Naturalistas Dolls | Source: Just Play/Purpose Toys/the Toy Insider

It’s important for all kids to feel represented by the toys they play with, and two new doll collections are making the doll aisle more inclusive. Purpose Toys, one of the largest Black-owned toy start-ups, is partnering with Just Play and Kidfinity (a Just Play-affiliated company) to launch Naturalistas and HBCyoU this year.

Purpose Toys was founded by DeeDee Wright-Ward with a goal of partnering with Black toy creatives to bring kids toys that align more closely with the modern Black experience. DeeDee created the Naturalistas fashion dolls featuring natural Black hair as “a celebration of natural coils, curls, and crowns.” Purpose Toys’ mentee Brooke Hart Jones created the 18-inch HBCyoU Dolls “to share the magic of historically Black colleges and universities” while introducing the concept of higher learning to kids through play. Both doll collections lift up Black beauty by featuring Black hair textures, Black skin tones, and authentic storytelling that represents the Black community.

Naturalistas Dolls (pictured above) feature seven aspirational characters, all with authentic hair textures, beautiful skin tones, and custom-designed fashions. The dolls will be priced at $12.99 each, and the line will also include an Influencer Deluxe Set for $24.99 that includes accessories and two interchangeable hairstyles. Each Naturalistas doll was specifically designed as a reflection of Black beauty, including culturally familiar faces with sculpted noses, lips, jawlines, and profiles. 

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Kids can also customize their doll’s style with contemporary Fashion Packs for $9.99 with three different ensembles, each designed to reflect a-day-in-a-life of a Naturalista. The line also includes two “Crown and Coils” and “Crown and Curls” Styling Heads for $29.99. Naturalistas is the first toy line to offer specific natural hair textured styling heads, with special 3C and 4A hair textures that more accurately reflect the variety of hair textures of Black kids. The Styling Heads come with culturally specific hair tools and accessories, including a trademark crown afro pick, gold crown braid barrels, butterfly barrettes, and more. 

HBCyoU Dolls | Source: Just Play/Purpose Toys

The HBCyoU Dolls will be priced at $34.99 with three characters to collect, all with authentic hair textures and realistic skin tones. The dolls feature outfits that represent different school-related activities, celebrating the Black college experience. 

“The African American community is a nuanced, multidimensional group with varying sensibilities and experiences. Through Naturalistas and HBCyoU Dolls, Purpose Toys ushers in the perfect opportunity to honor the uniqueness and multifaceted nature of not only our community, but African American culture,” DeeDee said in a press release. “While ‘diversity,’ ‘representation,’ and ‘inclusion’ are slowly becoming the corporate norm, more work needs to be done to bring cultural nuances, authentic brand stories, and Black ownership to the toy aisle. We hope to affect positive change not only in toy development, but in business overall.” 

Purpose Toys will sell and distribute both collections, available at retail this fall with additional collaborations planned for next year. Just Play has several multi-cultural and diverse brands that represent Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins; Disney and Pixar’s Turning Red; Netflix’s Ada Twist, Scientist; Nickelodeon’s That Girl Lay Lay; and YouTube’s Super Sema.

About the author

Jackie Cucco

Jackie Cucco

Jackie Cucco was a Senior Editor of The Toy Book, The Toy Insider, and The Pop Insider. She covered toy trends, pop culture, and entertainment news, and made appearances on national and regional outlets, including CBS, WPIX, News 12, and more. Jackie spends her time watching horror movies and working her way through every Stephen King novel out there.