COLUMBIA — Barbie has new neighbors, and they care less about fashion and more about faith.
Kerusso, a Christian clothing company based in Berryville, Ark., is offering a wholesome alternative to the many dolls and toys on store shelves today.
At the same time Barbie was planning her 50th birthday celebrations, Kerusso announced its fourth doll in the God's Girlz line, hoping to compete with the iconic figurine.
Lorri Carter, Kerusso vice president of creative development, said the company noticed there were not a lot of contemporary toys for girls. So in September 2008, Kerusso released its God’s Girlz doll line, which currently includes four dolls and two accessory kits.
The company wanted to introduce an alternative to Barbie, which it felt had bad proportions, and to Bratz, which it felt had a bad attitude, said Carter.
According to the Kerusso Web site, “God's Girlz are modest, yet fashionable, and packed with meaningful content designed to encourage thoughtful play.”
The dolls all have a name with a meaning and a specific character. They are a diverse group, each modestly dressed with individual personalities and talents.
- Abigail is a blonde haired, blue-eyed doll whose name means “God of joy.” She is a guitar player dressed in blue jeans and a red shirt with a guitar pick that reads “Pick Jesus.”
- Imani is the newest doll, and she is the fashionista of the group, dressed in a trendy outfit. Her name means “faith.” Her bright green T-shirtproclaims “I’m God’s Girl.”
- Sarah is the dancer in the group. Her name means “princess.” She is dressed for the stage in a tutu and ballet shoes.
- Hannah is ready to head outdoors and enjoy God’s creations in her comfortable hiking clothes and sunglasses. Her name means “grace.”
The T-shirts the dolls wear all have a spiritual saying on them, and a Scripture reference. Sarah’s “Yes, I’m a Princess” shirt, for example, references John 1:12.
Also available are two accessory kits for the dolls. They allow girls to purchase other Kerusso shirts, cell phones, shoes, purses and even pet dogs for their dolls.
Girls are also able to purchase matching shirts from Kerusso, enabling them to dress like their dolls. When shopping online, the matching shirts and accessories come up at the bottom of the page, making it easier for customers to find.
With the current push for more modest and realistic dolls in the market, shown by the newest introduction of Liv and Moxie dolls lines, God’s Girlz also add a spiritual element. Though their accessory lines and options aren’t as vast as those of Barbie dolls, God’s Girlz present young girls with thoughtful content, the company Web site says.
Carter said the dolls are currently being sold in gift and Christian stores, but she hopes to see them available to a wider audience.
“We think it’s a neat alternative,” she said.
Lemstone Parable Christian Store, 2101 W. Broadway, sells the dolls locally.
Khala Stahlschmidt, a sales associate, said the store usually sells all it gets in stock. She said the store usually carries all four dolls.
“They seem pretty cute,” Stahlschmidt said.
Lorri Carter said last year Kerusso sold through its initial stock in around 60 days. She said they had to produce more for the holiday season.