For decades Crayola has been the leading art supply company in America, and it has played a huge role in allowing both kids and adults to create like never before.
The slogan “Everything Imaginable” is perfect for the company as they continue to move the needle forward when it comes to the tools needed to create. The slogan came to life in 2020 when the decision was made to restructure the way the crayons reflect the diverse children and adults who use them.
As a kid, Mimi Dixon recalls using Crayola and not really seeing colors that reflected her skin tone. Now as the company’s Director of Brand Activation and Content, the New Jersey native has ensured that no person is left out through the Colors of The World collection which includes 24 specially formulated colors that represent people across the world.
In an exclusive interview with AfroTech, Dixon provides insight into Crayola’s commitment to ensuring that they are a brand reflective of all people.
On Her Role At Crayola
“First and foremost, I make sure that we have instilled the principle of inclusion,” said Dixon. “For me, inclusion is key because people have to feel like they belong, they have to feel represented, and they have to feel like they can thrive.”
Dixon works closely alongside her team to drive inclusion not only for customers but throughout the organization.
“One of the key elements to driving inclusion is through education,” she continued. “There can’t be an understanding or acceptance of differences unless those differences are brought to bear. For instance, we have a diversity summit, but in that summit, we are making sure that those very important and valid stories are being told to the organization so that everyone can see that even though we’re one America, that experience can be very different depending upon your race, your religion, your gender, your sexual orientation, or your ability status.”
Thanks to her commitment to education and awareness, Crayolians are able to drive action to operate better both internally and externally.
Creating 'Colors Of The World'
“Crayola actually launched multicultural crayons back in 1992, but if you look at that launch it was done using colors that mimic skin tone, not necessarily represent it,” said Dixon.
Those colors often left people feeling as though they weren’t accurately represented, but thanks to Dixon, the company was inspired to do more.
“For that line, the box of crayons were considered multicultural, however, we know that multicultural isn’t necessarily a thing,” she continued. “So, we had the opportunity to expand and work on the name, the colors, and how we bring those colors to life. We could have gone down the path like any normal company does with innovation. However, we wanted to do more.”
“More” for Dixon and her team was going beyond the research and development department because they saw it as much more than just a product, but a true force to drive diversity and inclusion.
The company worked alongside leaders in the beauty industry to create shades based on methods used to also create makeup foundation products. From there, they would come up with crayons that directly matched various skin tones.
“Kudos to the organization [Crayola] for that mindset change and being open to having an honest dialogue about where we are in our diversity and inclusion journey and where we want to be,” Dixon expressed.
The Importance Of It All
Although the release of “Colors Of The World” took flight in 2020, Dixon still understands the role that Crayola plays as a leader in the art supply space.
“It starts as kids,” she shared.”It is very important that our children see themselves represented in the world and to just know that they are valued. At Crayola, we want them to know that when we’re thinking about products and content, we’re doing it with them in mind.”