Dolls have always held a special place in the lives of children. They become friends, companions, and they help ignite children’s imaginations.
Back in March, we talked about Jilly Bing in an article called Mom and Founder Jilly Bing Doll Inclusivity and Authenticity to Playtime.
Jilly Bing was founded by first-generation Chinese-American Elenor Mak. She believes that toys play an essential role in helping children make sense of the world, with dolls serving as tools to build self-esteem and self-acceptance. Her vision for Jilly Bing is to create a line of dolls and toys that authentically represent Asian-American children, nurturing a deeper appreciation of Asian culture.
In this latest installment about Jilly Bing, we’ll revisit its journey with Elenor, showcasing the notable achievements and recent updates that have propelled the company even further in its mission to redefine the world of children’s toys.
Highlights on Jilly Bing’s Journey:
1. Launch Event with Chef Kathy Fang: This past summer, we hosted a launch event in S.F. with Chef Kathy Fang to celebrate the debut of our Jilly Bing doll. We wanted to bring the community together to celebrate. Witnessing the delighted reactions of children who received the doll, exclaiming ‘looks like me’ and ‘has soft black hair like mine,’ confirmed that we were on the right path.
2. Nationwide Sell-Out: Within weeks of shipping our first dolls nationwide, we sold out. I’m proud to say I transformed my basement into a doll packing hub, experiencing firsthand the ‘art’ of doll packing.
3. Increased Interest in Dolls for All Ages: A doll is not just a passing toy – it’s a child’s first friend. The recent Barbie movie renewed interest in dolls for adults and underscored the importance of increasing representation for Asian American children. Sharing our journey on national TV, such as the Today show, has sparked interest from families nationwide who, even without Asian children, want dolls that resemble their friends.
Customer Reactions to Jilly Dolls:
Our team has been deeply moved by the incredible responses from both children and adults! It fills our hearts with pride to witness the sheer joy on the faces of children, both girls and boys, as they receive our dolls. Their delighted exclamations, such as “She looks like me!” and “Mama, she looks like you,” warm our hearts.
The stories we hear about how these dolls become inseparable companions for these kids, accompanying them on shopping adventures, sharing sleepovers (shoes off, of course), and even joining them for a hot pot meal, are simply heartwarming. But it’s not only children who celebrate these dolls; adult women have shared, time and time again, that this is the doll they had always wished for during their own childhood.
One customer, who discovered us through a mom’s group, shared this touching reflection: “I grew up gazing at all the Barbies and dolls in stores, and none of them looked like me. It left me with a lingering feeling that something was wrong with me, always making me wish for blonde hair and big, round blue eyes. Now, at 44 years old, this doll has rekindled the sense of how special and proud I would have felt to have seen a doll that truly resembled me.”
What’s next for Jilly Bing?
Jilly doll is just the beginning. Our goal is to expand the dolls to create a “cast of lovable Asian American characters” whose identities go beyond just East Asian to fully represent the nuanced identities of all Asian Americans. My vision is to create a “modern-day educational Hello Kitty” with Jilly Bing. I want all children to know they belong and that they are beautiful as they are.
Connect with Jilly Bing:
We’re thrilled to be back in stock! Join us in making Jilly a beloved friend in every home this holiday season and shaping a more inclusive world for our children.
Order now for the holidays: jillybing.com