Sister Team Launches Fashion Doll Brand to To Close Gender Gap in STEM Fields

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iBesties is a collection of Dolls, Books and Online “Edutainment” that promotes Entrepreneurship and Technology Learning for girls 6-11.

iBesties: Books and Dolls that Empower Girls

iBesties was developed to flip the tables on the idea of “conventional” careers for women and demonstrate to young girls everywhere that the sky is the limit when it comes to positions in typically male-driven industries.

iBesties today announced the launch of its Kickstarter campaign for a collection of books, dolls and online “edutainment” that promotes entrepreneurship and technology learning for girls 6-11. Through the characters and their stories girls learn basic business and technology concepts and terminology, while keeping it fun and age appropriate. Seeking to inspire girls from all areas and backgrounds, iBesties characters are diverse in culture, personality and talents and come from backgrounds that include blended, bi-racial, military and single-parent households. Product assortments for the iBesties brand will include a book series, assortment of six dolls based on characters in the book and a website featuring coding and business games.

Founded by sisters, Jenae and Gina Heitkamp, iBesties was developed to flip the tables on the idea of “conventional” careers for women and demonstrate to young girls everywhere that the sky is the limit when it comes to positions in typically male-driven industries. “When I was growing up I was encouraged to go into more conventional careers” founder Jenae Heitkamp says. “It wasn’t until graduate school that I learned about business, start-ups and the technology that is required to be successful in today’s world. Now that I have a daughter of my own I want her to learn about these topics as early as possible.”

Sadly, statistics of women in business and technology continue to alarm. Research shows that less than 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women and under 3% of venture funding is allotted toward female-owned companies. Additionally, women are highly underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) technology careers, comprising only 13% of all engineers and 25% of computer scientists. iBesties aims to change these statistics. Studies shows that what children see in their toys and media have a direct result on what careers they think they can have as an adult. Essentially, “you can’t be what you can’t see.” iBesties shows girls that they can enter technology fields, run their own business and be CEOs.

iBesties is launching a 45-day Kickstarter campaign on June 15st, 2015. Funds raised will be allocated towards the first major run of the doll products, as well as expansion of both the online and book offerings. For more information on the Kickstarter campaign, please visit: http://kck.st/1JSwV0D

About iBesties
iBesties is a book, dolls and online “edutainment” company based in Southern California. Founded by sisters, Jenae and Gina Heitkamp, iBesties was developed to flip the tables on the idea of “conventional” careers for women and demonstrate to young girls everywhere that the sky is the limit when it comes to careers in entrepreneurship and technology. The inspiration for iBesties is rooted in a deep interest and commitment to provide girls with stories and toys that are both fun and aspirational.

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Stephanie Holbrook

Gina Heitkamp
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