Houston maker of multicultural dolls goes public
Updated 3:21 pm, Friday, January 25, 2013
The company's first line of five dolls, known as The Prettie Girls! OWP, won't be available until April. However, demand for high-quality minority dolls is so great, especially among African-Americans, that the company's administrators decided to take the firm public, said Daniel, the founder.
"African-American women can't find dolls that look like their children in the store," he said. "We recognized there was a demand in the market place."
The Pretty Girls! OWP line includes Alexie, Caucasian American; Dahlia, Middle Eastern Indian; Kimani, African; Lena, African-American; and Valencia, Hispanic American.
Based in Houston, the doll maker went public Thursday under the parent company One World Holdings. The company was issued the stock symbol OWOO.
"We had a great debut," Daniel said. We opened at 15 cents a share and closed at 25 cents. This is definitely a win for the city of Houston, whenever there's a new public company."
The One World Doll Project is Houston's first doll or toy company to go public, he said.
The idea for the company arose in 2010 when Daniel met McBride-Irby at a speaking engagement he had in Virginia. At the time, McBride-Irby was still designing dolls for Mattel, where she created So in Style Barbie, the company's first African-American Barbie.
As the two chatted about what she had done at Mattel, McBride-Irby told him she wanted to start her own doll line.
"I said, 'If I can pull some investors together, would you be willing to leave Mattel?' " he said. "That's what we did."
While McBride-Irby continues to live in the Los Angeles area, the company's administrative headquarters is in Houston. The dolls will be made in China, at a plant previously used by Mattel to make Barbie dolls, Daniel said.
The One World dolls will have the same quality of hair and clothing as Barbie dolls, he said.
"We wanted to be the company to provide not only authentic dolls of color (but also) ones that truly could compete with the quality and look of Barbie," he said.
Although the company is hopeful it will succeed financially, its goal is broader, according to a news release issued Thursday.
"The One World Doll Project's core mission is to make one of the most significant, positive cultural impacts on play and in the doll category in recent history," the release said.