The Downtown Detroit Winter Markets opened for the 2019 season on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

For the third year in a row, the Quicken Loans Community Fund and Bedrock have joined forces to bring back the Downtown Detroit Winter Markets, which opened for the 2019 season on Wednesday, Nov. 13.  The markets allow residents and visitors to shop with unique food, apparel, jewelry, textile decor and specialty vendors while supporting local Detroit entrepreneurs during the holiday season.

Here, you can learn about how each of the 2019 Downtown Detroit Market vendors got their start and all about their unique products and offerings. The markets are open in Cadillac Square, across from Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit, Wednesday-Saturday from 11 .m.-8 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. from now until early January.

FOOD VENDORS

Detroit Dough

Detroit dough takes the guilt out of a guilty pleasure – eating delicious, creamy cookie dough! The Detroit-based dough factory churns out five flavors of their safe-to-eat treats, serving them up at locations all across southeastern Michigan. Now, they’re bringing their talents – and tasty delicacies – to the Downtown Detroit Winter Markets.

Victoria Washington, the co-founder and COO, said she and CEO Autumn Kyles really wanted to bless the Motor City with something it hadn’t seen before. So they put their heads together and came up with a cookie dough product that “you can actually eat without getting your hands swiped.”

“Being a Detroit business owner is really special to us at Detroit Dough because we’ve committed five percent of all sales to give back to a nonprofit, Northwest Goldberg Cares, who is our 501c3 partner,” Washington said. “We give back five percent of all sales to go back into the neighborhood of Northwest Goldberg, and that’s critical for us because, as a Detroit resident and as a mom, I’m raising my daughter here. It’s beautiful to know that our business is doing good for the residents and the home that we love.”

Detroit Dough offers five flavors – chocolate chip, hold my chip (essentially chocolate chip without the chips), sugar, brownie and peanut butter.

Washington added: “When we first started, we wanted to open up a brick-and-mortar store, but as we began to do pop-ups, we realized that was a pretty hard momentum to maintain so we pivoted to become a food manufacturer. That’s been going great, but we still have this itch to do retail. Being in the markets downtown will allow us back into that a space and provide an opportunity to service the public in that way. It’s also awesome to be able to meet up with other entrepreneurs to talk about shared goals and some of the pain points, so that just helps us to grow and continue to strengthen the Detroit ecosystem as well for entrepreneurs.”

Eli Tea

Tea culture isn’t a thing in most parts of America, but Elias Majid is trying to change that, one cup at a time.

Majid is the owner of Eli Tea, a modern tea café and specialty shop with a flag ship store in downtown Birmingham. He’s been able to turn his love for botany into a full-fledged lifestyle where he blends more than 120 varieties of loose-leaf tea without using high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors that are used in so many other tea blends.

“Our collection of 100 teas are ethically sourced from around the world including some American grown herbals like lavender and mint. All of the loose leaf teas are also available for purchase in bulk from our tea wall. My goal is to offer our customers a modern tea experience by supplying good, natural tea, brewed to order, in a casual, well-designed environment,” he said.

Majid, a past Quicken Loans Demo Day winner, said he’s excited about continuing his relationship with Quicken Loans, Bedrock and the Family of Companies with this unique opportunity to be a part of the Downtown Detroit Markets.

“I welcome you to come in and experience a good cuppa’ tea.”

Good Cakes and Bakes

When April Anderson was 9 years old, she baked her first cake and ever since, she’s been pouring love, heart and soul into everything she creates at her Detroit-based company, Good Cakes and Bakes.

“We sell all-organic, all-natural baked goods – cakes, cookies, brownies. We do vegan options, like carrot cake and pound cake now, too. In 2010, I went back to school to get a degree in pastry arts because I wanted to figure out more complicated recipes that needed some education behind or to accomplish.”

With recipes inspired by her mom and grandmother, Anderson has been able to put a smile on thousands of customers’ faces with her award-winning baked goods, creating great baked goods and helping further the revitalization of Detroit.

Beyond her amazing food, Anderson’s business serves a more altruistic mission, too.

“Since we’ve opened the bakery, we’ve provided 23 jobs to Detroiters, and we put an emphasis on hiring re-entering citizens. That means we’re able to put money back into the community, especially people coming home from prison, and we put an emphasis on hiring and training to bake. It teaches a lifelong skill, helps curb recidivism and helps solve some of the problems that exist in the city,” she said.

