DESIGNING PEOPLE FIGURES
In alignment with our mission, our approach to making wooden toy people is offering exclusively BIPOC figures. We do not make custom figures in order to avoid extra high pricing and the extra effort that customers must go through to have relatable toys. Instead, we work with BIPOC collaborators to create figures that are available to everyone as stock items in public product releases.
Collaborators are always BIPOC who are passionate about representation and have strong ideas about what features they would like to see in a figure. Collaborators are always compensated for their work, either paid or through trade, however they choose.
Collaboration can start at the very beginning with designing the shape, colors and details. Other times we design the shape of the figure, then work with someone on the colors and details. Collaborators often model their figure on themselves, a child or a family member and sometimes choose features to counter stereotypes they have experienced.
"I thought it would be fun and creative and it was but it also gave me a peek into the Little Hedgehog mission. But it was also so much fun too! I was surprised with the amount of creative freedom I was allowed working on this piece. We have a lot of toys and books surrounding our culture but this will be our first toy that really looks like [my grandma] and all of my ancestors. The feeling this inspired for me as an adult just proves how important and special representation is in toys and media for our children."
"My daughter and son both have warm skin tones that are unique even from each other, varying shades of brown. I wanted my children and their friends to be able to see themselves in our collection of toys and learn to embrace people of all walks of life."
"Growing up, so many BIPOC never saw people that looked like them being admired and elevated in our society, let alone in the toys we played with. This sends so many messages to our kids that they internalize, unless we counter that message and show that they belong; that all of our differences are amazing. The only toy I ever remember having that looked like me was a doll that my Mom sewed herself."
"The process really is as dreamy and open ended as you'd like it to be! I think people should know that they’re coming up with all of the details just not the execution- hair style and patterns, tones, clothing, positioning. I found it helpful to create a story for this little figure based on my own little person and go from there."