Saying "Goodbye" to Zoé and "Hello" to What's Next

Many of you know me as Yelitsa, the CEO and Founder of Healthy Roots Dolls.

In 2014, I shared a story on Facebook about my experience struggling to love my natural hair. It sparked a discussion about the fact that so few of my peers and I had black dolls that looked like us growing up.

One hundred Facebook comments, a Brown University fellowship, and an acceptance to the 2015 MassChallenge Accelerator program later, my team and I built a Kickstarter campaign that raised $50,000 with over 600 backers who felt the same way.

That Kickstarter campaign helped create Healthy Roots Dolls and Zoé, our first doll and the first doll that teaches natural hair care. 

So much has happened since that initial Kickstarter campaign! We’ve raised over $250,000 to grow our team and scale the business. We’ve partnered with Shea Moisture, Mixed Chicks, Cantu and Oyin Handmade to launch our first doll and a new product the Curl Care Kit last Christmas. But most importantly, we’ve helped hundreds of girls learn to love their curls and reached many more with our mission.

Now, we’re taking our mission a step further, but that also means that we have to make changes.

We’re saying goodbye to the original Zoé doll.

For me, I’m saying goodbye to my first born. The first product that I ever created and never knew would come this far and resonate with so many. This is a doll that introduced me to the toy industry as an outsider set on making sure there was more than just the token black doll on the shelf, but a product that affirmed girls to love themselves as they are with hair play.

We have learned a lot from sharing our first Zoé doll. What we are launching next will fully represent everything that we at Healthy Roots believe in: Love, #CurlPower and #BlackGirlMagic. 

All love,

Yelitsa Jean-Charles