As a winner of Quicken Loans’ Detroit Demo Days, Anderson was the recipient of a $200,000 grant that helped her expand her shop on the Detroit’s historic Avenue of Fashion. She sees the Winter Markets as a continued measure of support and a way to continue to spread smiles and goodwill to residents and visitors of Detroit.

“The continued support from Quicken Loans and Bedrock means that they’re always looking out for us and always bringing great opportunities for us as a business. The markets are important for Detroit because it allows entrepreneurs to touch customers who they otherwise wouldn’t be able to touch,” Anderson said. “It allows customers to see the vast variety of businesses that are in the city of Detroit that they might not have the opportunity to know about, other than being downtown in the market.”

Lush Yummies Pie Company

The dictionary defines the word lush as very rich and providing great sensory pleasure. No better word could describe the pies that owner Jennifer Lyle produces at the Lush Yummies Pie Company.

“We sell our signature lemon butter pie, and that was inspired by my late grandfather who used to make these pies with his mother on their farm in Birmingham, Alabama. We also offer peach butter pies, apple berry butter pies and our new holiday favorite, which is our breakfast pie,” Lyle said.

The company has been selling these delectable treats from their Detroit bakery for more than four years using locally sourced ingredients and a fourth-generation recipe. Lyle said she recalls taking trips to the market with her grandfather to pick out the ingredients he used to make his famous lemon butter pie. She said she would watch him smell the lemons, roll them around in his hands, and even put them up to their ear as he said: “They’ll tell you when they’re ready.”

Stories like that helped fuel Lyle’s love for baking and sharing great stories over even better treats. Thanks to her passion and dedication, the company was recently selected as one of the Quicken Loans Demo Day winners and Lyle is excited for the chance to set up shop in the Downtown Detroit Winter Markets.

“We are a pie company, and so the holiday season is our biggest season,” Lyle said. To be able to have this stage with the Winter Markets – it will just put us in a position where we have so much more exposure for foot traffic that we may not have had on our own. I think this can really set my business over the top.”

Mongers’ Provisions

Cut-to-order cheese, craft chocolate and charcuterie are at the crux of what makes Mongers’ Provisions special. Co-owners Zach Berg and Will Werner began their journey from life-long foodies to entrepreneurship in 2017 when they opened two retail locations in Ferndale and Detroit and turned these delicacies into everyday must-haves.

“We sell cheese, chocolate, charcuterie, and all the accompaniments that would go with making a beautiful cheese board or a nice spread, and we’re passionate about selling those products because they tell you a lot about culture, history, geography and they’re delicious,” Berg said.

In addition to selling their hand-crafted products, the shop is also known for producing the most mouth-watering grilled cheeses in the city at their brick-and-mortar retail locations and pairing them with their extensive selection of beer and wine.

Berg said he hopes the opportunity to participate in the 2019 Winter Markets will serve as a way to introduce their products to a new customer base in the booming downtown market.

“To be downtown and to have a space physically in downtown Detroit means an opportunity to introduce ourselves to a really large number of people. There are so many people streaming in to do their holiday shopping, or who happen to work downtown, and it’s a great way to let people know we’re here, hopefully let them know we have a space in Cass Corridor in Midtown, and drive traffic to that location while letting everyone know we have some really delicious stuff for the holidays, too.”

APPAREL, JEWELRY & TEXTILES VENDORS

Awanya

Detroit’s artist community is rich and storied, so Asia Sikkila feels right at home with her Detroit-grown business Awanya. Since starting in 2001, Sikkila has been making and selling home décor and wearable art from her studio and in Detroit’s Eastern Market.

“I’m an artist who uses fiber and textiles, and I make home décor and wearable art using handwoven, hand-dyed textiles and fabrics from around the world,” she said. “I’ve always been an artist since I was a little girl and I’ve made all kinds of art and used different mediums, and jewelry was one of my first loves.”

Sikkila left Detroit when she was 18 to live in West Africa, where she fell in love with fabrics the textiles and started sewing. Once she got a sewing machine, everything changed and that’s what prompted her to begin selling textiles, fabrics and handmade jewelry.

“It’s really good to wear things that are natural and that take a process, and there’s actually a story to it, so I love using my textiles. They’re handwoven using natural plant-based dyes and fermented mead and things that are close to the earth. So that’s what continues to inspire me, is to use these natural fibers and create wearable art that are one of a kind, and pieces for your home that have a story to tell.”

