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I loved this chat with Temi of Amaris & Chaya Diverse Dolls. We talked about the importance of bringing diversity to children’s toy boxes – including diverse races, skin tones, heights, abilities, and more. Seeing ourselves reflected in the stories around us is vital at every age, because it helps us feel more seen, which helps to build a sense of belonging.

We talked about how vital building a solid foundation of identity in childhood is, so that when we experiment with our looks and our style later on it comes from a place of fun rather than a place of fear. It’s too easy to end up changing your identity to fit in if you aren’t yet solid on who you are.

As always, we also chatted about business and ourselves a bit. Temi currently knows 5 languages! She also shared her top 3 tips for outsourcing production, in case you want to make the shift to being a designer rather than a maker-designer. The importance of market testing and market research cropped up a few times in our conversation, too.

We chatted over delicious Shirley Temples, which was the first time either of us had made one. Since we recorded this in April, the drink become a firm favourite in Temi’s household! 

Shirley Temple


4 parts Sprite and/or ginger ale

1 part grenadine

Pour into a highball glass and mix. Garnish with maraschino cherries.

Highlights in this episode include:

  • The vital importance of celebrating diversity of many sorts to lay firm foundations for your children’s development.
  • How learning from past failures means you don’t ever really fail. Take sensible precautions in the planning, but don’t be afraid of failure.
  • Things to consider when choosing sales platforms for your business.
  • The importance to Temi of trying to understand others – through her language studies, market research, and throughout life.
Plush Ama doll from Amaris & Chaya Diverse Dolls
Temi of Amaris & Chaya Diverse Dolls at a market stand with her dolls

Connect with Temi:

This is episode 9 of my Cocktails & Chat series, a community-building project for makers and artisans to share the highs and lows of business and making and make it a bit less lonely. 

  • 1:28 – Introducing Amaris & ChayaAmaris doll of Amaris & Chaya Diverse Dolls
  • 3:24 – The genesis of Amaris & Chaya
  • 8:26 – The importance of celebrating that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes
  • 11:38 – Why it’s important to bring racial diversity into children’s toy boxes
  • 16:12 – Temi’s vision for Amaris & Chaya
  • 18:47 – Temi’s history of entrepreneurship
  • 20:06 – What do you wish you knew before you started your business?
  • 21:59 – A discussion about wholesale and research
  • 25:10 – The importance of surrounding yourself as an entrepreneur with a strong supportive networking
  • 27:28 – Temi’s top 3 tips for outsourcing production
  • 30:43 – New clothes and dolls in the works – and the value of listening to your customersRJ boy doll by Amaris & Chaya Diverse Dolls
  • 32:20 – What popular products have surprised Temi
  • 36:28 – Choosing sales platforms for your business
  • 41:08 – What Temi loves to read to unwind
  • 42:10 – Temi, the up and coming polyglot!
  • 48:45 – The importance of family to Temi
  • 49:45 – How do you know when a piece is finished?
  • 51:04 – Future plans for Amaris & Chaya