Columbus Black Doll & Gift Show Update

January 27, 2011

The Columbus Black Doll & Gift Show premiered showcasing a variety of handcrafted, collectible and artist sculptured dolls, on November 27, 2010 at the Aladdin Shrine Center in Columbus, Ohio.

The show provided doll crafters the opportunity to display and sell dolls, doll-related merchandise and unique gift items to a target market of doll enthusiasts, avid doll collectors, first-time collectors and holiday shoppers. This show featured the “Celebration of Black Dolls” display, which consisted of a wide variety of dolls from the founder’s private collection, “Best of Show” winner and doll and gift raffles.

“Our mission is to express cultural pride and beauty through black dolls,” says founder Natasha Gates. “Black doll collecting continues to grow, as mothers seek to purchase dolls for their children that promote positive self-image, self-esteem and cultural acceptance,” said Gates. Attendance was great and many patrons stated this was a fantastic show and their first time seeing so many beautiful black dolls in one place. Several talented doll crafters exhibited, including renowned wood doll artist Kor January, cloth doll crafters Julia Marshall and Patricia Watson and others who displayed unique dolls and merchandise. The “Best of Show” Winner was Virena Riley who is the designer and owner of Angel House.

Columbus Black Doll & Gift Show Commercial

November 14, 2010

The Columbus Black Doll & Gift Show commerical will air on WOW Cable Channels with a high concentration of women viewership from November 15th – November 27th, 2010 on A&E Network, Bravo, E, Food Network, Hallmark, HGTV, TLC, TBS, USA Network and The Weather Channel. (Please share with your relatives and friends to help spread the word about the show).

Why Black Girls Still Prefer White Dolls

August 30, 2010

I came across an article written by Yuquing Feng (Diversity, Inc.), in which she wrote about psychologist Kenneth Clark’s 1954 social experiment doll test.  Remarkably, Clark’s test showed children a black doll and a white doll and asked black children which doll they preferred.  The majority chose the white doll. 

Feng then went on to write about a 17-year-old filmmaker, Kiri Davis who in 2005 redid the same test as Clark and the results determined that not much has changed.   Davis selected 21 black kids and found 16 of them liked the white doll better.  Davis asked one of the black girls in her film “Can you show me the doll that you like best?  The girl picked the white doll immediately.  When asked to show the doll that “looks bad,” the girl chose the black doll.  But when Davis asked the girl, “Can you give me the doll that looks like you?”, the black girl first touched the white doll and then reluctantly pushed the black doll ahead. (Why Black Girls Still Prefer White Dolls by Yuquing Feng, 2007) and (A Girl Like Me Film by Kiri Davis, 2005). 

 I remember when I saw Davis’ film and how upset I was to see that black children still prefered white dolls, even though now more than ever there are more black dolls available.   This study proves that there is still stereotypical portrayals of black images.   When I was growing up in the 70’s, this was a time when mass-produced black dolls were fast emerging into the marketplace.  My mother made sure that I had black dolls to play with, so for me I had a variety of black baby dolls as well as black and white  Barbie dolls and my preference was always for black dolls.  Because I was exposed to dolls that looked like me, I guess I was able to see my own beauty and cultural pride through them.  So when I had my daughter it was important for me to give her black and multi-cultural dolls.  I did not want to confuse her by giving her only white dolls to play with, because when I told her that she was a beautiful brown baby, I wanted her to trust and believe what I was trying to teach her about self-love, self-acceptance and self-confidence, by presenting her with dolls that reflected her image.   

I have friends who only purchase white dolls for their daughters.  Of course this is their prerogative, but when you have a black child, isn’t this causing a bit of confusion in their mind as to what their self-image reflects?  I often wonder when they refuse to purchase black dolls for their child are they actually passing down their own struggles with their self-image and cultural acceptance? In my opinion exposing your child only to white dolls can cause long terms effects, because they may look at themselves and think in order to be beautiful they need long blonde hair, blue eyes or lighter skin. 
I’ve been in the doll business for many years and I’ve encountered children who see my black dolls for the first time and their eyes get big with excitement and they say things like these dolls are beautiful or that a certain doll looks like them or someone they know.   My only hope is that this will no longer be a problem for our children because black is still beautiful and we have to embrace and celebrate it.  


Baby Holding Dolls

Columbus Black Doll & Gift Show

August 25, 2010

I have been busy making plans for the upcoming Columbus Black Doll & Gift Show.  This event will premier showcasing a variety of handcrafted, collectible, modern and artist sculptured dolls, as well as unique gift items, on Saturday, November 27, 2010 at the Aladdin Shrine Center, 3850 Stelzer Rd., Columbus, Ohio 43219 from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

I created this show to establish a marketplace for doll crafters, doll artists and business owners who specialize in gift items.  There is a need for more diversity in the retail market and people don’t usually get an opportunity to see the various types of ethnic dolls and the different forms of media used to create.  Doll enthusiast, avid doll collectors, first-time collectors and holiday shoppers with have a vast array of dolls to choose from. Dolls made in cloth, porcelain, vinyl and wood and in all shades of color, shapes and sizes will definitely delight everyone and the ultimate goal is of course for them to purchase a beautiful doll and take home to cherish forever or give as a gift.  Visit website for more information:  We look forward to seeing everyone who loves and appreciate black dolls and ethnic inspired gifts at this show.