She’s excited for the opportunity to be a part of the Downtown Detroit Winter Markets because it will allow her the opportunity to reach such a wide, diverse crowd and audience.

“It’s been really fun to meet people from all over the world coming down to Detroit now.”

Detroit Fiber Works

As the co-owner of Detroit Fiber Works, Mandisa Smith’s store offers unique, handcrafted adornments for body and home in a range of mediums and price points. The adornments are produced by Smith, her fellow co-owner and other local artists.

Fiber art, an art that became popular in the 1960s, is a technique of creating fabric and then creating objects out of that fabric, all at the same time.

“It’s really magical,” Smith said. “We sell work by local artists and we have a gallery space, so we feature Detroit artists and their work, and we’re also a learning space that teaches fiber art techniques and invite other artists to come and teach as well.”

Smith said she’s looking forward to the unique opportunity to partner with Bedrock and the Quicken Loans Community Foundation to be one of the 2019 Winter Market Vendors because of how much the markets add to the overall vibrancy of Detroit and builds local entrepreneurs.

“This is the most amazing opportunity that we’ve had to date. We do have a brick and mortar and it’s on Livernois (in Detroit), but there’s a major construction project going on there now which has diminished business for everyone on the avenue,” she said.

“So being downtown is an opportunity for us to hopefully to grow our market so people who shop with us downtown come to Livernois after the holidays and continue to be our customer.”

important to the city of Detroit in whole because it allows entrepreneurs who might not have the opportunity to have a brick and mortar in the city, to touch customers who they otherwise wouldn’t be able to touch. It allows customers to see the vast variety of businesses that are in the city of Detroit that they might not have the opportunity to know about, other than being downtown in the market.

Ferosh Chick

Self-expression is always a primary focus in Sarah Buckhannon life. Growing up, she found that the lack of diversity in women’s clothing retailers was a major roadblock, but instead of being stopped, she found a way to conquer that challenge. Seven years ago, she took matters into her own hands by starting a women’s apparel line and launching her business, Ferosh Chick.

The high-quality, unique and affordable clothing at Ferosh Chick was designed to inspire. With a wide range of distinct tops, sweaters, cardigans and dresses, Buckhannon said she’s excited about highlighting items that allow women to showcase their individual styles and personalities.

“Some of the products I’m most excited about would be the sweaters. I have a lot of different textures and patterns this season,” she said.

Having the ability to sell her apparel and connect in the Winter Markets with people who’ve had similar experiences is something that is very meaningful to her.

“It’s an amazing opportunity, and I think it’s good to mingle with likeminded people – people that are in your shoes and know what it’s like to be an entrepreneur,” she said.

Buckhannon said she feels very lucky to have been chosen to participate in the Winter Markets and is thankful for the support that Bedrock and the Quicken Loans Community Foundation have provided. She also recognizes the significance of bringing people together through events such as the Winter Markets.

“I think that it’s very important to bring in small business owners and a lot of different brands that aren’t well-known because I feel that, these days, a lot of shoppers like to shop small – and that’s important to incorporate into the downtown Detroit growth,” said Buckhannon.

Ohana House

When Christy Sheppard decided to create her own business, she always knew she wanted it to be centered around a popular Hawaiian concept: ohana, which translates to family.

As the owner of Ohana House, a gift shop and boutique with local flavor, Sheppard set out to build her business with a strong focus on home, warmth, family and gift-giving – a true representation of the ohana mindset. From jewelry, t-shirts, hats, notebooks and much more, many of the products that Sheppard handpicks to sell in her shop in Grosse Ile are Michigan-made or Michigan-themed. With her presence in the Downtown Detroit Markets, Sheppard is excited to present some of her favorite products to a wider audience this holiday season.

“In my hut in the Downtown Detroit Markets, I have these really neat earrings that have done really well so far. They’re actually wood, and they’re made by a little girl who’s 13. She’s from Michigan, and they’re called 3D Grace,” said Sheppard. “Michigan products are still doing really well because people love our state, so it’s always great to offer those to people. Another one of my favorite products in the store, and in here, are mugs made by Mooreville Pottery; they’re made in Milan, Michigan, and they’re some really nice people and really cool mugs.”

