Happy Sunday! If you’re a regular reader of KID independent, you’ll know how much I adore quirky handmade toys. Today I’m extending a warm welcome to Ofunneka Anyanwu, the creative talented behind C3N2KIDS. Ofunneka creates Afrocentric, brightly coloured, soft cuddly playthings and today we’re reviewing Miss Sassy, a monster doll from her current collection.
Miss Sassy is handcrafted from cotton fabric (which Ofunneka calls dialogue fabric, on the main body of the doll) and upcycled fleece. She has big bold buttons for her eyes and a zipper for her mouth.
Ofunneka explains, “She is called Miss Sassy because she has a lot of attitude, likes to look nice, and always loves to chatter – hence the zip mouth, which you can close and open at times when the chatter goes on non-stop or isn’t near enough. She is suitable for all ages, however no buttons or larger buttons would be recommended for ages 3 and under.
I quite adore Miss Sassy’s folded arms (which can be unfolded for cuddles, or so you can hold hands while taking a stroll). I also love the “what’s a girl to do” print on her dress, which adds heaps of character. This is a well crafted doll, with a liberal dash of whimsy, which would be perfectly at home in the room of an older child (lovingly enjoying tea parties, chat sessions, dress ups, and playtime…)
The verdict… Bursting with originality and creative spark.
Ofunneka launched her label in May 2013. The name C3N2KIDS is coined from Ofunneka’s name and those of her hubby, two step sons, and daughter. She explains, “It means C3: Chika, Chidi, Chima (my hubby and sons names ), N2 : Nne (short form of my name and what my family call me at home), and Ngozi, my daughter’s name. But for business purposes, it is called Creative Carefree Children Nurtured Now, which I guess also works. KIDS refers to my current items for kids, which is part of the C3N2 consortium. There will however be different brands under C3N2KIDS, one of which is GOZ-GOZ (my daughter’s nick name), which I am hoping will catch on in a couple of years”.
Ofunneka is based in Bathurst, NSW and lives a full, busy life with her family. She explains, “I am married to a wonderful man and we have a blended family of two teenage boys and a beautiful daughter who is three going on thirty…Lol!! She is giving a whole new meaning to being independent. It is definitely a humbling experience (because I consider myself the queen of independence), but I am loving every minute of motherhood, well maybe not every minute, but I love her to bits!”
Alongside her children’s label C3N2KIDS, Ofunneka is also a social entrepreneur, running a not-for-profit organisation (Ofunneka Youth Empowerment) in her home of Nigeria, Africa. She says, “Our main focus is to help educate the disadvantaged girl child. We started off setting up libraries in public schools, but due to my move to Australia about four years ago, we had to move away from capital intensive projects and those that required my continued physical presence. In all of this I still find time to volunteer at an public school here in Bathurst, NSW, where I assist in teaching bible study to year 1 and 2 school children, a truly fulfilling experience”.
Ofunneka has B.Sc. in Pure Chemistry and is currently studying to become a child psychologist at Charles Sturt University. However, she has always had a keen eye for things creative, including cooking, arts and crafts, and even a bit of acting.
Ofunneka draws her inspiration from her three and a half year old daughter. She says, “When she came along, I explored making unique outfits for her, but I still felt that my creativity was stifled, and this burning desire to explore all angles of my creativity birthed the idea for C3N2KIDS on Etsy, and CRAFTFORKIDS on madeit – a shop for soft toys, rag dolls, monster dolls, and educational books, which caters for children of all ages. I also get inspiration from the TV programs I watch with my daughter (that’s what I tell myself anyways when I sit with my little one enjoying all her programs).
Ofunneka works with various mediums or materials, varying from fleece, African prints, felt and recently upcycled items (e.g. mufflers, sweaters) to make what she likes to call her “little treasures”… “I have always played around with all things crafts, right from when I was in primary school. Since I ventured into showcasing my work in a public arena in 2013, it has been a FUN run since then, choosing not to think about the sleepless nights or several needle pricks I have had along the way. There have certainly been lots of “ouch” moments in that respect”.
Ofunneka’s latest project is her monster dolls, and she says, “I love monster dolls, because no matter how ugly or grotesque (although some are quite cute) they are so intriguing, just from the versatility and room it gives to be as creative as you want to be. My mind definitely does go crazy, right onto my drawing paper. I get excited just by looking at the drawings that I know over a couple of weeks will become a reality that I can hold”.
Here’s three fun facts about Ofunneka, in her own words:
I love to cook, which I believe is another form of creativity.
I do a lot of role play with my 3 year old daughter, and I have had to play roles such as being an obedient dog to a very sick patient, but I enjoy every minute of it.
I consider myself to be an adventurous being and in the past have been involved in a couple of reality shows.