The world-famous doll, invented by Mattel co-founder Ruth Handler, continues to be a favorite among young girls as evidenced by a whopping 58 million Barbie sold each year
in 150 countries.
All in all, more than one billion Barbie dolls have been sold since it first appeared at the American Toy Fair in New York on 1959. Inspired by Handler’s daughter named Barbara, Barbie dolls aim to teach girls that they could be anything they want to be and that their career should not be defined by what the
culture dictates. The toy was an instant hit, selling 300,000 dolls in its first year in the market.
Barbie’s rise to fame was not without any controversy as its creators were bombarded by complaints in 1959 over the doll’s body structure which was seen as having unrealistic proportions. From then, Mattel has made many changes – introducing multiple body types and dozens of skin tones.
In 1965, Mattel released an astronaut Barbie while in 1968, the first black Barbie doll named Christie hit the toy stores.
Fast-forward to 2018, Barbie, whose actual identity is Barbie Millicent Roberts from the imaginary town of Willows in the Midwest, did not only remain as one of the beloved toys
in the market but it also dominates the social media proven by its millions of followers.
The brand also launched a sweeping campaign to help young girls close the so-called “Dream Gap” by using Barbie to teach them to believe in themselves, and not to buy into sexist gender stereotypes. The “Dream Gap” is when girls, usually starting at age five, begin to develop limiting self-beliefs so they stop believing their gender can do or be anything.
Barbie in the Philippines
In July 1982, Richwell was awarded the exclusive nationwide distributorship of Mattel Toys. Toys were considered luxury items and importation was difficult at that time. Struggling with product availability and market acceptance, Richwell slowly succeeded in penetrating the market through innovative marketing strategies.
In 1986, Richwell successfully maintained the marketability of its products despite the political and economic instability. Licensing of the Barbietrademark was introduced in 1989 with the Barbie Boutique Character Shop concept, first introduced in Shoemart Makati. In 1989, Richwell received the license to manufacture Barbie Dolls.
In September 2012, Richprime Global Inc., one of the operating units of Richwell Trading Corporation, was established. With its expertise in the children’s market, Richprime has diversified continuously into shoes, mainly children and teens, offering good quality shoes at affordable prices. Richprime is one of the top distributor in toys, baby product and children’s branded shoes.
In celebration of Barbie’s 60th anniversary, Richprime Global Inc., the leading distributor of branded children’s products in the Philippines, awarding Inspiring Women in the Philippines last March 9, 2019 at SM North Edsa The Block.
The event recognize outstanding Filipino women with achievements in the Philippines for serving as an inspiration to little girls through their excellence and accomplishments in their chosen fields.
Further, various iconic places in Metro Manila will be in pink illumination lights to commemorate Barbie’s birthday. Renowned landmarks which will shine bright in pink
include the Rizal Park, the Dancing Fountain, the City Hall and the Post Office in Manila, the Quezon Memorial Circle and the Dancing Fountain in Quezon City, the City Hall – People’s Park in Valenzuela City, pedestrian lanes inside Araneta Center, Cubao and the SM Mall of Asia Globe Centerpiece at Pasay City.