BY: KABRENA ROBINSON
The holiday season has arrived, which means that you might already be planning what gift to get your loved ones but what about the right wrapping paper to go along with it? You’ve seen numerous gift wrapping papers with the traditional white bearded caucasian Saint Nicholas but how about a black Santa named Clarence Claus? If that grabbed your attention, you’ll be pleased to know that Clarence Claus is coming to town to give the essential gift of black representation and self-love.
Launched by husband and wife team Jackie and Shaun Rodgers, Clarence Claus™ is the first product from Greentop Gifts, a wrapping paper and gift company for people of colour. The wrapping paper features a jolly old man with a chocolate complexion, a white beard and red suit allowing families of colour to have a product that represents their culture and lifestyle under the tree for the holiday season.
The new product has been introduced in Canada by Canadian online retailer KIDS SWAG. Through a partnership with Greentop Gifts, KIDS SWAG is the exclusive retailer of Clarence Claus™ gift wrapping paper in Canada. The wrapping paper retails for $8CDN per roll.
KIDS SWAG was founded in December 2016 by Kim West, a wife and mother of two girls, with a primary goal aimed at making it easy for parents with children of colour to build environments that are reflective of their child’s beauty. The idea came to West after the tiring experience of not being able to find products that her daughter could see herself being reflected in the mainstream. She then established the online retail store to help black mothers like herself who share the same dilemma when shopping for their kids. The KIDS SWAG website features everyday lifestyle items such as clothing, accessories, dolls and household items that provide positive self-representation for black kids.
“It’s so important, especially for a black kid to remind themselves of the fact that they are special, that there is something there for them to have,” said West. “Confidence is the biggest thing across the board regardless what background you have. The more confidence you have the better you are to actually now position yourself in society.”
Now with the distribution of their newest product, the Clarence Claus gift wrapping paper, West says that this is another opportunity for black kids to see a positive representation of themselves that is not often seen in society.
“It is one thing for yourself to be reflected and just every day them being able to see other kids that look like them,” said West. “It’s another for something that you idolize whether that be Jesus, Santa Clause or any sort of adult figurehead to look like you is even more impactful and it really gives you that sense of joy. I see it not only in children but adults as well, that feeling of like ‘I belong I matter I feel represented’.”
West added that now through Clarence Claus™ and the wide assortment of children’s products in her store, including top seller Nia Ballerina, a black ballerina jewellery box, parents have the chance to delight their children twice; Once with an extra special gift wrapping paper and the second through the diverse and inclusive gifts provided by KIDS SWAG.
West says that the next step for her brand will be expanding the variety of products she provides to cater to a larger age group. Most of her products in the past catered to younger children. Starting this December, she hopes to collaborate with new brands to supply items such as blankets, bibs, toddler clothing and backpacks that could potentially be marketed to parents of black teenagers and older children.
“The main thing for me when I think about KIDS SWAG is that it’s not just one particular product it’s really about the bigger mission we are trying to achieve and so the more that we can work towards that mission the more that we can have an impact and see children enter into the world and feel like they can be themselves and don’t feel like they need to change their hair or change their skin colour to be adapted into society,” she said. “I think its so important and so vital for how they’re going to grow in the future.”
So, head on over to kidsswag.ca and give your loved ones an extra special gift wrapped in beautiful black imagery this season.