INSPIRING: Charlotte Francis
CHARLOTTE FRANCIS is the Maths teacher who is now also the entrepreneur behind new Dolls Brand “Biankha and Friends”.
She has spent most of her adult life either educating or mentoring young women, so it came as a real surprise when in 2016 her own daughter, Cali (aka mini CEO), came home upset one day and asked for “straight , yellow hair” after falling out of love with her own natural hair.
This spurred Charlotte into action and she immediately started searching for a doll that looked like her daughter on the high street but could not find a single black doll. The only dolls she found were online from America and were often either too expensive or had expensive shipping fees. This inspired her to launch her own range of dolls here in the UK which celebrate the beauty of black women and serve as “play role models” for little girls who can be anything that they set their minds to be whether they want to be CEOs or they want to go from being princesses to queens.
Biankha and friends was created to empower, motivate and inspire young girls of colour, to excel in the 21st century. Its mission is to educate and encourage young girls to embrace their culture and heritage, whilst succeeding in a modern and ever changing society; through dolls, role play, books, animation and everyday items. It also serves as a real symbol of inclusion and diversity in play activities for those who would not normally buy Black dolls for their children. Having these dolls will ensure that children not only see themselves but see their friends in their toys.
The brand’s mission is to educate young children about their true history and encourage them to strive to reach their full potential, whilst taking pride in their culture and communities.
“I thought of Biankha’s name after being drawn to the feminine ankh symbol and felt like I wanted young girls of colour to be embraced in a positive light,” said Charlotte. “I also wanted them to have high aspirations and have the confidence to embrace being multi-faceted; being in tune with their heritage whilst being fiercely successful and knowledgeable about their history. I want to inspire little princesses to become queens.”
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