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This Woman Started a Black Toy Business After She Didn’t Find a Doll She Wanted

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For most people, when you can find the gift you want for a friend, you just get another one. Well, for one Texan woman who couldn’t find an HBCU doff for a friend, she created her own.

A collage of some HBCyoU dolls and Brooke Hart Jones
Source: Pinterest

Brooke Hart Jones is the creator of HBCyoU Dolls. She was, however, shocked that no dolls representing Historically Black Colleges and Universities were on store shelves. This inspired and motivated her to create the first and only HBCU doll line available globally in major retail stores.

Speaking on her success, Jones said, “We’re very proud of that. We want to use it as an opportunity to plant the seed of higher learning, and use it as a tool to teach history… spread our legacy and champion and highlight and preserve the legacy of historically black colleges and universities.”

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“I was looking for them to buy as a birthday gift. I am a former toy buyer. I have a background in merchandising… and I’m a lifelong doll lover, and a proud HBCU alum,” Jones said, recollecting how it all started for her.

When the pandemic had the whole world on lockdown in 2020, Jones had more than enough time on her hands. It was a perfect opportunity for her to make the dolls she wanted. Also, Jones created a website and social media pages to sell her dolls online.

As her business grew, she started drawing a lot of attention and had a growing fanbase. Purpose Toys, a company known for supporting businesses that made black toys, decided to work with Jones to upscale HBCyoU. Jones’ dolls soon reached a broader audience, and the dolls were sold at affordable prices. Today, you can easily find various HBCyoU dolls at major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Target.

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Jones’ dolls project multiple themes that are unique to HBCUs. She, however, hopes that people experience more of the HBCU culture through her dolls. “So, we want it to represent the major kind of iconic figures and archetypes within the HBCU culture,” she said.

“At historically black colleges and universities, homecoming is like no other. There’s like a full-on royal court and pageantry that could rival the British monarchy. That’s just a subculture that mainstream media probably isn’t aware of, but in the African American community, being a homecoming queen at an HBCU is everything,” Jones explained.

Some of the dolls include a cheerleader and a majorette. “Majorettes — their style of dance and their performances are just iconic and really idolized in the HBCU and black community. HBCU cheerleaders, they have their own unique style of cheerleading, that we’re very proud of. It brings a lot of spirit and pride at our football and basketball,” she said.

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Jones named her dolls after all the women who have been influential in her life, including her sister, cousin, and best friend. Nonetheless, Jones’s favorite dolls are “Nicole,” a homecoming queen, and “Autumn,” a majorette.

Furthermore, Jones wants the dolls to inspire young kids to succeed. “We want our dolls to inspire and encourage children to dream big, work hard, and achieve their goals,” She said.

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