Hi, my name is Jennifer and I am a graduate student at Babson College. Late last summer, I was a mentor and volunteer at my local community center. After months of working with the kids in the program, I started to notice that many of the boys were not expressing their full potential and dreamed within a bubble. The messaging they received on a daily basis from various factors like TV and media did not provide positive affirmation about their future.
I founded Melanites to celebrate Brown Boyhood and encourage positive self-expression with creative and educational role play. Our goal is for young children of color to feel EMPOWERD and VALUED in our society.
Melanites is also addressing the issue of HYPER-MASCULINITY and the gender policing of children. We are all very familiar with the problematic "pink aisle": a sea of gender stereotyping for young girls who are simply looking for adventure and fun. However, peeking around the corner is a similar pigeon hole. The "BLUE AISLE" is where shelves are littered with toy guns, fighting stances, and aggressive role play. Its time for our boys to have a new option!
Melanites is introducing the first line of BOY DOLLS OF COLOR. Our "Action Pals" combine the emotional appeal of a doll and the articulation of an action figure. Meet Jaylen, our first 3D printed prototype.
Representation is the cornerstone of our foundation so I designed our toys with diverse skin tones, facial features, and hairs types reflective of our society.
The first four Melanites boys are JAYLEN, AIDEN, SID, and MARQUIS!
Our philosophy of AND is reflected in their multi-faceted interests. Instead of crafting the characters to be within specific professions, I created four building blocks. They are meant to highlight the Thinker, Doer, Maker and Performer in every child. Who knows who the next entrepreneur, engineer, or artist will be!
Toys are more than just toys and Melanites hopes to bring social awareness to boys of color. Through the introduction of our line of dolls and future accessory kits, young boys will be able to build their own personas and gain a wider understanding of their true capabilities that will compel them to dream big!
Now we need your help!
In order to make Melanites a reality, we have to meet our manufacturers MOQ of 1,000 units.
This is where YOU come in. Every pledge will go towards the production cost of making one of the first boy dolls of color!
Our prototype was 3D printed in the Design Zone at Babson College. The final Action Pal being shipped through the Kickstarter campaign will not be 3D printed, but produced by a vetted manufacturer.
As we grow, we plan to include different accessory kits and storybooks that represent the possibilities for every child’s future.
It takes a village! Melanites has flourished because of our dedicated team members, mentors, and partners.
My team and I are graduate students at Babson College and over the past 8 months, we have worked really hard to understand how boys play. We have interviewed over 100 parents, educators, kids, and toy industry experts.
Through participation with the Babson Accelerator Program, Summer Venture Program, WIN Lab, and She Starts, Melanites has had access to resources to guide the business forward.
We are more than just a toy company. By backing this project, you’re helping create a world in which young boys can not only see their identity around them, but watch it being CELERBRATED.
Melanites means Melanin filled, it’s a reminder that the diversity of our society is a name and a face.
We want to hear from you! Tell us what you think by emailing us at