After noticing the party supply aisle lacked characters of color, a mom in Florida decided to make sure her kids’ birthdays could feature characters that looked more like them.
Lynnette Abbott, the event planner behind Craft My Occasion in Miami, has started a Kickstarter campaign so she can create party supplies that celebrate children of color. Her daughter, 5-year-old Anyah, sparked the idea while Abbott planned her birthday last year. The event planner noticed there were few characters on party supplies that resembled her daughter and her son, 9-year-old Adonis. She then set out to create more diverse party supplies.
Abbott’s first design is a mermaid of color with full lips, brown eyes and “curly, kinky hair.” She told HuffPost that the hair was of special importance.
“Hair is always a topic when you’re talking about people of color,” she said. “Most mermaids have long, flowing hair which is beautiful, but I wanted her to have hair that basically looked like my daughter’s hair.”
Abbott has her ideas illustrated by graphic designer Ana Rako and her party supplies, which include cups, plates, balloons and backdrops, created by three manufacturing companies. For now, she has sample supplies featuring the mermaid, but she also has a pirate character for boys of color designed as well as superheroes for both boys and girls of color.
The mom of two hopes to raise $20,000 on Kickstarter to create the first run of the mermaid party supplies. People who donate have the option to receive bundles of them once they are manufactured.
Abbott would like to incorporate more skin tones into her collection to represent a variety of kids of color. Since sharing her Kickstarter campaign on the Craft My Occasion Facebook page, parents have stressed to her the importance of this project. She also had three moms from Germany contact her to see if they could get their hands on them.
“A lot of moms are very excited about it,” Abbott told HuffPost. “Everyone is basically saying it’s about time, this is exactly what we need.”
Abbott told HuffPost that what her daughter says every time she sees the mermaid proves her project is much needed: “She looks like me.”