Homegrown 44

Wildflower Liberty League was founded as a nonprofit to promote diversity and raise awareness for equality while donating all profits to children’s charities. Maria Confer tells us more about her goals.

After becoming a mom through transracial adoption, Maria Confer had an idea. Seeing a lack of diverse toys in stores and online Confer started Wildflower Liberty League, a nonprofit focused on diverse, huggable, lovable and classic dolls. She started small in her home as a self-taught sewer and made her first doll as a Christmas present for her son. Now, her online inventory of dolls sells out in hours.

Confer is also passionate about the foster care system and providing better support to all involved. She donates 100% of her profits to foster care charity Together We Rise. By acting on her passions and filling a need, Confer brings diversity to children’s toys and allows them to see their differences as unique, beautiful and accepted.

Why do you feel this cause is so important and 
beneficial in today’s society?

As we’ve seen with [the presidential] election, there is still so much racism, bigotry, ignorance and hate in our world. [Wildflower Liberty League’s] message is all about hope, equality, peace and love. We need to break this cycle of hate by raising our children to be more loving and accepting of all people. I’m trying to do my small part by encouraging parents to start with diversity and acceptance in their homes with their child’s toys. And because there is such a lack of diversity in toys, I want to create diverse dolls to act as mirrors for children of color to see themselves, have self-love and know that they are beautiful and important.

Being a mom yourself, why do you find exposing 
children to diversity in toys important?

For me, it’s incredibly personal. I’m doing this for my son in hopes that he’ll grow up in a more loving and accepting world. If I can make an impact by creating diverse dolls and encouraging parents to include diversity in their child’s life, then I feel like it’s one more step in the right direction and hopefully one more child that will grow up being kind towards my son.

I see you have partnered with Together We Rise, 
a foster care charity. Do you have personal ties 
or experience with foster care specifically?

I do not have a personal tie with foster care; it’s something that I’ve always been passionate about. The whole process, from the social workers [to the] foster children, the birth parents [to the] foster parents, [it is] something that I think our society needs to help with and provide better support [for]. My husband and I have the hope that someday we’ll be the right people to be able to adopt a waiting teen or sibling group from foster care, but I know we’re not there yet with our son only being three years old. We wouldn’t want to displace his rank as eldest in our family, so this is something we’re thinking about when he’s in high school or college.

Tell me about your other inventory, how did these items play into the mix?

While the dolls are the main focus of WLL, I also wanted products that would appeal to people who weren’t in the market for a doll. The pennants and pins (and soon to be bandanas) are products that I love so it was just about making something that I couldn’t exactly find and [simultaneously] promoting WLL and having another way to raise money for charity.

The baby bows are more specifically about diversity. If you look at most nylon headbands for baby bows, they come in one light shade of nude. Even though I don’t have a daughter, this has always bugged me. I would see these adorable bows with the light nude headbands and think how would that work for a child with my son’s coloring? So I decided to sell bows that come with headbands in a broad range of nude shades to match any baby’s skin tone.