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Diverse dolls with the smart, ambitious, opinionated characters that girls deserve.
Diverse dolls with the smart and ambitious characters that girls deserve.
Diverse dolls with the smart and ambitious characters that girls deserve.
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352 backers pledged $30,941 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Willowbrook Girls: Dolls for the Next Generation of Leaders

$30,941

352

Diverse dolls with the smart, ambitious, opinionated characters that girls deserve

I'm Neha, and I'm creating a line of dolls with characters that are smart, ambitious, and opinionated. Willowbrook Girls is a doll and story series that gives girls characters that they can see in themselves—girls who are both ordinary and extraordinary, and who are becoming leaders in their own right. We want to move away from the one-dimensional view of girls offered by most dolls, which focuses on appearance, and instead, introduce characters that celebrate girls for their brains, talents, and leadership. 

Girls need characters like the Willowbrook Girls because they don't otherwise exist in toys and media available today. We're creating dolls and stories with depth. The characters are a group of seven friends in the fifth grade who are intelligent, goal-oriented, and outspoken. Each character has incredible ambition, just like the girls we all know. 

Our seven characters are diverse not just in personalities, career ambitions, and interests, but also ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

We're changing things... and we're excited.

Get the Cara doll, the first of seven Willowbrook Girls

Cara Morales-Burch is an aspiring entrepreneur who loves arts and crafts. She starts a business with the rest of the Willowbrook Girls that is inspired by her latest DIY project. Cara is half-Latina and enjoys learning about both of her cultural backgrounds. You'll learn more about Cara in our first story, The Brookies Build a Business.

Our dolls are 18 inches and have soft bodies.

Seven friends in fifth grade, each with her own story and ambitions

We're empowering girls by offering strong role models in the Willowbrook Girls.  The characters will inspire our next generation of leaders—the girls who will crush these staggering statistics:

  • Women hold less than 5% of CEO positions at Fortune 500 companies
  • Women comprise only 20% of the Senate
  • Women comprise 14% of engineers in the work force
  • Women had nearly half the number of bylines as men at the nation's top ten most widely circulated newspapers in 2014
  • Women directed only 17 of the 250 top grossing films of 2014

Cara Morales-Burch wants to be CEO of her own company

Mackenzie Hill wants to be a Senator

Rory Rosenstein wants to be an engineer

Maya Martinez wants to be a scientist

Anjali Shah wants to be an actress

Perry Yu wants to be a journalist who travels the world

Bailey Fox wants to lead education reform

We're giving girls characters just like them

Creating dolls with career ambitions was important to us. Our dolls aren't here to tell girls what they can do. They're here so they never doubt it.

We want to give girls a different perspective on their gender identity relative to traditional dolls by exposing them to relatable female characters with career ambitions that include ones in which women are underrepresented. Our dolls are not "girl coders" or "girl presidents"—they're coders, class presidents, and so much more. We want girls to embrace what they already know is in them. The Willowbrook Girls serve as an example of seven girls who do just that.

Learning from dolls with different backgrounds

Many of our best learning experiences when we were younger came from having a diverse group of friends who offered perspectives wildly different from our own. We've been disappointed in the lack of diversity in dolls. Willowbrook Girls is a modern doll line that better reflects reality, and features characters that are diverse in backgrounds, whether ethnic or socioeconomic.

Of note, Anjali, an Indian-American doll, and Perry, an Asian-American doll, will be the only dolls of their backgrounds, with their own stories, available in the toy market at launch. Other Willowbrook Girls include Mackenzie, who is African-American, Maya, who is Colombian, and Cara, who is half-Latina. We hope to continue to create diverse characters, each with her own voice and story. Giving each character a voice was extremely important to us, as we've seen that many doll brands give minority characters sidekick roles or stories full of stereotypes.

Diversity will continue to be an essential part of the brand as we grow. 

The making of our first doll, from sketch to sample

Our first sketch of Cara and the finished sample
Our first sketch of Cara and the finished sample
Making the head sculpt
Making the head sculpt

Get to know the characters in our stories

We've created characters that are authentic to girls and live up to their ambition. Told from the perspective of each character, our stories are a way for readers to get to know the Willowbrook Girls. 

In the first story, written by the fantastic Molly Donovan, we see how Cara inspires her group of friends to start a school business together. The Willowbrook Girls learn about teamwork and how their talents can be used to build the business. They ultimately decide to give their business a social mission. 

The first few chapters of The Brookies Build a Business are currently available to preview for free online. We hope you enjoy reading! 

Thanks for helping us bring the Willowbrook Girls to life!

More dolls from Willowbrook Girls

We want to produce all seven of the Willowbrook Girls. If we reach our stretch goals, we'll be able to ship even more characters by late fall. 

Career kits

We will offer kits that explore the career interests of each character. The kits will be designed in collaboration with the foremost leaders in each field and will include things like activities, skills-based learning, and stories of trailblazing women in these fields. 

