Richmond mom makes ‘Frowny Face’ dolls to show kids that it’s okay to feel sad

There, there little guy. (Photo: Facebook/Frowny Faces)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond mom and artist has set out to teach her son — and the rest of us — that it’s okay to feel something other than happy.

Rebecca Floyd has launched a new line of dolls that are more comforting than they are cheery. It’s called Frowny Faces.

“The world is tough, especially for little children. It’s hard. Sometimes their problems seem huge. Something small seems big,” she says. “I think [Frowny Faces] are just understanding.”

She says the dolls are relatable in a variety of situations or daily disappointments.

“Not making the sports team, or the death of a grandparent or pet, bullying or I didn’t get the good grades or I’m not cool,” she explained. “It’s like having a friend that can look at you and understand what you’re feeling.”

Each doll has a unique design, but all of them are made from socks and decked out in drab duds with a somewhat dreary disposition.

“A lot of children will look at them and say, ‘I know how that doll feels’ or ‘I want to make that doll happy,’ so I hope that it can open up children to thinking about their feelings,” says Floyd.

Floyd made her first doll seven years ago for her son, Noah. She says it was looking at other dolls that gave her the inspiration to do something a little different.

“When my son was born, our house started filling up with toys, and my husband and I quickly noticed that they were all creepy with big, plastic smiles,” she said.

So she opted to stitch a frown into her homemade dolls rather than a grin.

Over the years it’s become a conversation piece, so Floyd decided to make more and start selling them in her online store. So far, she’s created about 500 dolls.

The mission to prove that “you’re not happy all the time, why should your doll be?” is also spreading on social media, including on the Frowny Faces Facebook page.

Floyd, who is also a professional photographer, snaps photos of Frowny Faces in everyday situations that might cause a smile to shrivel.

In her pictures, the dolls run out of toilet paper, drop their ice cream cone or realize the gas tank is on empty — reminding us all that life isn’t perfect.

“I think [on] Facebook and Instagram, everybody’s lives are so edited to look like you’re having the best life. You’re on the best vacation. You’re having the best dinner. And Frowny Faces, we’re totally the opposite,” she says. “We’re like, this dinner’s terrible! This diner food is awful! This cupcake has a fly on it! They’re here to say life is real and it’s hard and it sucks sometimes, but we understand. We feel your pain!”

Floyd says she hopes to give back by connecting with charities that help children. Interested organizations can find her contact information on the Frowny Faces website. 

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