She ventured into the doll industry three years ago after she decided to get an old classmate an HBCU doll gift and could not find it, she told WFAA in an interview. Shocked, Jones decided to change the status quo by venturing into the sector with her own brand.
“I was looking for an HBCU doll to give someone during the pandemic and couldn’t find it,” the first and only HBCU doll company owner told WFAA. “And I was shocked, and was like surely, these exist?”
She started by handmaking the doll while her husband assisted with the packaging. They then jointly mailed them to their respective customers. No sooner had she started production than giant toy firms began to approach her.
She got approached by Purpose Toys, a company that supports black toy businesses. She would go on to partner with Purpose Toys and their resources. This would land her products in celebrated retail giants like Target, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Amazon.
Hart told WFAA that HBCYou Dolls is the first and only HBCU doll line sold in major retail stores worldwide. So far, she has 11 HBCYou Dolls and they have different skin tones and hair textures, but they also have different interests. One of the dolls, “Nicole”, is homecoming queen and pre-med.
“They all have positions of leadership,” Jones explained. “They all have unique backgrounds.”
The Hampton University graduate continues to expand her line as more and more customers continue to reach out to her daily, requesting even more versions of the doll to represent more HBCUs.
The black entrepreneur said her goal is not just to make dolls that look like the girls who buy them, but also to encourage and inspire them.
“It is the opportunity to plant the seed of higher learning, teach about HBCUs,” she said. “They see themselves for what they can be, what they can achieve, what they can become.”