The opportunity to be featured in the Downtown Detroit Markets is special to Sheppard because she sees this experience as an opportunity to not only help propel her business forward, but to continue to connect with members of the entrepreneur community, as well as many others in the Detroit area.

“I think that just like the other people here, what I have to offer has value because behind my products, behind cute merchandise, is a person just like in other small businesses. I’m a person and I have a family, and it means more than just shopping. It’s really what creates the fabric of a city—all these little pieces coming together. And here I am, I’m included in that, so I think it’s really cool,” she said.

Inkcourage

What started three years ago as a simple way to encourage friends and family quickly became a movement to empower a generation.

“It all started when my friend was going through a tough time, so I was trying to figure out what to do, what to say. I thought if she had encouraging words then it would help her get through a tough time,” said Andrea Zelenak, owner of Inkcourage.

Inkcourage sells products that remind people of the power of positivity. From temporary tattoos to stickers, buttons and apparel, Zelenak sells products that embody uplifting and empowering messages.

“We actually hold focus groups, so we come up with a list of things that we feel like are really current and then we ask a group of people which phrases they identify with most and where they would want to wear those,” she said. “So, if that would work best in a tattoo, or if that would work best in a t-shirt, we just try to get an idea from our customers.”

When Inkcourage began, Zelenak’s plan was to make her products available online, but the more popular her brand became, the more she wanted to test out the viability of a brick-and-mortar location. She said the Downtown Detroit Winter Markets provided her the best opportunity to see how well she could do in a retail location.

“I’m really excited about being an entrepreneur in Detroit just because it’s just a really thriving city and I think it’s really cool to have an opportunity like this to be able to sell downtown and connect with people,” she said.

KaraLyn Street

Rachelle Rochowiak has an entrepreneurial spirit – one that allowed her to turn a part-time hobby into a full-fledged business.

Rochowiak, along with her best friend and partner Stephanie Madrowski, started KaraLyn Street nearly three years ago when Rochowiak was a stay-at-home mom to her then-2-year-old son. Together, the pair designs and makes are handcrafted jewelry for women.

“This started as a way to give me some kind of hobby and a little bit of income to help support my family. And once Stephanie taught me, my creative juices just started flowing and I absolutely loved designing and making, and it’s now become our passion,” Rochowiak said.

“We have a lot of pieces that don’t have a clasp, so all you do is wrap it around your neck or wrap it around your wrist and you’re ready to head out for the day – to go to work, whether you’re a stay-at-home mom running around with your kids, or we have pieces that are versatile so you can wear them for special occasions as well.”

Rochowiak said they’ve already built a strong network in Detroit and around the state, and they’re using the Downtown Detroit Markets as an opportunity to expand that network and grow their clientele.

“This opportunity is going to help tremendously. We actually decided in 2010 when we lived with each other that we wanted to open a boutique and have a brick-and-mortar, so once this opportunity came, we were thrilled,” she said. “My aunt owned a boutique when I was a little girl, and when I walked into her boutique I said to myself that this is what I want to do, this would be my dream to own my own shop and to be able to share my passion and style with everyone.”

SMPLFD

In 2007, Justin Fishaw and his business partners accidentally started a business that would eventually grow to become something bigger than they imagined. Today, it stands as SMPLFD, a streetwear store and production house, but 11 years ago, it started out as an idea that stemmed from designing soccer jerseys.

“At the time, we managed a soccer retail store where we were producing hundreds of thousands of jerseys, and we really couldn’t find anything to wear. We had the resources in front of us, so we pooled our money and made two designs, 40 of each shirt. And they’re funny to look back on now, because it was nothing I would ever wear, but it taught us how to hustle,” said Justin.

Since then, SMPLFD has evolved into a full-fledged design agency, streetwear brand and custom screen-printing company, specializing in wearables, merchandise, accessories and graphic design. Fishaw said the inspiration for SMPLFD’s designs come from Detroit’s culture, as well as the iconography and symbols that have made Detroit what it is.

“We introduced a lot of humor into our products and do a play on common themes around the city, and then put that in a wearable or an experience that we usually host in one of our spaces,” said Fishaw.

“The items themselves are a vehicle for what we do. So we’re passionate about the culture and what we drive through the experiences, whether that’s someone feeling our t-shirt, wearing our t-shirt, seeing our t-shirt – and then the collaborative events that we hold in our space, that we do to bring everyone together in an inclusive environment.”

