A mother who launched an inclusive toy brand after the birth of her first child says she was ‘touched’ to see people using her products who will be able to fondly reflect on playing with them as ‘childhood memories “.
Desriee Asomuyide, 29, who is based in Hornchurch, Essex, was inspired to start inclusive toy company Little Omo after the birth of her son – Isaiah in January 2020, who is now 2 years old.
“I was pregnant with my son in 2019 and I was offered flashcards with mostly white characters in it,” she told the PA news agency during Black History Month, which takes place in October.
“I thought how I was going to be a first-time mom with products that don’t really represent my son.
“I graduated in fashion design a few years ago and thought, why not use the skills I have in design, sketching and editing to build my brand?”
Since its launch in September 2020, the company has expanded its range, initially moving from flashcards to puzzles, books and posters.
Ms Asomuyide began creating the flashcards in December 2019, which were designed in July 2020 and went through many prototypes to ensure she was using the “right colors, the inclusivity and diversity were there and that they positively represented his child”.
She also recently released a puzzle that attempted to incorporate people from different backgrounds, including people who wear “headgear” or may have different skin textures.
It touches me so much to hear that the current generation, the next generation will have these products and they will remember playing with them like their childhood memories.
Ms Asomuyide added that it is “so important” that these items and resources are in children’s homes and educational spaces.
“And that’s very important for my son because he can learn not only about black people, but also about people from other cultures and traditions,” she said.
“I want every kid to sit there with a book or a toy from my company and say, I can see myself in this.”
His brand’s products have also had a positive impact on different generations, from children to parents and grandparents.
“I think it’s these comments from people of different generations – like my parents and grandparents now – who say they never had products like these when they were younger – that’s what that touches me,” she said.
“And every time someone says, I’m so glad my kid has this because I never had it.
“It touches me so much to hear that the current generation, the next generation will have these products and they will remember playing with them like their childhood memories.”
However, Ms Asomuyide mentioned that there needs to be more concerted efforts by major toy stores to “diversify their range of children’s products”.
“Because it’s really important for every child to see themselves as beautiful,” she said.
“And that’s done by seeing products that look like them.”
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