Oct 21, 2022
Ellen please introduce yourself to our readers and give us a short insight into who you are and your journey thus far.
My name is Ellen Brudet, I’m 55 years old, I’m a mother and a grandmother. I was born out of an interracial marriage, as my father is Surinamese and my mother is Dutch.
My company Colourful Goodies has actually started with my parents who met each other 65 years ago. They had a pretty difficult time when they started dating since they often had to deal with racism.
Growing up, I always heard my mom talk about not being able to find a doll that I could identify with. When I became a mother myself, I understood what she meant. For example, I couldn’t even find a birth announcement card with a baby of color on it, not to mention a doll. That’s when I started thinking of ways to bring color and more representation to society.
We’re currently in the Van der Pek district in the north of Amsterdam inside a small toy store called Colourful Goodies. How was Colourful Goodies born?
In 2006, I started studying business and designing birth, wedding, and congratulations cards for people of color - that’s how the idea for Colourful Goodies was born. Quickly I figured out that my company was actually for everyone because anyone could finally send a birth card to parents of a baby of color. Within a few months, this concept developed into design of baby items and clothing with Surinamese quotes. After a long search for the right company to work with, I finally found a place selling dark skin dolls. When I got my shop, I immediately launched my very first dolls with Afro hair, which was definitely a milestone for me.
What is Amsterdam to you?
Amsterdam is who I am. Me with my distinct Amsterdam accent :) The social diversity of the city, the beautiful cultures that come together - that’s Amsterdam... that’s me!
What role does Colourful Goodies play in the future of the toy industry and for young boys and girls growing up in this world?
The role Colorful Goodies plays in the toy industry is extremely important. It brings awareness to those who are still blind, helps people become aware of the fact that society is full of diverse cultures. A platform should be given to people of color, but also to people with a disability or a skin condition. We want to show that everyone is beautiful in their own way and we do this through our dolls. Every child should be able to identify with a superhero. Children of color should see themselves reflected on TV, in toys, in books, even in clothing. They are also allowed to dream of becoming anyone they want. Luckily, I see more and more efforts to normalize these ideas but we still have a long way to go.
We’ve recently seen the positive impact Black Panther and The Little Mermaid have on our black youth globally. How important is representation in movies, TV shows to even in your field of toys, specifically for children?
As I mentioned earlier, representation is MORE than important. Growing up with role models of color gives children an opportunity to aspire to become whoever they want.
What's the best advice you've ever gotten?
Best advice I have ever gotten is to always keep believing in your dreams and your own abilities, which is the advice my parents gave me. Even though there were many people who didn't believe in my dreams, I kept believing in myself. I came up with a quote and put it on a shirt. I live by this quote until to this day:
WHEN I FALL, I RISE
BUT WHEN I STAND THEN I STAND OUT!!
I RISE !