The small business community in Detroit has been welcoming and supportive to Justin and SMPLFD, and he is eagerly anticipating this opportunity to showcase his products in the Detroit Winter Markets, backed by Bedrock and the Quicken Loans Community Foundation.

“Quicken Loans and Bedrock have done the hard work of creating the environment downtown that drives people here – which, when they include other small businesses outside their world, allows us all to reap the rewards of the hard work they’ve done. Then we can give back through giving their shoppers a product or a service or an experience that they enjoy, which, I think, works in a cyclical manner where we all end up supporting each other,” Justin said.

Wild Little Fawns

Colleen Salami’s business, Wild Little Fawns, is less than a year old, but she’s already made an impression in the Detroit Metro Area because of the quality and unique nature of her products.

“My products are nature-inspired clothing items for littles and mamas, and we curate our clothing from around the world. We have products from New Zealand, Australia, England and we ship them from Michigan,” Salami said.

“What inspired me is I actually worked in corporate America about two years ago. Long story short, my office closed, they were moving to Florida, I was not going, I was seven months pregnant with my daughter and I wanted to do something that I dreamed of all my life, and this is what I wanted to do.”

Salami said that in this pivotal stage of growth for her company, she’s thankful to be able to partner with Bedrock and Quicken Loans to be a part of the Downtown Winter Markets.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to be working with Quicken Loans and Bedrock because, for them to give us this platform to showcase our businesses, and we are such small businesses right now, so it’s just an amazing opportunity to work with them,” she said. “Spaces like Detroit mean a lot to people coming in. There is such a cute lodge, there are games, drinks, music. My kids came last year and they loved it – staying in the Cadillac Lodge for hours playing the little chess games, so it’s just a great opportunity for people to come check it out.”

DECOR VENDORS

Dutton Farm Market

Entrepreneurship isn’t just about building a business for profit, and Dutton Farm Market is a prime example of why building a business for more than profit is good for a bottom line and for the good of public good.

“I have many good friends that have developmental disabilities and the unemployment rate in that community is 85 percent. The risk for living in poverty and being excluded is significantly higher than those without disabilities, so I wanted to use the power of business to create jobs and give adults with disabilities the chance to achieve their dreams,” said Jenny Brown, who opened Dutton Farm Market four years ago.

At her shop, Brown employs people with disabilities. They help make, market and sell natural bath and body products including soaps, candles, sugar scrubs with body balms and the inspiration behind these products is all about the idea of social entrepreneurship.

“My favorite part about being an entrepreneur here is that Detroit is the coolest city in the world, and Detroiters support scrappy hustlers who are trying to make a difference in the world. So, when you come with a new idea or a new business or wanting to change the world, people get behind you,” Brown said.

Makamashi

Ida Rajabian started her business Makamashi in 2018 when she wanted to bring a taste of fashion-forward Moroccan home décor to the Motor City. The Copenhagen native moved to Detroit five years ago and, through that process, rediscovered how important it is to feel like she had a base and to feel at home in her actual space.

“I fell in love with decorating again once I moved here,” she said. “I traveled to Morocco – where I had been many times before – and I was shopping there when I realized there was going to be a limit to how much I could bring home. But there were just so many amazingly handmade things I wanted to share with Detroit.”

Specifically, Rajabian said Morocco produces really great textiles and ceramics, with a level of craftsmanship that can’t be matched.

“I really care a lot about the aesthetics of my home, but of course the feeling and concept of home is so much more than your physical space – it’s being involved with your community and having that sense of groundedness and belonging, and that’s my favorite part about what I help bring to my customers,” she said.

Rajabian is excited to bring her products to the Downtown Detroit Markets this season and hopes that this opportunity can lead to bigger ones in the future.

“When I started my business, I was very set on being online only, but as I’ve been doing pop-ups and been in touch more with the local community, I’ve really enjoyed the in-person connection, so I’m very excited about having a longer time period to experience that and connect with the community and my customer base,” she said. “The opportunity to be in a retail space during this holiday season means that I get a chance to feel out the market and see if there is any interest for a brick and mortar.”

The Vintage Wick

Teresa Ciavattone says there’s nothing more relaxing than kicking your feet up and winding down with the calming scents of a great candle. That was part of the reason she created her boutique candle shop, The Vintage Wick.

