I dreamed about as a child. I took my time to create the dolls because I wanted them to be perfect. I want children to see that black and brown are just as beautiful as any other skin tone. It is also important for children of other races to have these dolls in their collection in order for them to appreciate diversity.