This article was originally published on HuffingtonPost
When I released Lammily crowdfunding on March 5, I could not have predicted such an overwhelming response. Now, with another eight days to go, more than 13,000 backers have preordered over 17,000 dolls. First and foremost, I want to say thank you to everyone who has made the Lammily campaign a success.
Excited as I am about this initial success, I also share the concerns that have been expressed by many Lammily supporters and critics. The ultimate question many ask is what’s next, what will happen after the first-edition Lammily dolls are manufactured and shipped out?
Lammily’s instant popularity was largely driven by a concern for body image. I believe this issue is of great magnitude. I myself have lived through my share of insecurities. Back in high school, I starved myself and exercised to exhaustion to have a set of six-pack abs. After achieving my desired BMI, I looked and felt terrible. This experience taught me to keep things in perspective. Every one of our bodies is different, so we should not be aspiring to some idealized standard.
I’ve grown up alongside of my younger cousin. Now she is a 19-year-old competitive collegiate athlete and top student, a beautiful young woman and an inspirational person. All muscles, she used to call herself “fat.” She could only look “fat” if compared to exceptionally thin beauty standards.
When I look at current fashion dolls, I’m reminded of my experience in high school and that of my cousin. I’m reminded that there are some things that are just a mirage and not worth emulating. Moreover, I’m reminded that there is beauty in embracing all the aspects of who you are, and in staying true to you.
My Vision for Lammily
The foundation of Lammily is built on being true to yourself in a world that pressures you to conform to standards. I believe an entire world, with interactive resources, accessories, and clothes can be built to allow kids to find their own path.
When you look at the current fashion doll market, you see it dominated by divas, princesses, and mermaids. You also see a lot of different careers, which these dolls promote, and I applaud them for that. However, what about the real steps you must take to achieve your dreams? I believe that one of the hardest things in life is to find your own path, something that is your calling. But, to find this calling, you cannot just pretend, you have to actively engage in reality.
I want Lammily’s accessories to be reflective of real life in miniature form. I envision her reading books that inform and playing instruments that educate on the sounds and intricacies of music. I see her constructing her own home, cultivating her own garden while learning about the wonders of plants and vegetables and eating these nourishing and healthy foods. All of these aspects are authentic, and can be complimented with an online world where children can explore these realities in depth.
Lammily’s wardrobe will be realistic as well. I can see her wearing outfits similar to what you buy. Lammily’s clothing line will incorporate a range of fashions so that there is something for everyone. And, if any clothing company would like to cooperate, I’m all ears!
Lammily Is About Being True to You and Not Setting Any Standards
In the future, I see the Lammily line including dolls of different ethnicities and different healthy body shapes. I also see some special edition dolls based on inspirational role models: sports stars, actors, leaders. And, yes, of course I want the Lammily line to include male dolls.
Some interpreted the crowdfunding campaign slogan “Average is Beautiful” as a message of aspiring to mediocrity or creating a new societal standard. However, I see “average” as inclusive of all of us, not a standard which excludes. I want to show that reality is beautiful, that life is beautiful, and there should be a line of dolls, which reflects this fact.
Some criticism I have received is that Lammily is a weird name. However, Lammily is for the brand, not the name of any specific doll. It is derived from my last name and family, since my entire family helped me with the project. It purposely doesn’t sound like a common girl’s name. I encourage everyone who preordered Lammily to give their doll her own unique name as there will soon be an option to fill in and print out a passport for each Lammily doll at http://www.lammily.com.
Lammily represents the idea of being true to yourself in a world that too often convinces us to pursue an unattainable fantasy. Join me in promoting the beauty of reality.
Thank you to Smithsonian, USA Today, NBC, Upworthy, Time, Christian Science Monitor, The Atlantic, Business Insider, Yahoo Shine, Cosmo, HuffingtonPost, Fast Company, SparkLife, PolicyMic, Glamour, Take Part, Examiner, Mother Nature Network, Elle, Fitness , and many more, for reporting on the Lammily crowdfunding from the very beginning.