Toy company Healthy Roots was founded in 2015. The company’s bestselling doll, Zoe, addresses a key lack of representation in toys. Founder Yelitsa Jean-Charles, (RISD ’16, B-Lab ’15) designed Zoe with the aim of teaching and helping children learn to love and care for their hair. Zoe’s curly, naturally textured Black hair can be washed, dried, and styled in a variety of ways. The company also provides over 30 free YouTube tutorials on how to style Zoe, with videos detailing shampooing, sectioning, and comb-outs—alongside more-elaborate lessons on mermaid braids and unicorn bantu knots.
Healthy Roots’ seed funding was led by Backstage Capital, which was joined by Lightship Capital, Broadway Angels, Alpha Bridge, The Community Fund, Sequoia Scout and a group of individuals, including Sahil Lavingia. The startup has now raised a total of $1.5 million in 2021. The doll was featured in New York Times. Zoe can be found in 1200 Target stores nationwide.