Darla Davenport Powell
Darla Davenport-Powell is the Creator of the Niyakids and founder of I AM ENUF Foundation, Inc. – a non-profit mentoring organization that helps young people to embrace their unique individuality and celebrate the differences in others. Darla began her journey thirty-one years ago when she and her husband went looking for books and dolls that looked like their daughter, Niya. “We searched high and low to find books and toys that reflected our culture and came up with nothing. All that was out there at the time were white dolls dipped in chocolate with straight hair. It was also easier to find a needle in a haystack than a children’s book featuring a positive African-American family.”
Darla self-published the “Here Comes Niya” book with audio tape in 1984 and manufactured the multilingual Niya doll in 1991. The “Here Comes Niya’ doll is the first African-American doll to speak English, Spanish and Swahili. In 2000, Darla inked her first chain store deal to sell the Niya doll in K-mart. In 2006, she became a finalist on the ABC American Inventor show and won $50,000 to advance her doll line on national television. It was there where Niya and her multicultural friends were born. She continued her partnership with Dynamic Designworks, Inc. after the American Inventor show and in 2007, they launched a Niya and Kids specialty doll line at the ABC Kids Expo.