We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda Ealla and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amanda, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
There were limited multicultural toys available and when I could not find what I was looking for I was compelled to create my own. I had been working successfully in my field for 10+years at a finance firm in New York so the decision to start at ground zero as an entrepreneur was not an easy one. I thought, why not me and went for it. I had to roll up my sleeves, get creative and figure it out, and to be honest, I’m still figuring it out everyday as I go along. That’s the beauty of the entrepreneur life, you never stop learning. I knew it was important for me to stay authentic to my roots and integrate my passion for culture and early learning into my business. My love for what I do and the impact that our products have had on consumers is what drives me and gets me through the not so easy days that small business owners often face.
What should our readers know about your business?
Ish Dolls is a brand that creates toys and clothing that celebrate the Hindu faith. Our plush dolls are designed to bring together people of all ages and backgrounds and introduce them to the avatars found in the Hindu religion. We aim to bridge culture and play and want to bring diversity to the toy industry. It was important to me that our toys didn’t feel generic or mass produced so I take great pride in all of the details that we put into our products. We want our toys to honor the figures they are based on so we do our best to stay authentic to their rich and wonderful stories. We are committed to bringing diversity and inclusivity to the toy industry and have future plans for our company to do so even further with a more diverse product line. My professional life is closely tied to my immigrant roots in more ways than one. As immigrants we often learn to survive by being the hardest working and brightest in our fields. Many of us gravitate towards fields that we really have no interest in to pursue financial stability. We strive to be at the top academically and professionally and steer away from more creative paths. After graduating college I had a successful corporate career, but my new role fulfills me in a way that my corporate career never did.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am a city girl all the way. New York is one of the most dynamic, vibrant, and culturally diverse cities in the world and there’s always something cool and exciting to do. Recently, I attended the new Immersive Van Gogh experience at pier 36 which gives guests an opportunity to “step inside” and experience the incredible works of Van Gogh like never before. I enjoy things that are innovative and intellectually stimulating so I would spend the day getting lost in the many museums that New York has to offer, my favorite being the Met. In the evening we could catch a show on Broadway (once they reopen) and have some drinks in Midtown.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My story, begins with my parents. As immigrants, they have always done their best to instill a sense of pride for my culture in me. While I could not fully appreciate this as young child, as a parent I realize how important this is. To see your culture represented in a positive way creates a sense of inclusivity. When you know who you are, you know where you are going. ISH Dolls is an ode to them.
Other: Feature in Parents : https://www.parents.com/fun/toys/multicultural-toys-kids-will-love/
Mom inventions changing the toy landscape: https://redtri.com/mom-invented-toys/slide/1
Inclusive toy list: https://redtri.com/diverse-inclusive-toys/slide/1
Itsy Bitsy Memories Photography (photo of baby with Shiva)