KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday January 16, 2017 – What started out as a desire to purchase a black doll for her daughter is fast becoming big business for Jamaican teacher Saffron Jackson who lives in the United Kingdom.
More than six weeks after she launched the Jamaican Patois-talking doll Toya, Jackson told the Jamaica Star that sales have been booming.
“My phone went off literally non-stop,” Jackson said, adding that she had far exceeded her sales target of 400 dolls during the peak Christmas season, and orders were still rolling in.
“Right now, I have an order from Miami for 50 dolls,” she said.
The brown skin, curly haired doll is the first product of the Jackson’s Zuree Line. On the company’s website, Toya is described as “a confident and beautiful young girl who has recently moved to the UK from her little island of Jamaica.”
The doll grabs attention with its unique Jamaican sayings and her invitation to visit the popular tourist destination.
A squeeze of her torso yield questions including “”Wah gwaan? Weh yaa seh? Wha happen? Me name Toya, and me a wah Zuree Doll from the beautiful island of Jamaica. We have the best beaches and sunshine all through di year”.
“People love that it speaks Jamaican,” Jackson told the Star. “I’ve been getting sales from Australia, Estonia, Amsterdam, Germany, and all these places, which shows there is a massive demand for our culture.”
She said the new doll line is “to show little girls that regardless of their skin tone or hair texture, they are indeed beautiful,” as she explained that the name of the line, Zuree, is Swahili and means beautiful.
Buoyed by the strong response, Jackson is also developing a clothing life for the dolls.
The Zuree website also features a talking bear, which will be launched by March, and several other new dolls to come.
At present, Toya is being sold for £50 (US$60) online.
Jackson said she is working to reduce the price to make it more affordable for Jamaicans.