My Kinda Thing diversifies toy boxes with inclusive crochet dolls

CARLSTADT, New Jersey – Aniqua Wilkerson is an artist and designer who diversifies toy boxes with her unique, handmade crochet dolls.

Inspired to address the lack of diversity in dolls, Wilkerson started My Kinda Thing, a business to empower children of color by helping them feel seen and represented.

“I was an early childhood educator, and that’s where I saw how important pretend play is to early childhood experience and development. From there, it’s became a mission for me to find yarns that would realistically represent kids of color, especially black girls,” Wilkerson said.

After eight years of making dolls by hand and selling them internationally, Wilkerson has teamed up with the Lion Brand Yarn Company to launch “Skein Tones”, a new brand of yarn that comes in 12 shades of different brown.

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“Aniqua knows, personally and professionally, the deep need for an inclusive product like Skein Tones to exist in the crafting space. There really hasn’t been a diverse line of yarns that reflects a wide range of nudes. We are so honored that Aniqua could bring her unique artistry and perspective to this partnership,” said Shira Blumenthal, Brand Ambassador for Lion Brand Yarn Company.

From nurse dolls to whimsical figurines, Wilkerson has created dolls for children all over the United States and countries like Australia and the United Kingdom.

Wilkerson hopes that through his designs, children of all races can see themselves represented in their toys. She hopes toy companies will consider the importance of showcasing diversity and inclusion in toys.

“My goal is to make sure we like who we are. Differences are stupid, and I think people should understand that we’re different, meant to be different, and that’s fine,” Wilkerson said.

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