New York: Hicksville mom Amanda Ealla’s creation of colorful dolls of Hindu deities have caught the fancy of children all over.
Ealla, 34 left her corporate finance job during the pandemic to focus on her two young sons. While home, she wanted to create dolls that her sons could relate to that would bring the culture alive for them.
“I guess you could say Ish Dolls was my pandemic pivot,” Ealla told Newsday. “While the world as I knew it was changing so rapidly for my family and I, the pandemic pushed me into launching my own successful venture that was near and dear to my heart.”
Ealla is from the island of Trinidad and Tobago, which has a large Hindu population. “A lot of people came over as indentured servants. We brought over our culture from India to Trinidad.” Ealla says she would have loved to have dolls she could identify with when she was growing up in Brooklyn.
So, during 2020, she first sewed prototypes herself, and then found a manufacturer in India to produce them for her. “I knew nothing about the toy world,” she says; her research was mostly online and trial and error. Her sons, Jake, 8, and Jax, 2, were her first product testers. “It was a big hit with them. I knew it could do well with other families wanting to get their kids interested in religion and culture.”
At first, she ordered just 50 Baby Krishna dolls and sold each 10-inch doll for $30 at ishdolls.com. “It did so well. We immediately sold out,” Ealla says. “Even people who weren’t of the Hindu background, a lot of my friends thought it would be a great way to introduce diversity into their playrooms.”
Ealla has since expanded to eight different dolls, most of which sell for $32. Baby Krishna has been joined by Baby Shiva, Baby Lakshmi, Rama and Sita (sold together in a $75 collector’s box), Durga and Saraswati. “I try to choose figures that can teach kids lessons,” Ealla says. For instance, being calm is Shiva’s superpower and Saraswati embodies knowledge and music, she says.
Ish Dolls — Ish is derived from the Sanskrit word “ishta-devata,” which means cherished deity — has sold 7,000 dolls so far, and Ealla is planning to add at least six more Hindu dolls and even expand to dolls from other cultures, she says. (Source: Newsday.com)