Saturday, October 11, 2014

Stacey McBride-Irby revolutionizes the doll industry

A great interview of the designer of the Prettie Girls dolls from Lioness Magazine can be read below or at the provided source link:

Stacey McBride-Irby revolutionizes the doll industry

Posted on October 10, 2014

Katelyn Gendron
Stacey McBride-Irby revolutionizes the doll industry - Lioness Magazine
Stacey McBride-Irby, cofounder of The One World Doll Project Inc., had 15
years invested in corporate America as a project designer at Mattel in
El Segundo, California, before deciding to make a radical career move.

One simple question from the project’s cofounder, Trent T. Daniel, in
2010 changed the landscape of her life’s work with their creation of
the Houston, Texas-based company.

“He asked me what my dream would be and I said to create my own
fashion dolls. This was a huge leap of faith and this was the hardest
choice I ever had to make. I was ready mentally but I wasn’t ready for
the no benefits and paycheck,” McBride-Irby recalled. “The whole
work-life balance with two children was difficult and corporate America
took a lot of my time so I felt like I was growing [professionally] but I
didn’t just want to be a doll designer.”

McBride-Irby spent more than a decade designing dolls for Mattel,
which included many industry staples such as the Disney Princess
Collection and Barbie Career dolls, as well as creating the company’s
first African-American doll line, So In Style, in 2009. Her vision for
the industry, however, stretched further than just doll design and play,
which was why she created The Prettie – an acronym, which stands for
Positive Respectful Enthusiastic Talented Truthful Inspiring Excellent –
Girls! dolls for The One World Doll Project.

“I didn’t want to leave out other nationalities that are overlooked
in the fashion isle. I can’t say all because there are only five
[Prettie Girls!] dolls, but I want to create dolls for girls that don’t
just have blonde hair and blue eyes,” McBride-Irby explained, noting
that the ethnicities – African, African-American, Caucasian, Latina and
South Asian – and physical characteristics are just as important as the
stories behind each of the dolls.

“A basic Barbie doll looks more Caucasian and I wanted girls to know
that it’s OK to embrace your fuller lips, and larger butt and curly
hair,” McBride-Irby said, adding that each doll also stresses the
importance of academics and community service as attendees of the
fictional Dream Academy of Excellence.

“There are so many negative influences out there for our girls and
with a story it makes them more relatable: one loves to cook, one to
recycle, one is spelling bee champ,” she noted.

McBride-Irby credited her time at Mattel, especially her early years
under Kitty Black Perkins, as well as her prior struggles to gain access
into the industry, for her professional and artistic growth.

Stacey McBride-Irby revolutionizes the doll industry - Lioness Magazine
Stacey McBride-Irby

“I got my first job as a design assistant for an entrepreneur and
then I started out as a customer service rep and then a design assistant
and then worked at another fashion job but my jobs were only lasting
for six months to a year. I began to wonder if I had chosen the right
career,” she recalled. “[Working for] Mattel had never even crossed my
mind but I loved toys and playing with Barbie. I cold-called the
designer [Perkins] and got her voicemail and called her again after a

McBride-Irby’s persistence paid off when Perkins brought her in for
two rounds of interviews. “I had never designed a Barbie fashion in my
life and I had to present it to her at my second interview. It was a red
jumpsuit. They never designed jumpsuits for Barbie so it was really an
out-of-the-box experience,” she recalled.

McBride-Irby credited the red jumpsuit design, her time at fashion
trade school and her dedication to the craft for landing the job as an
assistant designer at Mattel, as well as a mentorship under Perkins.

The scope and breadth of her designs have come a long way since her
early days under Perkins, McBride-Irby said, adding that thankfully she
only has to concern herself with the artistic side of the business at
The One World Doll Project, while her cofounder handles the financial

“We always say that we each stay in our own lane and Trent’s lane was
to get funding for the dolls and mine was to get the dolls built and
their sculpting and the fashion. I didn’t have to worry about how to
grow the business and get funding and he didn’t have to worry about the
design,” she explained.

Such delineation allows her to make her own schedule and create
quality time for her husband and their two children, ages 13 and 11.

“You can have it all, you just have to know how to create a balance.
With Mattel it was very difficult and you have to have a support system;
I have my husband and my mom and dad live close,” McBride-Irby said.

“With One World Doll, I am able to work from home and set my own hours …
the kids love me being home. It’s just a balance of support systems and
you create date nights with you and your husband but you need personal
time too.

“I think that women are happier when they are doing what they are
passionate about,” she continued. “I encourage women who have that 9 to 5
to find something on the side and then grow it into the business.”

Source:  Lioness Magazine




  1. That was a great interview. It was nice to hear how she landed the job at Mattel.

    1. I thought the Lioness interview of Stacey was great, too, Vanessa.



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