Woman opens shop selling black dolls as a way to cope with grief
Sandra Monero with the dolls she created after being inspired by the women in her life
Sanda Monero started making dolls as a form of therapy, during a time she was struggling. After being inspired by the woman in her life, Sandra made black dolls with different shades and hairstyles. What started as a hobby grew and grew and last year Sandra, from Stoke Newington, decided to open her own store called Monero Kids Boutique in Balls Pond Road. As well as her ‘gratitude dolls’, Sandra, who has also worked in social care, also sells eco-friendly children’s clothing and educational books. Sandra takes inspiration from her St Lucian heritage and upbringing in London and uses Caribbean and African fabrics such as Kente cloth in her work. Currently, she has a range of dolls clothing in production with one for every Caribbean island. Of course, there are thousands of islands, which would take forever to create so Sandra is sticking to approximately 26 dolls.
Her idea started when she lost her parents and her brother – something she still finds difficult to talk about – but she says that having the focus of creating doll clothes has helped to bring her happiness back. She hopes to introduce two male dolls – one to represent her father and one for her older brother. ‘It is very important as [these dolls] represents little girls and boys’ Sandra told Metro.co.uk.
Sandra uses Caribbean and African materials for the dolls (Picture: Sandra Monero) ‘Growing up, I only knew about Barbie and Sindy and of course, I wanted to be like them. ‘But being a black child it was impossible as it did not represent me at all. I am so lucky, now, I am in a position to be able to share and showcase dolls for boys and girls that represent their colour tone.’ Sandra is hoping to make two male dolls to honour her late father and brother.
There are three main dolls in the Monero Doll collection – Honey, Ellie and Harley D. MORE: BARBIE Texas woman creates hyper realistic Down Syndrome baby dolls One of the dolls, Ellie, is named after Sandra’s mum who she describes as a ‘beautiful, graceful woman’. She adds: ‘Honey, is named after a friend of mine called Yinka who has supported and helped me through my challenges. There are three main dolls: Honey, Ellie and Harley D (Picture: Sandra Monero) ‘Harley D is named after the Harley Davidson motorcycle as I have a passion for bikes.
In addition, her character is partly built around myself and the daughter I would have had.’ She recalls one of her favourite memories in at the Boutique when a little white girl called Hannah came in.
‘She came in and bought the darkest doll,’ said Sandra. ‘When asked why she had chosen that one she said: “Mummy, she looks like my best friend Yemi”.’ If you want to visit Sandra’s store, you can find it in Dalston Junction at 26a Balls Pond Road, London N1 4AU.