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Ozi Okaro

Founder | Ikuzi Dolls

Ozi Okaro headshot
Ozi Okaro, the Creator of Ikuzi Dolls, is a wife and mother of four as well as a fashion designer and children’s book author. Okaro created Ikuzi Dolls, a line of dolls of color that celebrates diverse black beauty and teaches young girls to love who they are.

Prior to the launch of Ikuzi Dolls, Okaro was a stay-at-home mom for 5 years with a desire to create toys and educational materials for her children, to help empower them and nurture a sense of pride in their culture and heritage. Between her kids’ play dates, homework and after-school activities, Okaro got to work. She authored and illustrated three children’s books, African educational flash cards, a kids clothing line called Z By Ozi and her Ikuzi doll line, all of which have a focus on her African heritage. To tie these all together, she founded African Girl Brands in 2014.

Okaro has a Computer Science & Statistics degree from the University of Toronto, Canada and an MBA in Marketing Management from Columbia Business School in New York City. Okaro started off her career as a Computer Programmer and Systems Analyst working mainly in the financial services industry.

Despite her techie start, Okaro has always been passionate about fashion, style and trends, which led her to pursue an advanced degree that would give her a smooth transition into a role in fashion and retail. This move worked out well because in the summer of her first year at Business School, she worked as an Advertising intern at Giorgio Armani. After Business School, she worked in ecommerce, marketing and merchandising roles at Victoria’s Secret, Avon and Toys R Us. With four kids including a set of twins, Okaro made the hard decision to quit the workforce and focus on raising her kids.

After 5 years off, Okaro rejoined the workforce but on her own terms. With the flexibility of being her own boss, she can now keep her family as her top priority but focus on what she is passionate about and enjoys. With successes such as having her products appear in Oprah and Essence magazines, this has been the right choice for her. Okaro is dedicated to providing products that help empower black children. Her products such as her Ikuzi Doll line does just that, in providing dolls that black girls can relate to and identify with. Encouraging positive role-play in the early years, which helps build self-esteem and self-love in young children, her mission is to continue to inspire and empower young children.