The inspiration behind Teni and Tayo

TKhan

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Courtesy of Teni and Tayo

Omobola Imoisili was born and raised in Nigeria and was always surrounded by people that looked like her. Now she's raising two young daughters in California where they are a minority. This is partly what led her to her venture, Teni and Tayo.

"After my girls were born it didn’t take long for me to notice the lack of representation in the everyday things for kids, but also the lack of awareness when it came to African culture and history. Most people only think of poverty and war when they think of Africa, but I wanted my daughters to feel proud of their heritage and to know that there is more to Africa than that. That’s when I decided to start something on my own. My hope is that the products I create appeal to children from all ethnic groups, while at the same allowing black and African children to feel more empowered, and proud to be who they are," Imoisili says.

"What makes us different is how we incorporate a pinch of African history/culture into our products, whether it’s a STEM car, book, or a jigsaw puzzle. When you buy a product from us, you will experience a little something that reminds you of Africa. It could be as simple as an African proverb in your toy box or a lesson about African geography in your activity book. Whatever it is, we are excited to share a piece of Africa with you. We also offer a unique STEM workshop for kids that no one else is doing. We started with building and racing solar powered cars, and now we are adding sound operated cars and army battle tanks," Imoisili further explains.

Imoisili inspiration was her daughters. She sees them asking questions about their looks and identity in ways the kids never did when she was growing up in Nigeria, so Imoisili wanted to do something to help reassure them that they are beautiful just the way they are.

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I write about culture, politics, parenting, religion, and health. My work has been published in The New York Times, National Geographic, Vanity Fair, Vox and Prism Reports among others.

Illinois State
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