$85 Dollar African American Dolls -- Can They Really Sell?

Jason and Angelica Sweeting, who live in Miami, Florida with their two young daughters, are the founders of Naturally Perfect Dolls, which sells high-end baby dolls with multicultural skin tones, hair styles, and body structures. The dolls are washable with styleable hair, and encourage self-acceptance and diversity - but they are not cheap. They retail for $84.99.
Recently, the Sweetings were featured on ABC's Shark Tank and they closed an investment deal with shark Daymond John. Initially, Daymond offered them $200,000 for 33.3% of their company, but the Sweetings countered the offer for just 25%. Daymond then countered their offer for 30% for himself, 60% for the Sweetings, and the remaining 10% percent committed to charity. Both sides agreed to these terms, and the deal was sealed.

But will people really pay $85 for an African American doll?

This is the question that a lot of people are asking, and only time will tell. Typically in Walmart and Target, baby dolls retail for $20 or less, but sales for African American dolls are not as strong as toy companies expect them to be.

Kevin O’Leary, a shark on the show who calls himself the “King of Dolls” mentioned this. He cited the fact that big companies like Mattel and Hasbro have tried taking the multiculturalism approach with their own dolls and failed. The other sharks agreed, and also noted that the dolls produced by Naturally Perfect Dolls are very costly.

Lori Greiner, another shark, said she loves the dolls but she too was concerned about the major competition.

Believing in the impossible

Although some are saying that it is impossible for them to be successful with this business concept, the Sweetings are very determined that they can make it work. They were able to raise $75,000 in the very beginning via crowdfunding, and obviously, Daymond John believes in their dream as well.

In addition, they are in contact with a manufacturer that can make the dolls at a lower price which could allow them to retail the dolls at around $55 to $65. That's still a high price point, but the Sweetings believe it can work regardless.

According to their web site, they started their business "to let girls know that they are beautiful." The statement continues, "Our girls need to see a reflection of their own unique beauty. It’s time for our young girls to have a new standard."

The Sweetings say that they hope that every girl can one day see themselves in their dolls!

For more details about Naturally Perfect Dolls, visit www.naturallyperfectdolls.com or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/naturallyperfectdolls/

Watch the video below:

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