BEING THE MOTHER of young girls is immensely challenging. Add to the challenge a social media-saturated world with a range of aspirational images, and, well, it’s a minefield for moms. So, Mukami Kinoti Kimotho decided to do something about it. Two years ago, she set in motion the concept of Royelles, a company that creates dolls and digital avatars for girls. “Royelles offers something disruptively different,” says Kimotho, who was born near the slopes of Mount Kenya, but has lived in Northern Virginia for nearly 20 years. “Rather than tell girls who they are not, Royelles gives girls a differentiated and truly immersive play experience centered around an innovative technology platform and a collection of 13 fierce brown and black avatars that ignite and empower all girls to be authentic, confident and fearless. Royelles reminds girls that they are everyday superheroes, fully equipped to make a unique impact on the world through their talents.”
Kimotho didn’t come up with the idea for the dolls and avatars in a vacuum; she enlisted more than 400 women worldwide for digital focus groups. From there, the dolls began to take shape. “They’re a reflection of the everyday-life experiences represented in the rich global culture our girls are growing up in—they foster inclusion, collaboration and creativity,” she says. The experiences girls will see via Royelles includes taking paths in entrepreneurship, science, technology and the arts. It all comes alive through interactive play online.
Above all, Kimotho sees her creations as timeless. “I’ve desperately wanted to connect the dots back generations to the lineage of fierce females—my grandmothers. Like many others, I’ve asked, ‘Who am I? Who are the women in my lineage going back centuries and millennia? What were their stories? How did I become the person I am with the dreams and desires I have? What gives my daughter her uniqueness and beauty? And what does it all mean for future generations?’”
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