This North Texas boy mom is not only a lover a dolls, but a proud alumna of her HBCU, Hampton Unviersity!
Brooke Hart Jones, a third-generation HBCU graduate, had an unlocked passion and talent that was revealed during the pandemic. Jones was a toy buyer for Dave & Busters for almost twelve years before pursuing her newest career endeavor. But, fashion was in her roots.
But I always questioned, like, ‘how did I end up doing this’? Like, I wanted to be in fashion, how did I end up you know, doing that… But I decided after over a decade, I was like, you know, it’s time for me to make a change. I need to do something different. And then the pandemic hit, and I was furloughed.
Jones says that she has always been creative, and with the extra time, she was able to tap into that side of her.
A Birthday Gift Turned Into A New Business Endeavor
During the pandemic, Jones wanted to give her friends daughter a special birthday gift. As a boy mom herself, dolls weren’t on her typical shopping list. And since she loved dolls as a kid, Jones wanted a present she would always remember.
But, as Jones scoured the internet, she learned that the gift she was searching for — a doll highlighting HBCU women — didn’t exist.
I was like, oh, you know, I’ll send her an HBCU doll. And, when I log on, you know, I was like, let me find it, I’ll have it ordered shipped, and couldn’t find it. And I’m like, wait a minute, I know I have seen these before. I know they exist, you know, so I’m searching and searching, but did not find them. And I’m like, do these not exist, you know, these, these should exist. And, just thought it putting the wheels in motion to start the brand, and that was literally three years ago.
Jones created the dolls for women who attended HBCUs or plan to attend HBCUs, and, want to see themselves represented. She also noted that the dolls do not focus on a skin color or heritage, but the culture of HBCUs: majors, career aspirations, leadership and interests.
I knew this idea… I knew it was special. And I knew that it could really impact people. And I would be doing the world a disservice if I didn’t let my insecurities or my shyness or whatever, prevent from putting this out into the masses. So, I really pushed myself to step outside my comfort zone. And it’s a really, it’s really been amazing to see, see it work, you know, so and but I have not done it alone
According to Jones, unlike its competitors, ‘HBCYou Dolls’ are a third of the price of American Girl Dolls.
HBCYou Dolls Inspired By The Creator’s Own Personal Experience & Family
Jones grew up in Oak Cliff, Texas, a suburb outside of Dallas, and attended Campbell High School. She was a cheerleader and class president. And, in college, she majored in business.
The HBCYou Dolls were inspired by Jones’ life: a cheerleader majoring in Physics, a homecoming queen majoring in Pre-Med, a student body president majoring in Political Science and more.
They are meant to inspire kids to work hard to achieve their dreams. And you know, showing that you can work hard and play hard. They all have a story with majors and interests.
As of right now, the dolls only represent seven of the 107 HBCUs: Hampton University, Florida A&M University, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Tuskegee University and Howard University.
But she is hoping to expand to more schools going into 2024, including the schools her father and grandfather went to: Prairie View University and Tennessee State University.
HBCUs are not only black history, but they are a part of American history. And they are powerful tools to help steer that with our children and make sure that’s getting passed down to future generations.
Jones plans to use this brand to continue to represent the women of HBCUs, and hopefully, make HBCYou Dolls a household name.