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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

OLMEC TOYS AFRICAN AMERICAN DOLLS 1994

A few months ago I discovered some beautiful dolls on Ebay that I had never seen before, I noticed from the listing photo's that they were made by OLMEC and the clothing on the two dolls in the centre and right of the photo' told me they must have been made in the 1990's. Well being the type of person who craves information and doll information more, I had to do some research and what I found out was bittersweet as sadly this company is no longer in business, the story of how the company was founded is for me incredibly interesting though, and so as I have found a blog post on Myspace that can tell the story much better than my rehashing it here can; I have included a link to the Myspace page, you can read it by clicking on the following link:  The OLMEC Story...


The dolls were designed to give little girls a positive role model doll, that looked more like them than the obligatory white Barbie who had been hogging the market for 50+ years by tat time (my words, not Yla Eason's - Founder and Creator of OLMEC Toys) an article I discovered about the company is sadly written in a very extremist style, but it does have several very interesting facts contained within it, such as: "Creative mom, Yla Eason, created a $5 million business selling African American, Hispanic and Asian dolls with ethnically correct features. Her business, Olmec Toys, Inc., started with $60,000 borrowed from family," notes an article from Good Housekeeping, November 1996". 
You can find a link to the article below if you wish to peruse it.:   How the Clintons Sold Christmas by Charles R. Smith Thursday, Dec. 23, 2004 - Newsmax.com  but without further ado, I think it's now time to show you these stunning dolls...                           



Out of these three I think my favourite has to be "Kente Fun" on the right, as she reminds me of all those 1980's and early 1990's shows that I loved at the time, such as The Cosby Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Kenan & Kel, A Different World and films such as New Jack City, Boyz N The Hood, Do the Right Thing ( & other Spike Lee movies) and "Royal Princess" makes me think of the "Black Power Movement" that had it's resurgence in the early to mid 1990's, when it became common to see everyone form Stand Up Comedians to Sit-Com Characters wearing beautiful and Traditional / traditional inspired outfits  alongside the crazy post neon prints of the 1980's and early 1990's that everyone else seemed to be wearing, I guess what I'm trying to say is, it was a colourful time, made more colourful by the gorgeous hairstyles and fabrics worn on TV and the Big Screen, and these dolls must have seemed the height of fashion to any child growing up at that time and seeing them on shelves in the big stores.

Back of boxes for above dolls
The back of the boxes are very informative too as it contains information and back stories about the dolls, but also information about the company and it's name, such as:

 THE OLMEC STORY. Almost ten years ago, my son sent shock waves through my body when he said he couldn't be a superhero because he thought some dreams didn't come in his skin colour. That was my inspiration to create Sun Man, the world's greatest super hero, now playing with toys that look like him makes him feel good. We hope our dolls help your children's self image too. At OLMEC our love, our hopes, our skills, our styles and "OUR PRIDE IS IN OUR TOYS" - We are you!

There is a Toll-free number to phone to order a catalogue of their toy range, then the logo and below this is written: "OLMEC is named after an ancient Mexican civilization that sculpted African Traders".

 I have found a Wikipedia page if you'd like to read a bit more about the Olmec Civilization  but remember folks, it's Wikipedia, so my advice is to do some research else where too!
The link is here if you are interested: Olmec - WIki

As for the dolls, well it's still possible to find them, and there are quite a few on Ebay at the moment, such as this really cool one below - just look at all those extras and yay, cool wigs too, sadly she's pretty expensive and as she's in the USA, she has shipping costs on top, so out of my price range, but, still looking is free!


If you are interested in purchasing her, I've included a link to the listing below...

#3437 NRFB Vintage OLMEC Imani Music Video African American Doll Giftset
Another OLMEC doll, that really stood out, while I was browsing Ebay just now is this one below, photo's taken from the listing:


She doesn't come with as many cool gadgets, and her change of clothes is very similar to the one she is already wearing, but she is still a very beautiful doll nonetheless, here's a close up of her face:


This one is slightly cheaper than the one above, if you'd like to check her or the Seller out on Ebay, here's the link:  #226 NIB Vintage Olmec Imani African Fantasy Doll

As I said, there are quite a few of these dolls available on Ebay right now, if you just do a quick search for "Olmec doll" you'll find loads...

Enjoy,




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