HomeAsian AmericansAsian American doll now on sale at Macy's

Asian American doll now on sale at Macy’s

Macy’s has announced the sale of the Asian American doll, the Jilly Doll.

The true-to-life doll, developed by Asian American mom Eleanor Mak, is now available at select Toys “R” Us locations and online at Macys.com.

Mak founded her company “Jilly Bing” out of frustrations over the lack of representation on the shelves.

While shopping for her daughter’s first doll she could not help but notice a deficiency of accurately depicted Asian American dolls.

“There were rows and rows of Caucasian dolls,” Mak told CBS News. “And then, on the very side, there were these ethnic characters that looked ambiguously Asian, Latina. You just weren’t sure.”

The ‘ethnic’ dolls that were available did correctly represent Asian Americans. Many of them seemed to be the preexisting brunette dolls, but with round eyes and eyeliner to look like ‘Asian eyes.’

These frustrations grew and eventually led Mak to start a company, named after her 8-year-old daughter. Jilly Bing, based in San Francisco, works to provide young children with realistic toys for them to play with during their formative years.

“Dolls are not just a toy that’s in passing,” Mak said. “It’s the child’s first imaginary friend. It’s the child trying to make sense of the world.”

RELATED: San Francisco mom sets out to design Asian doll

The founder and CEO of Jilly Bing, Mak designs the first of many Asian American dolls in the US. They are manufactured in China and currently retail for $68, Forbes reports.

The toy industry has been lacking in the Asian American toy department for decades. But, the Jilly Bing doll has opened up a conversation to diversify the shelves.

“The popularity of the Barbie movie has renewed discussion about dolls in general and the role that playing with dolls has on children in their formative years,” Mak said.

According to Pew Research, 17.8 million Asian adults live in the United States, many of whom have children. These children benefit from seeing toys that look like them on shelves, something that has long been overlooked.

Mak expressed, “As parents, we try to instill in our children self-confidence and acceptance of their appearance, family tradition, and heritage.”

Macy’s is the first company to debut the doll. The company has been working on implementing more diversity, equity, and inclusion and has been through its ‘Mission Every One’ program.

“The program is an essential part of how we operate and make decision as a business,” Tony Spring the chairman and CEO of Macy’s said. ” We believe that when our business enables everyone to stand in their truth and have a deal at the table, they realize their full potential, which unlocks innovation and progress for all.”

Macy’s currently sells 5,000 Asian American and Pacific Islander-supplied products, but Jilly is the first doll ever.

“Children examine the world around them and use these cues to evaluate where they fit in our society,” Jilly Doll said in a statement. “We are grateful and excited to partner with the most renowned toy store to elevate this message of acceptance and offer the Jilly Dolly to their customers nationwide.”

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