Crowdsourcing Mornings: iBesties: Dolls for Future Tech and Business Leaders


Geek Alabama Crowdsourcing Mornings

This is Crowdsourcing Mornings! This post takes place every weekday morning and highlights one crowdsourcing project I liked from Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or other crowdsourcing websites.

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 they decided to build a brand of toys and media that help girls to dream bigger!  Jenae Heitkamp is a child therapist, entrepreneur and mother of a young daughter. Together with her sister Gina Heitkamp, a start-up consultant with an MBA, they 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 they would have loved to play with when we were kids!

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 her 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).

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.  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.

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As of July 22nd, this project has raised around $42,000 of their $50,000 goal. This project only has 8 days left to raise the $50,000 or it will not be funded!  For a pledge of $15, you will get a signed copy of the first iBesties book.  For a pledge of $40, you will get your choice of a McKenna or Jada doll plus a signed copy of Book 1.  To learn more and to pledge money, go to: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2085748578/ibesties-modern-dolls-to-empower

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