Afro Unicorn® represents the beauty and “uniqueness of vanilla, caramel, and mocha complexions” while providing women and children with the confidence they need to embrace who they are—“unique, divine, and magical.”
“Afro Unicorn started in the e-commerce industry in 2019. Back then, it was an organic, grassroots brand, and I was pressing shirts and selling them through my eCommerce store, adding logos to T-shirts and bags at my customers' request.”
Afro Unicorn burst onto the scene as a brand in August 2021 after a video of a little girl wearing an Afro Unicorn shirt went viral. April tells us she then received an email from Walmart titled "Afro Unicorn x Walmart" collaboration, “marking my start with Walmart as one of the first Black Women to enter the party supplies/celebration category.” Afro Unicorn® has been exclusively available in the USA until now. Afro Unicorn® is now available at Walmart across Canada. We spoke with April about the brand and her expansion into Canada to mark the occasion.
April has been an entrepreneur for many years. Before founding the Afro Unicorn Enterprise, she owned other businesses. As young as 19, April started her first business—a personal assistant agency connecting celebrities with personal assistants. She has also run a successful insurance agency for a decade and has been a licensed real estate broker for the past twenty years.
“I started Afro Unicorn as a conscious, empowerment-led brand to positively uplift and impact women and children of colour,” says April. “I am equally proud to be a single mom of two amazing honour roll boys.”
The Afro Unicorn® character was inspired by the nickname April had been given throughout her life. “I was repeatedly referred to as a unicorn by a friend because I was doing it all at an extraordinary level—running my businesses, taking care of my boys, and enjoying a bustling social life.”
As she conceptualized the company, she researched these magical creatures more but was dismayed to realize they were typically portrayed as white.
“Unicorns are magical, mythical, unique, and a good representation of myself, so I set out to find a unicorn emoji that represented me better. When I couldn't find one, she hired an illustrator, who also happens to be my cousin, to create it myself. That image would eventually become a fully-licensed character and a visual representation of my empowerment brand.”
April shares that she was a tomboy who loved video games and basketball. “My favourite toy was She-Ra, Princess of Power. She-Ra represented empowerment and was a badass! While she did not look like me, she reflected on who I was on the inside. My parents were conscientious of that. They bought dolls that looked like me growing up.”
More recently, as documented in People Magazine February 1, 2021 issue, Todd and Julie Christie's biracial granddaughter, Chloe, once came home in tears after being excluded from a game due to her skin color. Her friends wouldn't let her play 'unicorn' with them because the unicorns were white. "At the time, her grandparents told her that she could be the most beautiful unicorn. We shipped her our Afro Unicorn clothing. Kids need to see themselves in the clothes they wear and the toys they play with."
Like most, April has seen a significant shift since the murder of George Floyd and how the world “came together to demand” more inclusivity.
“Multicultural toys are essential for kids to incorporate into playtime because they learn to interact with people who look like them. How do you fit in this world with only Barbie and Ken dolls? We emulate adults as children; we are products of our environment. It is imperative to value yourself as being beautiful from an early age. It is critical to play with dolls that have coarse hair. We must teach children to love themselves through authentic representation in everything we do.”
April proudly sees Afro Unicorn® sitting next to Disney Princesses and Marvel characters. “Our mission is to create a line of Afro Unicorn toys children play with. Kids love to see themselves represented in our party and apparel lines.”
Expanding to Canada was always part of April’s vision, as her goal was always to become a household name.
“Afro Unicorn entered the Canadian market in February 2023, and we now have 3-piece travel luggage sets in Walmart stores nationwide. The adorable, one-of-a-kind kids' carry-on comes in pink and purple. This month, we will also be debuting in the toddlers and girls apparel category. Next, we are looking to expand the brand into the European market. We are also exploring location-based possibilities in the coming years. Afro Unicorn will continue to expand its presence until it becomes a household name. Our goal is to be bigger than Hello Kitty.”
April sees Afro Unicorn® as more than a brand. “Afro Unicorn is a movement. It's the change I want to see. I am proud to say that 2023 is my Jordan Year. The brand is skyrocketing with 25+ categories in seven major retail stores, from apparel and accessories to toys, puzzles, books, bedding, bandages, backpacks, collectibles, swimwear, and more. Children will soon be able to live and play in a world of Afro Unicorn with music, plushies, games, puzzles, books, playsets, ride-ons, outdoor play, and live animation in the works.”
April feels children can live and play in the world of Afro Unicorn® and be their authentic selves and get over that European standard of beauty. “I envision a place where you can spend time together as a family in a fun and supervised place to play, create, or relax. Kids can be their authentic selves, bringing self-esteem and positively motivating them. Creating an Afronia playspace will embrace who they are—unique, divine, and magical.”