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London mum creates UK's first inclusive toy brand – The Voice Online

  • November 30, 2021
  • 5 min read
London mum creates UK's first inclusive toy brand – The Voice Online

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A LONDON mum has launched the UK’s first inclusive toy brand after she was unable to find educational toys which represented her new born son. 
Desiree Asomuyide, 28, from Romford, east London, previously worked as a fashion designer and used her expertise to develop children’s products for her brand Little Omo
Ms Asomuyide became pregnant with her first son in 2019, and was unable to find any educational toys or games which featured black children – so she created some herself. 
Speaking to The Voice, she said: “Someone gifted me a set of flashcards at my baby shower and I opened them up and looked through them and I realised all the characters were white and none looked like my son. 
“As a first-time mother, I wanted my son to play with toys that had characters which look just like him and I asked ‘how could I give my son something where there isn’t one black or brown character represented in the product?’”
The mother-of-one says this is when she decided to create her own flashcards and says it was the perfect way to launch her diverse and inclusive toy business.
During the pandemic she designed her flashcards, which feature a variety of skin complexions, hair textures and facial features. 
She also sourced and secured a UK manufacturer, to bring her quality and vibrant toys to life. 
Ms Asomuyide is of Nigerian heritage and told The Voice, it was imperative that her culture was visible within the brand. 
She said: “I’m Nigerian, I’m Yoruba, and I didn’t want my brand to have a regular name.
“Adding my heritage on to the brand was so important, especially as Omo is not an English word, and it sparks the conversation and people ask ‘what does Omo mean?’”
“Omo in Yoruba means child, and the products are based around children and so the name aligns with our brand perfectly,” she added.
The entrepreneur says the support from the community has been “fantastic”, but would like to see black brands embraced on a regular basis and not just during Black History Month or because of the Black Lives Matter Movement. 
She said: “We shouldn’t just be buying black flashcards and black dolls because it is Black History Month, we should be doing that anyway and we should be implementing them now because we want to raise confident and anti-racist children –who will one day become adults and the leaders of the world.” 
Despite being launched during the pandemic, the brand has already scooped many top awards and is receiving interest from distributors around the world. 
Little Omo won a Silver Place award for the Best Toy Design for 0-2 years old, at the Junior Design Awards 2021. 
The organisation has a happy birthday greetings card in over 107 Sainsbury’s stores nationwide and the company made history by becoming the first black owned business to be at a pop up on Oxford Street alongside AMI London. 
Little Omo products are also currently available at Downtown Disney, in the first black owned operating patterning store with Post 21 in California.
“Achievements like this are showing me how much products like mine are needed and how far they can go, I think because there haven’t been products like this before, it is sparking a lot of interest,” she added. 
Ms Asomuyide is also determined to bring her inclusive toy range to as many educational institutions as possible and started with her son’s nursery a few months ago. 
She said: “I went to my son’s nursery about three months ago and I asked them how many toys or books do they have that represent black and brown children or that talk about cultural representation, and my face puzzle was the first diverse toy that they had in that nursery in thirty years.” 
Ms Asomuyide revealed to The Voice, that she plans to launch many new and exciting product lines in the new year and a children’s puzzle that features fruits and vegetables from Africa and the Caribbean is coming in January 2022.
Her son, Isaiah, who is now 22 months, thoroughly enjoys playing with the products and has given all the Little Omo toys and games his stamp of approval 
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The Voice Newspaper is committed to celebrating black excellence, campaigning for positive change and informing the black community on important issues. Your financial contributions are essential to protect the future of the publication as we strive to help raise the profile of the black communities across the UK. Any size donation is welcome and we thank you for your continued support.
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