This is just the beginning

We see a future for Willowbrook Girls beyond the dolls. We're just getting started... stay tuned! 

Visit us at willowbrookgirls.com

Neha Chauhan Woodward is the Founder of Willowbrook Girls. Prior to Willowbrook Girls, she built her career in e-commerce, working at companies like Blue Apron, Diapers.com (Amazon), and DANNIJO. She started her career at JPMorgan. Neha has a BA from Harvard University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. 

Neha named Willowbrook Girls after her elementary school, Public School 54, which was located on Willowbrook Road in New York. 

Credits: Illustrations by ET Monjaraz, Doll photography by Sydney Paulsen, Doll clothes by Little Gloriana, Patty Allen Designs, and Donna Designed

Follow @willowbrookgirls on Instagram

Over 20,000 people are following Willowbrook Girls' start on Instagram. We're so glad the story of seven incredible fifth graders is resonating with girls, boys, and parents alike.

We want to hear from you! Tell us what you think! We're building a better doll for girls, and need your help to make it happen. Email us at info@willowbrookgirls.com.

  

Risks and challenges

We are working with a great manufacturing partner, but are cognizant that there could be unforeseen production delays. We will be sure to communicate any potential delays with our community.

We take child safety very seriously and will ensure our dolls meet all safety standards.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    **THANK YOU + DIGITAL DOWNLOAD**

    As a thank you for your support, we'll send you an exclusive Willowbrook Girls content download.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    **GIRL POWER PACK**

    Get a Girl Power sticker pack and exclusive Willowbrook Girls content download.

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    50 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    **BROOKIES' BRACELETS**

    Get a friendship bracelet, just like the ones designed by the girls in the first story. You'll also get a Girl Power sticker pack and exclusive content download.

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    Pledge $78 or more About $78

    **EARLY BIRD SPECIAL - GET THE CARA DOLL**

    Get the first Willowbrook Girls doll—the Cara doll—at an exclusive price as a thank you for being one of our earliest supporters. You'll also get our first storybook and 20% off a future Willowbrook Girls doll of your choice!

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    Reward no longer available 100 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $88 or more About $88

    **GET THE CARA DOLL**

    Get the first Willowbrook Girls doll, the Cara doll. You'll also get our first storybook and 20% off a future Willowbrook Girls doll of your choice!

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $88 or more About $88

    **DONATE A CARA DOLL**

    Give the Cara doll+story to Toys for Tots. You'll also get 20% off a future Willowbrook Girls doll of your choice!

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    10 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    **CARA DOLL + BROOKIES' BRACELETS + VOTE ON NEXT DOLL**

    Get the Cara doll and all previous rewards (bracelet, sticker, digital download, storybook, and 20% off a future doll). You'll also get to be part of the committee that votes which doll is released next!

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    46 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    **BROOKIES DELUXE**

    Get two Cara dolls, two signed doll stands, and previous rewards (sticker, digital download, storybook, and 20% off a future doll). Option to get signed storybook + exclusive doll outfit in place of second doll. You'll also get to be part of the committee that votes on the next doll!

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    10 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    **CARA IN A COLLECTOR'S BOX** Get the Cara doll in a special collector's box signed by the founder, the Brookies' Bracelet tier, 20% off a future doll, two exclusive doll outfits, a signed storybook, and a signed doll stand. You'll also get to be part of the committee that votes on the next doll!

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    2 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    **NAME A STORY CHARACTER + CARA IN A COLLECTOR'S BOX**

    Get the Cara in a Collector's box reward. You'll also get to name an upcoming character in one of the Willowbrook Girls' stories!

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    ** COLLECTOR'S DELUXE **

    Get two Cara dolls in Collector's boxes, five exclusive outfits, two signed doll stands, two signed storybooks, an "Ideas" notebook, and an upgraded Brookies' Bracelets tier featuring ten friendship bracelets and sticker packs.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    **CUSTOM CAREER KIT AND CUSTOM WARDROBE **

    You'll get the Cara in a Collector's Box tier. Plus, we'll make your child a custom career kit featuring the career interest of her choice. It will include activities, skills-based lessons, and stories of amazing women who are trailblazers in this field. With your input, we'll also make a custom outfit for your doll.

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    **AFTERNOON TEA**

    Neha will host afternoon tea for you and up to 4 guests. We'll talk about entrepreneurship, creating the dolls, ideas for future dolls/stories, and more. Get 5 dolls in collector's boxes + five exclusive outfits + a custom career kit + a custom doll wardrobe + five signed storybooks + five signed doll stands. New York, Boston, or Bay Area only.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    **WILLOWBROOK EVENT**

    Neha will host an event for 20 girls where we'll talk about entrepreneurship, set goals, make business plans, craft Brookies' Bracelets, and more! Alternatively, she can come speak at the event of your choice (ie, conference, birthday party, corporate event). Gift of 20 dolls included. US only.

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Funding period

- (30 days)