Kitchener-Waterloo

Ember adventure doll is Kitchener woman's answer to Barbie

A Kitchener entrepreneur is hoping to raise $215,000 on Indiegogo to create a life-like adventure doll, which she says will combat the negative influence of other dolls on the market.

Hopes adventure doll will show young girls what it really means to be a woman

The manufacturer of the Ember doll hopes to raise $215,000 by April 21. (Emberworld.com)

A Kitchener entrepreneur is hoping to raise $215,000 on crowdfunding site Indiegogo to develop and manufacture a life-like adventure doll, which she says will combat the negative influence of other dolls on the market.

Katie Nielsen says dolls like Barbie and Bratz create the impression that a woman's value is based on her body type and sense of fashion.

"If you think that your value lies in something that you have to achieve that is unrealistic, that is really bad for your mental health," Nielsen says. 

When she was a teenager, Nielsen says she watched as many of her friends developed eating disorders as they strove after Barbie-like beauty. 

"It's pretty horrifying," she says, "because it's like this culture is damaging their mental health and that's affecting their ability to grow up in a healthy way and be who they are." 
Katie Nielsen has been designing a realistic adventure doll for the past two years. (Katie Nielsen)

Determined to help the young girls she knows now, Nielsen spent the past two years developing a doll with a realistic body and unique personality. The result is Ember: a sneaker-wearing, rock-climbing adventurer.

"It's been on my heart to do something that would empower girls to see themselves as more than just their looks," she says. 

"I really believe that girls love adventure and that girls are naturally curious...and that girls deserve the opportunity to be invited into that space."

After spending all her savings on product development, Nielson has turned to crowd funding to raise the money it will take to manufacture the first 5,000 dolls. 

Her goal is to raise $215,000 by midnight on April 21. 

If the funds come in on time, she says Ember will be on toy store shelves and selling for about $35 per doll by December 2015.

When manufactured, Ember will have a realistic looking body and be ready for adventure. (Katie Nielsen)

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