How Yelitsa Jean-Charles' Healthy Roots Dolls Can Serve As A Blueprint For The Billion-Dollar Toy Industry
Photo Credit: Yelitsa Jean-Charles

How Yelitsa Jean-Charles' Healthy Roots Dolls Can Serve As A Blueprint For The Billion-Dollar Toy Industry

If you’re looking for gifts for the children in your life, look no further because Healthy Roots Dolls is here. 

In what’s considered a billion-dollar industry, the company’s goal is to create more toys for children of all backgrounds while also teaching natural hair care to young girls of color.

In the latest episode of Black Tech Green Money, host Will Lucas sits down with founder and CEO, Yelitsa Jean-Charles to discuss the social impact that toys have on society, securing shelf space in major retail outlets, and more!

The Vision

Representation is everything for Black youth in tech and the same applies to the Healthy Roots Dolls brand.

“When I was studying illustration at the Rhode Island School Of Design, I didn’t really have an interest in toys, haven’t really had an interest in toys since I was like four, but I did have an interest in social impact and the work that artists do and the way that it can influence culture and conversation,” said Jean-Charles during the AfroTech Black Tech Green Money podcast episode.

She continued: “So, for me, that means researching and learning that toys actually have a huge influence on how kids think, act, and see themselves. So, when children can’t find products that look like them, it can have a negative impact on their self-esteem.”

From there, she conducted research that led to the role that studies like the Mamie Clark doll test had on a child’s perception of themselves and began to wonder what she could do to make a change.

More Than Just A Doll

“Our goal is never to convince people that this product is important,” Jean-Charles told Lucas. “It is to present it to people that understand or are looking for it.”

The marketing for Healthy Roots Dolls is not focused on representation or the lack thereof when it comes to children’s toys, but instead, they want the products to speak for themselves.

“Our marketing is mainly just ‘look at this really great toy. Kids love her. Here’s what she teaches them to do,’” Jean-Charles explained. “Then, under the surface of that, is the potential long-term impact that you might see.”

Listen Up:

For more on Healthy Roots Dolls, taking up shelf space in retail, and more, listen to the full episode of the Black Tech Green Money podcast below.