Customers’ Stop by Studio

July 19, 2010

I’m so glad that I received a call from Pat, who said that her sister was in town visiting and they wanted to stop over to see my dolls.  She said that her sister Linda purchased some items from me at an event in Cincinnati at the beginning of the year and they had a chance to look at my website.  She said she wasn’t sure if I had a store – I told her that I don’t, but I have a studio in my home and they were welcome to come.  Although my studio functions solely as a place for me to create and design, I always have my dolls and gift items displayed exactly as I would when I am displaying at events – so of course I had no problems welcoming them to come and see everything.  Pat also mentioned that she is a quilter and her sister Linda is a dollcrafter, so with that it was nice to know that the ladies and I had something in common.

When they arrived Pat brought along a beautiful quilt that she is currently working on, as well as a landscape design quilt square.  It is always amazing to see how creative women are with their hands.  Being an avid crafter and sewer, there is always something new to learn when you see other people’s designs.  It is important that we encourage and support each other’s God-give talents.  The unique aspect of Pat’s quilt is the fact that she teaches children at her church the art of quilt making and the squares that she used for the quilt where individual hand painted squares that the children made.  The end result I’m sure will be a unique and beautiful quilt with a memorable and long-lasting story to tell about the little hand’s that contributed to its construction. 

Well after spending some time talking and sharing information, Linda was able to find a cloth doll to purchase to add to her collection. 

Linda (from Middletown, Ohio) and Pat (from Columbus, OH)


Linda and Pat at Natasha's Doll Boutique's Home Studio


Doll that Linda Purchased (Cloth Doll Holding Baby Doll)

Juneteenth Festival

July 14, 2010

What a great show we had at the June 11, 2010 Juneteenth Festival in Lorain County, Oberlin, Ohio.  As we were driving to the event, we saw Amish people in their horse driven buggies and a lot of farm land. (I thought to myself what have I gotten myself into, did I make a mistake choosing to participate in this event?).  Ironically when we finally made it to downtown Oberlin I was pleasantly surprised to see the diversity of  people in the community.  The turnout was really good and even though there was a 80% chance of rain predicted, it ended up being a sunny and beautiful day. 

Oberlin is located smack dab in the middle of North Central Ohio along the shores of Lake Erie and it is halfway between Cedar Point and downtown Cleveland.

As we met with the people who stopped at my booth, it was becoming clear to me that this little town was rich in history and it was awesome to hear the African Americans talk about being decendents of runaway slaves who found freedom and safety in the town. 

Oberlin was home to runaway slaves who had chosen to remain in the United States instead of continueing on their journey to Canada.  Their first hand knowledge of slavery and ability to inspire the community to action proved indispensable to the movement.  Throughout the antebellum period Oberlain became the final stop on the underground railroad. 

This is great history and just think it is right in our back yard. This is by far one of the best Juneteenth experiences I’ve ever had. Typcially all other Juneteenth events that I have attended in Columbus, Dayton or Cincinnati have been commercialized with vendors, talents shows and food. In contrast, the community continues to support and share the vital history of the Anti-Slavery Movement and the reason why we commemorate the date of June 19, 1865  as the official date of the end of slavery which was announced in the State of Texas.

From the balcony of a downtown villa, General Granger read the following proclamation:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.  This involved an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connections heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.  The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages.

Customers shopping at my booth.

Taking a few minutes to volunteer at the face painting booth that was next to my booth.

Marissa also volunteered and did an excellent job with the arm painting designs - she's a great artist and the kids loved her.

Social Media and Business

March 4, 2010

Hello everyone, today I added Natasha’s Doll Boutique’s Facebook link to the online store, because I am trying my best to keep up with technology and this wonderful thing described as “Social Media”.  I am getting some feedback from people, which is very positive.  I must say I am learning so much about the various social media tools and enjoying every step of doing what it takes to grow my business.  Be blessed!    Natasha

Natasha’s Doll Boutique Announcement

February 25, 2010

I finally completed the postcards to send to my customers to announce the opening of the online store. 

(Front and Back View of Post Card)

This postcard is very special to me, because the front background shows a quilted wall hangings with attached dolls and cloth rag dolls.  Natasha’s Doll Boutique has a line of quilted wall hangings with matching pillows, designed with multi-cultural dolls.  Postcards will be mailed to customers tommorow and I am looking forward to getting the word out to potential customers that they can now enjoy shopping with us online.  Natasha

Welcome to Natasha’s Doll Boutique’s Blog

February 14, 2010

This is our display at the Cincinnati Museum Center in January and February 2010.

I am so excited to start this new blog for my business.  As most of you already know I am the owner of Natasha’s Doll Boutique, which specializes in multi-cultural dolls and unique gift items.  Most of the dolls are handmade by me and I have great suppliers for our modern dolls and gift items.  I will use this blog to keep everyone posted on what is going on with my business and to let you know what City or State we are heading to next.  Please join me and my daughter Marissa, who is my business partner as we embark on this journey to succeeding in the wonderful world of entrepreneurship.  Natasha Gates

Vinyl dolls on top shelf inside plastic display cases and porcelain dolls on second shelf.  Great items for first time or avid doll collectors.

Natasha’s Raggedys – Best Sellers!  Special orders are also available.