“I was inspired by my love for vintage and antique homewares. I also make incense and smudge sticks out of sage, Mugwort, Yerba Santa – all kinds of great stuff that I grow,” she said.

Ciavattone’s unique line of all-natural, vegan, hand-poured wax candles incorporates a proprietary coconut wax blend and cotton-core wicks, and she produces more than 35 regular and seasonal scents that are both non-toxic and free of carcinogen-producing paraffin.

“At my shop is in Ferndale, I have 40 other artists that I work with, so they’re constantly inspiring me, pushing me to be better and do better – so I love that and want to bring that energy to the Downtown Detroit Markets,” she said.

Ciavattone is excited about the opportunity to introduce her products to a new audience during the market season and sees the markets as a steppingstone toward opening a retail location in Detroit.

“Partnering with Quicken Loans and Bedrock a huge for a small business like mine. These markets are really important for the city because they’re bringing in everybody from the Metro Detroit Area and it’s helping with growth and it’s helping the city flourish.”

 

SPECIALTY VENDORS

3 Dogs 1 Cat

Tammy Eugenio, Cyndee Mair and Trisha Stander have an important message for gift-givers this holiday season: Don’t forget the furry members of your family!

As the founders of 3 Dogs 1 Cat, the all-woman trio launched their business since 2012 to provide quirky gifts that set tails wagging and put smiles on the faces of every pet owner.

“I think what inspires us, and continues to inspire us, is our customers and how they bring in their ideas and challenges they have with their pets,” said Mair. “As our name implies, we have some great quirky products for dogs and cats, but we’ve recently moved forward into the pet-lover products so the gifts are now for both our fur friends and for the people who love them.”

At the markets, 3 Dogs 1 Cats sells treats, toys, leashes, collars, pet carriers and branded apparel for pets’ human counterparts, too. But the mission of 3 Dogs 1 Cat expands beyond retail

“We also do Sunday adoptions at our shop in Eastern Market and we’ve gotten great feedback for different animal rescues that don’t have a building, so these are more foster-based, and we have seen these dogs get adopted and come back. We’ve seen them grow, and so we really feel like we’ve been able to give back to the community in that way,” Eugino said.

Eugenio, Mair and Stander are especially looking forward to taking their mission and products to a new stage, reaching many more pet lovers in the Detroit Winter Markets.

“I think any time you can give anybody this opportunity, whether you’re baking goods or creating something, or you have a store like us, you’re giving a platform to people who would never have had that opportunity. It’s also something that we, as a group, realize how much of a benefit word-of-mouth and social media are to helping grow our business. We’re so proud to be a part of it, and we hope that we have some great products that you’ll like for your dogs and cats,” Strander added.

Healthy Roots Dolls

As the CEO of Healthy Roots Dolls, Yelitsa Jean-Charles set out to help empower young girls to feel comfortable and proud to be themselves – something with which Yelitsa deeply connects.

“I was inspired to create Healthy Roots Dolls because of my own experience growing up. I never had a doll that looked like me,” she said. “Sixty-five percent of the world’s population has curly or wavy hair, and only four out of ten girls love their curls. I know the impact that children’s media has on kids – toys influence how you think, act and see yourself. So when little girls can’t find dolls that look like them, it negatively impacts their self-esteem,” said Yelitsa.

The Detroit-based company began producing their unique dolls in 2015 with the goal of body and hair positivity reflected in a doll. The products quickly became a national phenomenon, and, among other accolades, Healthy Roots was one of the 2019 Quicken Loans Demo Day winners.

“Being part of the Detroit Winter Markets is incredibly value for Healthy Roots Dolls, not just because people get to see the product face-to-face, but because we get to meet the people,” said Yelitsa. “One of the things you have to be when creating toys is loving kids. I’ve been at events where we’re talking to parents, and they’re talking about how difficult it is to find products that they feel empower their kids and represent them positively. So being able to talk about Healthy Roots Dolls and making sure girls love themselves just the way they are – the fact that no one should feel less than, just because of the texture of their hair or the color of their skin – is incredibly valuable to us.”

In addition to its signature Zoe doll, Healthy Roots Dolls also offers the Curl Care Kit, a haircare line designed in partnership with Proctor & Gamble’s “My Black is Beautiful.” With the message and the power of this partnership, Yelitsa hopes the message behind the creation of Zoe resonates with young girls for generations to come.