Healthy Roots Dolls Lands Investment from Backstage Capital.
Cincinnati, OH, November 10, 2017. Healthy Roots, a highly anticipated line of black dolls designed to combat unhealthy beauty standards in young girls of color, announced today they are joining the Backstage Capital portfolio with an investment from Arlan Hamilton. This marks the latest in a series of accomplishments this year for Healthy Roots, whose campaign has raised over $50,000 on Kickstarter, and is poised for a Holiday 2017 delivery date. This connection was made after CEO Yelitsa Jean-Charles read Hamilton’s first Medium article about launching Backstage Capital, and reached out to her via email.
Backstage Capital is making waves in the Venture Capital arena by focusing on companies founded by women, people of color, and LGBT individuals, areas of the startup market that have high potential, but are statistically underrepresented and underfunded. Hamilton's other target this week is the tech and wellness company Flora, founded by recording artist Kehlani.
"Diversity has proven to be lucrative, yet traditional VC pattern-matching is leaving billions of unrealized returns on the table ..." Hamilton writes, "I’m going to be looking for the best and the brightest founders and companies to raise our chances of a return."
Jean-Charles launched Healthy Roots in 2015 as a response to the lack of diversity in the toy aisle. The company combines dolls, storybooks to teach natural hair care to young girls and positively influence self-image during the early stages of identity development. The dolls are designed with different skin tones, facial features, and hair textures to represent the diversity of the African Diaspora, and the line is set to expand to represent girls of color from around the world.
“When I was first presenting my idea, people were telling me it’s a niche product with a small market,” Jean-Charles explains in this year’s panel at the HERs OWNly Pitch Contest, “And I had to tell myself, no, black dolls are for everyone! The same way that we can play with white Barbie dolls, people should have diverse dolls in general.”
Hamilton’s investment is the latest example of the widespread positive response to Healthy Roots, which announced this year a limited edition Zuri doll in collaboration with the Hair Love animated film campaign, and has landed Jean-Charles a coveted spot on Essence Magazine’s 50 Founders to Watch print feature. The company has now completed the manufacturing process for the first wave of dolls, which are available publicly at the start of February.