When local mom, Jodi Norgaard, visited the toy store with her ten year old daughter back in 2006, she was shocked at the dolls that were being sold.
“I saw a section that had these dolls that I thought were dressed super inappropriate. They had short crop tops and short skirts and a fur coat and belly button rings and high heeled shoes and big hair and lots of make up,” said Jodi Norgaard, Founder of Go! Go! Sports Girls. “I picked it up just to look at it a little more and to see the name on it, and the name was Lovely Lola and I’m like ‘oh my gosh,’ I was positive there was no parent that wanted their daughter to look like a Lovely Lola.”
This fired a spark in Jodi to create a doll that would send a positive message to young girls, spreading self-appreciation and a healthy lifestyle through the benefits of exercise.
“Sports has been a really important part of my life, just physically and mentally, it’s kind of like my meditation. We need to encourage girls to be healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally through sports and physical activity,” said Norgaard.
After months of sketches, working with seamstresses and sending multiple prototypes to factories; Tennis Girl, modeled after her daughter, was created.
The dolls made their first appearance at the U.S. Open in New York with 500 sold in six days. The success of these dolls, led her to branch out into more sports including soccer, swimming and gymnastics.
To be sure the dolls body types were realistic, Jodi asked her daughter and her friends to be part of the creating.
“Any time one of her friends came over I said ‘oh I got to measure you,’ because I want to make sure these dolls are in correct proportion to a little girl,” said Nogaard.
Jodi debuted her Go! Go! Sports girls at the Toy Fair in New York, and sold every last one.
Amazon and other online websites, were quick to file orders but Wal-Mart’s came with a condition, write six books to go along with six of her dolls.
She did that, loading each book with facts about the sport and healthy tips. This read and play combo soon became a huge hit both nationwide and right here in town, at Anderson’s Bookshop.
“We’re a book store and a toy store and that’s a perfect mix for us to have both of those components. I think that strengthened the product certainly for us, we have tons of series in this section and they’re fairies or pets or magical things, and lots of those things, but no girls sports series, and I think it fills a void of a niche that wasn’t available before,” said Lisa Shorney, Bookseller at Anderson’s Bookshop.
Though these dolls are giving girls who enjoy sports something to identify with, where they really score is with their message.
“Use what’s important on the inside and not focus so much on what’s on the outside. I want all you kids to be healthy and use your brain you know, that’s what gets you far in life,” said Nogaard.
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