8-year old Zoe Oli is on a mission to inspire self-love and confidence in young girls of color with her company, Beautiful Curly Me. She has created a line of Black dolls with curls and braids, hair care products, and authored two books, all within the past two years. Her company gives 10% back to girl empowerment organizations and is launching a Gift-A-Doll program this holiday season.
When Zoe was 6, she came home from school one day and asked Evana her mother, one question: “Mommy, why is my hair not pretty and straight like my classmates’ hair?”
On a quest to empower her young daughter, Evana encouraged her daughter with words and actions by starting to wear her own natural hair and buying Zoe a Black doll.
This helped greatly, but Zoe was still not satisfied. She asked Mom why her black doll’s hair was wavy and did not have curly hair and braids like hers. Evana quickly found that those dolls did not exist in the stores and informed Zoe, who immediately chimed “I want to make them and start a business!”
And so, Beautiful Curly Me was born.
The Brand and Big Ideas
Starting small, with no toy industry experience, the mother-daughter duo worked diligently to bring the brand to life, despite various challenges. They launched 2 dolls – Anika with braids and Leyla with curls, in line with Zoe’s idea to provide positive representation for young black girls.
Along the way, Zoe realized that at nighttime, her dolls had no protection for their hair the way she did. She knew the importance of a quality satin sleep cap to keep her curls moisturized and breakage free and so she had another big idea.
Zoe’s idea to create Mini & Me Sleep cap (bonnet) sets for girls and their dolls, is an industry first, and empowers young girls to care for their natural curls in a fun way. She picks out all the bold, expressive prints herself, and the sleep caps are proudly made in Atlanta.
Zoe is also the author of 2 children’s books: Beautiful Curly Me and Say It, Show It, a gratitude journal, both released in 2020.
In line with their mission, Beautiful Curly Me prioritizes community service by giving back 10% of proceeds to organizations that educate and empower girls. A few of the organizations they support include The Atlanta Mission, Girls Who Brunch Tour, 3D Girls Inc, and Kits of Hope.
At 8, Zoe is balancing running a business and life as a 4th grader. She loves reading, math, science, and art. She also enjoys playing tennis and traveling with her family.
Despite her age, Zoe has a strong passion for helping others and giving back. Earlier this year, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, her company created and donated over $10,000 worth of cloth face masks to help protect frontline workers in need of PPE.
Zoe has been featured on various media platforms including CBS, Essence, Fox, and Madame Noire for her inspirational story and brand. Beautiful Curly Me was also invited to the Target Headquarters earlier this year to participate in their Black-Owned Business Fair.
In November 2020, her doll Leyla, the “Fro Queen” as she’s affectionately called, was featured in the “Oprah’s Favorite Things” promotional video. This was a big boost to the company and the confidence of its young CEO, who hopes to meet Oprah someday.
At just 8-years old, Zoe’s story is only getting started. She hopes to help girls like her overcome self-esteem challenges, love themselves, dream big and live confidently.
To learn more about Beautiful Curly Me, visit BeautifulCurlyMe.com