The newest toy sensation is not related monsters, superheroes or shape-shifting robots.
Instead, Lil G Dolls blend street culture, Chicano iconography and artistic creativity into customized baby-faced dolls.
The dolls come with clothes closely linked to Chicano culture, such as Dickies shirts or soccer team uniforms, as well as their own unique, haunting patterns of face paint.
Moncerrat Reyes, alleged creator of the line of dolls, started out selling her arts and crafts projects at lowrider car shows.
Just for fun, she painted the face of an old baby doll and gave it face tattoos and other distinctive features.
The demand for the dolls quickly surpassed her other projects’ priorities, turning the high school dropout and teenage mother into a successful entrepreneur.
Reyes expanded her operations from her Los Angeles home by recruiting vendors in other states, including Texas.
She ships dolls in bulk all over the Southwest, while also employing sales staff to market the customized dolls at Hispanic cultural events.
Her representative in Houston reportedly visits low-rider car shows around the state to drum up sales for these unique toys.
Despite the exploding success, the dolls are not without their detractors; Reyes’ use of some less savory images have attracted critics that claim the dolls glorify the criminal aspects of the culture:
“I think that a lot of people, they say that I’m glorifying gangsters and a wrong kind of style,” Reyes said in an interview. “We grew up wearing Nike Cortez, and that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re criminals, you know? We’ve been judged since the Pachuco days about how we dressed.”
Thanks to social media and her hard-working team, the dolls are becoming a sought-after item even beyond the car-club culture set.
Reyes said that she gets most of her orders from Northern California, Arizona and Texas:
“Man, those areas are pushing like 75 packages a week,” she said. “They are wearing me out.”
Christmas is just around the corner, y’all.