Dumy√© dolls are dolls with a purpose. Company founder Sahar Wahbeh started her business after searching for that all-important first doll for her young daughter. After not finding anything that was "just right"‚ÄĒthat reflected her daughter's personality or her own values‚ÄĒWahbeh resorted to making a doll herself. The process got her thinking about how she could build a business that was just right for her: one that reflected her values and, most importantly, would show her daughter that her Mom could "walk the walk" and¬†live a life of purpose, a value that Wahbeh wanted to pass on. Read on for details of the amazing enterprise she has created.
Dumy√© dolls tick all the boxes for us at Inhabitots: they are handcrafted¬†and¬†made from fair trade organic cotton and sustainable corn fiber stuffing, they use post-consumer plastic waste, they’re customizable at point of purchase, and they are the brainchild of an entrepreneurial mom inspired by her own child. What makes them so very special though, is that for every doll purchased, Dumy√© gives a¬†second¬†doll to an orphaned child through creative workshops organized with orphanages.
Wahbeh is US born, but now based in the United Arab Emirates. Through Dumy√© (the name, incidentally, is derived from the Arabic word for doll), she¬†runs creative workshops with children orphaned by the conflicts in the Middle East. Her account of a workshop with orphaned Syrian children is heart-rending. In the workshops, children are given a doll very similar in style to those available through the Dumy√© online store. However, they are blank and the children are encouraged to customize them to reflect themselves. Amazingly, many young children create superhero-like dolls because they want to help others. For Wahbeh’s next move, she aims to expand the workshops to Africa, as well as India, where the blank dolls for the workshops are sewn.
This inspiring social enterprise¬†can be supported by¬†simply purchasing a doll. Limited edition dolls are available for $168. These are 21 inches (51 cms) high and customizable for skin tone, hair color and style, and eye color. Smaller dolls (14 inches/35 cms high) come in¬†several combinations of skin tones and hair colors and retail for $98. Accessories are also available for purchase separately. True to the ethos of “purpose,” each doll comes with a Purpose Pocket‚ÄĒa small pocket with a slip of fabric on which the gifter or the recipient can write a meaningful message or affirmation. What would yours be?
Photos by Dumy√©