Rebranded: Curiositeej™ began as the doll store, Curiositeej™ Dolls & Collectibles. In the past few years, my experience with dolls and doll makers has led to me becoming a doll expert and a respected member of the global doll community.
As a result, I have rebranded Curiositeej™ and updated its mission and value statements to reflect the need for more diversity, equity, inclusion, and empathy--not only in the doll and doll-adjacent spaces--but in the world-at-large.
Curiositeej, LLC promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and empathy worldwide by collaborating with families, child experts, and the doll-adjacent communities to create products, services, and spaces that support and uplift the self-esteem, dignity, and voices of disadvantaged and underrepresented peoples--especially children living in impoverished and at-risk communities.
Smarty Pants Academy pre-school/daycare is a Curiositeej, LLC community partner.
Curiositeej, LLC will promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and empathy worldwide by collaborating with our partners to create, produce, and share communication channels, books, dolls, spaces, and other products and services that uplift and celebrate diversity and self-esteem--especially amongst children of color, children who are impacted by poverty, and other at-risk children.
Dolls Heal: Creating the online doll store, Curiositeej™ Dolls & Collectibles, was the first step of my professional doll journey. I created the store about a decade ago when my youngest child was diagnosed with a chronic pain condition. My child was unable to attend school because of the pain. I noticed I could tell how my child was feeling based on the dolls they played with.
When they were in a lot of pain, they would play quietly with a baby doll. They would sit, rock, and hold the baby. When they missed school, they would create a mock classroom with their 18-inch dolls. They would sit the dolls in rows and place notebooks in front of the dolls. Then, my child would teach them. When they missed their friends, they would turn on the Monster High (MH) television show. Then, they would take their MH and Barbie dolls and create scenarios that ran along with the show.
Doll Store: Three things became clear: 1) my child's pain was not going to be short-lived; 2) the treatments would be expensive: my family paid $20K in medical expenses--that were not covered by our medical insurance; and, 3) we had no idea when/if our child would return to school. So, we had to create a way for our child to successfully earn a living as an adult. I knew our child loved dolls; so, I created Curiositeej™ Dolls & Collectibles. The intent was that my child would become an entrepreneur and successfully run the doll store.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Empathy: As I searched for products to purchase for the store, I met people who were doing amazing work helping Black children build their self-esteem via dolls. These people included doll makers in South Africa and Botswana as well as advocates in the US, Britain, Senegal, Ghana, and France. I created networks and collaborations with them.
Doll Expert: Over time, I became knowledgeable about dolls. I often purchased dolls that had distinctive or unique features. I learned that these dolls were normally made by artists. Part of learning to list and price the dolls included learning about the background and history of the artists and their dolls. I also bought and appraised dolls for other people.