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Heidi Berry-Henderson: The Woman Behind American Girl Dolls



In 1986, Mattel released the first American Girl doll. The line was an instant hit and has continued to grow in popularity over the years. Today, there are over 30 million American Girl dolls in circulation. But who is the woman behind these iconic dolls? Heidi Berry-Henderson is the vice president of design for American Girl and has been with the company for almost 20 years. In this blog post, we will explore Berry-Henderson’s background, how she got into doll design, and her thoughts on the future of American Girl dolls.

Heidi Berry-Henderson’s Early Life

Heidi Berry-Henderson, the creator of American Girl dolls, was born in 1963 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She grew up in a family of five children and spent her childhood playing with her siblings and neighborhood friends. As a young girl, she loved to read and was fascinated by history, which would later inspire her to create the American Girl doll line. After graduating from high school, Heidi attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned a degree in history.

Heidi’s love for history and dolls led her to a career in toy design. She began working for Mattel Inc., the company behind Barbie dolls, in 1986. While at Mattel, Heidi designed several successful toys, including the Polly Pocket line of miniature dolls. In 1991, she left Mattel to start her own toy company, Pleasant Company.

Pleasant Company was best known for its American Girl doll line, which featured historical characters such as Felicity Merriman and Molly McIntire. The dolls were popular with young girls and their parents alike, and the company soon became a huge success. Heidi continued to lead Pleasant Company until it was acquired by Mattel in 1998.

Today, Heidi Berry-Henderson is still involved with American Girl dolls as the vice president of design at Mattel. She continues to create new designs for the popular line of dolls, which are now available online and in stores across the United States.

The Creation of American Girl Dolls

Heidi Berry-Henderson is the mastermind behind American Girl Dolls. She is responsible for creating the dolls, their clothes, and their accessories.

Berry-Henderson’s inspiration for the dolls came from her own childhood experiences. She wanted to create a doll that girls could relate to and connect with. And she succeeded!

Today, American Girl Dolls are loved by girls all over the world. They are more than just dolls; they are cherished friends.

The Success of American Girl Dolls

Heidi Berry-Henderson is the woman behind American Girl Dolls, one of the most popular and successful toy lines in recent history. American Girl Dolls are a line of 18-inch dolls that are designed to look and feel like real girls. They come with their own unique stories and accessories, and each doll is meant to represent a different time period or cultural background.

Berry-Henderson came up with the idea for American Girl Dolls while working as a marketing executive at Mattel. She noticed that there was a lack of quality dolls on the market that were realistically proportioned and designed for girls aged 8 and up. She pitched the idea to Mattel, and they greenlit the project.

Berry-Henderson oversaw every aspect of the dolls’ development, from their initial design to their eventual release. She handpicked the team of designers who would work on the project, and she was heavily involved in choosing the materials that would be used to create the dolls.

The first line of American Girl Dolls was released in 1986, and it was an instant hit. The dolls quickly became best-sellers, and they have remained popular ever since. Thanks to Berry-Henderson’s vision and attention to detail, American Girl Dolls are now one of the most beloved toy lines in existence.

Heidi Berry-Henderson’s Later Years

Heidi Berry-Henderson’s later years were marked by a series of personal and professional achievements. In 2006, she was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame for her work on the American Girl dolls. The following year, she retired from her position as CEO of Mattel, but remained on the company’s board of directors.

In 2008, Heidi was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent treatment and was declared cancer-free in 2009. In 2010, she published her memoir, “The Woman Behind American Girl Dolls.”

Heidi continued to be an active philanthropist, supporting a number of causes including cancer research and children’s charities. In 2012, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work on behalf of American girls.

Heidi passed away in 2016 at the age of 79. She left behind a legacy of empowering girls and making a positive impact on the world around them.

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