Episode 093

Caroline Hlahla

Embracing Natural Beauty

November 17, 2019
business

Episode Overview

“We don’t look at the dolls as a toy. We look at the dolls as a tool. It is an educational tool. It is a tool that black children will use to empower themselves.” – Caroline Hlahla

When her business partner’s two-year old daughter asked for a peg and pillowcase so she could have long, flowy hair and a pointed nose, just like her dolls — they knew that they had to do something! Caroline Hlahla and her business partner Khulile Vilakazi-Ofosu set to work to figure out how they could help young African girls to embrace their natural beauty, and be comfortable in their own skin.

The two had started Bounce Essential Hair one year earlier, focused on selling 100% natural textured hair extensions for black women.

In 2016, Caroline and Khulile launched Sibahle Collection. The brand names comes from the Zulu word which means ‘we are beautiful’. They wanted the dolls to represent the beauty of black children.

The dolls, which are vanilla scented, come in a variety of skin tones and with different textures of hair.

“What we really need to do is to address the problem up front and get our children dolls that look like them — that their features look like them, their hair looks like theirs — so they can really just embrace their natural beauty.” – Caroline Hlahla

But the journey has not been easy. In this episode, Caroline shares some of the challenges they’ve faced along the way, and the reaction they’ve received to the dolls since launching the collection (hint – their dolls have sold out multiple times!)

“What I used to be afraid of when I first started this venture was failure. But I’ve learned through failure, I have grown so much more.” – Caroline Hlahla

what you’ll learn in this episode

  • What made Caroline and Khulile decide to launch the Sibahle doll collection
  • How they went from idea to actually having dolls available
  • What features they wanted the dolls to have, and why this was important
  • Why they decided to make the dolls vanilla scented
  • The reactions they’ve received from little girls, as well as their parents
  • The biggest challenges they faced on their journey
  • Their audacious dream for Sibahle Collection
  • What brings Caroline the greatest joy
  • What Caroline’s greatest fear is
  • What Caroline’s “I am” is



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