About this project
We did it! Thank you again to all of our wonderful backers. For anyone who may have missed out, you can preorder now by visiting www.iBesties.com.
Benefits of buying an award-winning iBesties doll & book:
1. iBesties are a fun and modern alternative to the current dolls on the shelf and empower girls in the areas of business, technology and STEM learning.
2. Each iBesties doll comes with a book that helps girls learn business and tech skills, teamwork and decision making.
3. Girls still play with dolls. Over 90% of girls 3-10 in the US own dolls - so why not give them an inspiring option? Get your doll & book today for only $40!
Our girls are smart and savvy. Isn't it time their dolls reflect that?
Young girls are bright, inquisitive, and believe that anything is possible! But what they see in toys and media shapes their views over time. This can ultimately lead to a lack of confidence and a limited view of career choices. That is why we decided to build a brand of toys and media that help girls to dream bigger!
Hi! I'm Jenae Heitkamp, a child therapist, entrepreneur and mother of a young daughter. Together with my sister Gina Heitkamp, a start-up consultant with an MBA, we created a brand of dolls and books that inspire little girls to be CEOs and tech leaders. Not to mention, it's a brand that we would have loved to play with when we were kids!!
People are Talking About iBesties:
Meet the iBesties
iBesties is a collection of books, dolls and online “edutainment” that promotes entrepreneurship and technology learning for girls 6-11. The book follows the adventures of six friends, turned internet moguls, after their friendship blog goes viral. The dolls are based off of the main characters in the book, who each have a special business or tech power.
With iBesties, Gina and I hope to flip the table on the idea of “conventional” careers for women, by demonstrating to young girls everywhere that the sky is the limit. The inspiration for iBesties is rooted in a deep passion and commitment to the empowerment of girls and young women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
Why Dolls and Books to Inspire Change?
After studying the play-patterns of girls in our target demographic it became apparent that many girls enjoy dolls, doll fashions, series books and online games. iBesties introduces modern concepts of entrepreneurship and technology learning into already established play patterns, which utilize all of these mediums.
Dolls: We will be offering our first two dolls, McKenna and Jada. The dolls are 11 inches tall and have rounded, childlike bodies. Each doll comes with the first book in the series and a multi-piece outfit. The doll packaging directs girls to the iBesties website where they can learn about their character's special skills and play coding and business games.
Book: We will be offering the first chapter book in the series entitled, "The Best Best Friends." The book is at a 3rd-5th grade reading level and can be ordered alone, or with the doll. The book tells the story of how the characters met and launched their business.
T-Shirts: Dress like the iBesties! Get our adorable glasses print in an adult or child's size shirt or onesie. Or, get our "Proud Father/Mother of a Future CEO" shirt in adult sizes XS-XXL. All shirts and onesies are available in black, white or gray.
Changing Statistics Through Toys
The lack of women in power positions in the work place continue to alarm. Research shows that less than 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. Additionally women are highly underrepresented in technology careers, comprising only 25% of computer scientists.
iBesties aims to change these statistics. Studies shows that what children experience with their toys and see in the media has a direct result on what careers they think they can have as an adult. Essentially, you can’t be what you can’t see. iBesties shows girls that they can enter STEM fields, run their own businesses and be CEOs.
Disrupting the Doll Aisle
iBesties are as diverse as the girls who love them. Distinct in culture, personality and talents, they come from backgrounds that include blended, bi-racial, military and single-parent households. iBesties characters are modern and relevant to kids born in the digital age. The girls are dressed modestly (but trendy), do not wear heels, and have more realistic body frames.
Bringing iBesties to Life
iBesties has been our passion project for the past 2 years. We have even won a few awards, including the first place award at University of California, Irvine's 2014 Business Plan Competition! After that, we both quit our jobs last August to focus on it full time. That is how much we believe in it!
However, the process hasn't been easy. In the past few months we have drunk a lot of coffee and lost a lot of sleep. We have taken the concept from an idea discussed over lunch to a fully developed prototype and book. We are now anxiously awaiting the arrival of our Jada, our second prototype, which will arrive shortly!
We've now partnered with an experienced toy manufacturer, and will be putting our dolls through rigorous industry-standard child safety testing before it reaches your door.
Why We Need Your Help
Unfortunately, making dolls is expensive! It costs $35,000 for the tooling alone. Through this Kickstarter we will be able to purchase our unique doll molds and secure our first product run (which will be delivered to our wonderful backers, of course). Other funds received will go toward the final design and manufacturing of the books and dolls, and to the development of online games that integrate the brand's purpose of inspiring girls in entrepreneurship and technology learning.
Thank you again for your support and thank you for inspiring the next generation of CEOs and tech moguls!
Risks and challenges
The largest risk to this project is production delays. With our prototypes completed (typically requiring the longest amount of time), we have set a conservative delivery goal. We also have fabulous advisors supporting us who come from major toy companies and understand manufacturing.
Child safety is our number one concern. iBesties has procured a safety testing agency in Hong Kong, which adds an extra layer of inspections above the safety standards that are already in place.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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