Photo COURTESY OF WORLD OF EPI
Toys are one of the most important things that impact children during their childhood. They shape them in profound ways, and the World of EPI is proof of it. Playing is perhaps children’s most important way of learning, so toys representing marginalized races can build the confidence of children belonging to those races and instill positivity in them.
Dr. Lisa Williams has deployed this concept in creating the largest Black-owned multicultural doll company. Through her brainchild, she is spreading a message of positivity, inspiration, and intelligence.
Let’s look at her life, her company, and how it can change the racial landscape.
Lisa Williams, an Inspiration
You might be surprised that Dr. Lisa Williams wasn’t always making dolls for kids. In fact, she was a professor at the prestigious State University soon after getting her Ph.D. in Marketing and Supply Chain Management from The Ohio State University. Her life went smoothly then, as she was pretty successful in her teaching career.
However, she stumbled upon a study on dolls conducted in the 1940s by Kenneth and Mamie Clark that completely changed her life and pushed her toward a career change.
The Study and the TV Show
Dr. Williams watched a representation of the impactful study on a TV show, which helped her transform her mindset forever. On the show, a little black girl was asked to pick up one doll from two dolls, one black and one white. The girl was happy to pick the white doll instead of the black one because she thought the latter was nasty.
After a short while, that girl touched her own skin and thought it was nasty too. That incident broke William’s heart, and she still talks about it, even though several years have passed since then.
The World of EPI is Born
Instead of sitting and doing nothing about the issue, Dr. Williams vowed to change the racial landscape for children through dolls. She focused on developing a business that prompted self-love, acceptance, and confidence among children.
However, the World of EPI isn’t her only project addressing the issue. She subsequently launched Positively Perfect Dolls and Fresh Dolls Collections too, which offer an extensive line of multicultural dolls. These dolls have unique facial features, skin tones, and hair colors, representing all ethnicities worldwide, from African-American to Caucasian.
As Dr. Williams describes, she wants these dolls to reflect the children’s identity. Her purpose is to tell children that no race is inferior or superior based on skin color and that every skin color is beautiful.
The New Wakanda Forever Line
The World of EPI has been a successful venture, thanks to the sheer hard work and dedication of Dr. Williams and others. Today, you can find their dolls on all major retailers like Target and Amazon, a sign of their resounding success.
In August 2022, The World of EPI launched a new line of dolls called Wakanda Forever. It was actually named Fresh Dolls Fierce and was launched in collaboration with Marvel to bring the epic story of inspiring warriors to life. The line features 11.5″ dolls named Shuri, Nakia, and Okoye.
Everything has been done perfectly, from the packaging to the dolls themselves. The organization’s original goal still drives it, so special care has been taken to replicate the skin tones, hairstyles, and other aspects as genuinely as possible.
People’s Response and New Lines
Dr. Williams’s life-changing project’s reception has been nothing short of spectacular. In 2022, it won the Toy Foundation’s Doll of the Year, which speaks volumes about its impact. As described above, 2022 was also the year when the World of EPI collaborated with Marvel, the brightest milestone in its journey.
It has encouraged them to explore the horizon even further, with ten dolls planned to be launched under the Fresh Squad Platinum and Fresh Dolls Fresh Finity Wear collections. They have been designed to represent children above six and include all races.
The Fresh Squad Platinum has three male members: Amari, Ian, and Miles. On the other hand, the Fresh Dolls Fresh Finity Wear features Aniyah, Autumn, Carissa, Keisha, Regine, Shanell, and Moli.
Given how well people have responded, the collaborations, and the team’s dedication, the World of EPI seems to have a bright future. Not only has the company become commercially successful, but it has also sparked meaningful conversation, an important social goal of Dr. Williams.
The company has grand plans for 2023 by launching new dolls. Most importantly, Dr. Williams herself is highly optimistic about the toy industry, particularly her brainchild.