GoldieBlox – Toy company inspiring little girls to be more than just fairy princesses (USA) - The Next Billion
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GoldieBlox – Toy company inspiring little girls to be more than just fairy princesses (USA)

GoldieBlox – Toy company inspiring little girls to be more than just fairy princesses (USA)

GoldieBlox: Debbie Sterling (USA)

Giving Barbie a run for her money on the ‘pink aisle’.

debbie sterling

We fell in love with GoldieBlox as soon as we saw her. A little girl with mismatched socks and a can-do attitude, she’s the hero of her own story book, and the introduction – for many little girls – to a world of problem-solving, spatial skills building, and ultimately, engineering.

Her creator, Debbie Sterling is a true Renaissance entrepreneur; a Stanford engineering graduate, the writer and designer of the GoldieBlox books and construction toys, and the founder of the GoldieBlox company which aims to ‘inspire the next generation of female engineers’.


Creativity and entrepreneurship clearly run in Debbie Sterling’s family, her grandmother was one of the first female cartoonists (she created Mr Magoo) and Debbie produced the prototype of the GoldieBlox book and game herself. So what drives the woman who wants every girl to be ‘more than just a princess’?

Her first inspiration came when she was volunteering in India in 2008; she created a viral video campaign called ‘I want a goat’ that raised more than $30,000 towards the development of the rural area she was working in. This helped her find the route to her true passion – giving girls the toys that would allow them to enter the world of engineering, whether as a career or just to possess a valuable life-skill.

We’re enthralled by this initiative because GoldieBlox is so much more than just a boys’ construction kit made feminine. Debbie spent several years researching how girls learn, their preferred toys and why they don’t find the average construction kit interesting. Her dedication was so great that she put adverts on Craig’s List, offering free babysitting to anybody with daughters, so she could observe how girls played in a natural environment! Her investigations into cognitive development (which is different in boys and girls) and time spent watching girls play and interact, led to Debbie designing Goldieblox, a story book that contains a problem that can be solved using the component kit provided.

Goldieblox retails between $19.99-$29.99 and is available from ToysRus stores in the USA and online.

From the inception of the GoldieBlox brand in 2012, through to raising more than $285,000 in just 30 days via their Kickstarter crowdfunding, to winning The Editor’s Choice Award at the World Maker Faire in New York that very year, it’s been a soaring success. One reason for that success is Debbie Sterling’s can-do attitude, very much like that of Goldie. She says, “Do the thing you think you cannot do. Don’t be intimidated by things that seem impossible. If you truly have a strong passion, nothing can stop you. Why not go for what you really want?

And what she really wants is to ‘disrupt the pink aisle’, not by making girls play with boys’ toys but by inspiring them to use their innate skills and natural ingenuity to create solutions to engineering problems. As yet she’s not a Mom, but she and her husband have a very clear picture of what it takes to be a Mompreneur, as stated in a blog post from Debbie’s husband, Beau, on the Goldieblox blog in which he says, ‘An apology to my future daughter – I apologize that I haven’t done more to help improve the world for women. I was under the impression that little girls grew up and had the same opportunities as men in the US workforce… I was afraid that being a feminist was not for men. I was afraid that helping little girls might seem creepy. I am done apologizing. I am inspired. I am disrupting the pink aisle. I am joining my wife, Debra Sterling (Mom), on her mission to inspire the next generation of female engineers. I am doing something to make sure my daughter will know that she is more than just a princess.

It seems that Debbie Sterling can inspire almost everyone, and she does so, in her own words by being passionate, “As long as you are so passionate … you wake up every morning and it’s all you want to do, the doors will open, passion will ooze out … people will back you [and] help you. When that happens it’s genuine, and everyone knows it.”

How would you choose to disrupt the pink aisle to give girls an equal chance to develop skills and find opportunities?





Globally Spotted: An article series featuring business ideas that made our hearts jump with excitement. Truly inspiring enterprises invented and founded by mums and female entrepreneurs from all over the world.


Babou Olengha-Aaby

Babou is the founder of The Next Billion

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