Healthy Roots Dolls
Healthy Roots Dolls is an educational toy company based in Detroit, Michigan. The company was founded by Haitian-American, Yelitsa Jean-Charles. When Yelitsa was growing up, she did not have dolls that looked like her because many came with Caucasian features. While at the Rhode Island School of Design, her desire for young girls of color not to have the same doll experience she had, led her to re-design the fairytale character, Rapunzel. With aluminium foil, clay and hot glue, a brown girl with kinky hair emerged.
Worth noting is that this class project formed the inspiration behind the future Zoe doll. Healthy Roots Dolls toy company officially started in 2015 with financial backing from institutions and support from friends and family. In 2018, the first Zoe doll was manufactured.
Fundamentally, the toy company aims to produce dolls that young girls of color can relate to. Moreover, the dolls come in a variety of facial features, skin tones and hair texture that can be styled in numerous ways. In the process, the toy owners get to start appreciating their own natural hair from an early age. Ultimately, this plays the important role of boosting their self esteem as they mature into young women of color.
For Christmas 2019, Healthy Roots Dolls partnered with My Black is Beautiful, a hair care brand to provide a special gift to young girls, the Curl Care Kit, which contained products such as;
- My Black is Beautiful Hydrating Shampoo
- My Black is Beautiful Fortifying Conditioner
- My Black is Beautiful Intense Recovery Treatment
- My Black is Beautiful Tangle Slayer Type 3
- My Black is Beautiful Tangle Slayer Type 4
- Denman D14 Row Classic Styling Brush
The idea behind this special gesture was to get the little doll owners to practice hair care on their dolls and own hair as well.
In 2020, the founder, Yelitsa Jean-Charles, earned a feature in the Crain’s Detroit Business 20 in their 20s. Since inception, Healthy Roots Dolls has registered “six figures” in sales. Charles also mentions that the company is currently, in a “growth phase” and in need of permanent employees. She hopes to start selling accessories for Zoe in the near future.
Furthermore, Healthy Roots Dolls toy company has a You Tube Channel with 296 Subscribers. Topics are centered on hair care for young girls of color with natural hair.
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