“Any girl you know is so much more than just a princess.” ~Debbie Sterling
Debbie Sterling is the brains behind GoldieBlox, a new line of toys geared towards teaching girls engineering concepts at a young age. She never thought of pursuing engineering as a career until her high school math teacher suggested it. She gave it a try, and ended up with a degree in Mechanical Engineering/Product Design from Stanford University in 2005. She decided to start GoldieBlox because she was always bothered by how few women there were in her program, and wanted to do something about that.
Sterling grew up in a small town in Rhode Island, and talks about how she always played with the traditional “girl toys” as a child. She explains how she did not even know what engineering really was until she was a senior in high school. “They [her parents] never bought me Legos, they didn’t buy me Knex or Lincoln Logs. It didn’t occur to them or me either. These toys develop spatial skills and get kids interested in engineering and science.”
Each product comes with a book and a toy, which allows the girls to go on adventures with Goldie and solve problems by building simple machines. Sterling writes and illustrates all of her stories, and takes inspiration from her grandmother who was one of the first female cartoonists and the creator of “Mr. Magoo”.
The company was first launched in 2012, and rose over 285,000 in 30 days through Kickstarter. After one of her videos went viral, GoldBlox became much more popular in late 2013. It has been featured in several major publications, such as Forbes and The Atlantic.
Before founding GoldieBlox, Debbie Sterling worked as the Marketing Director for Lori Bonn, a jewelry company. For the past two years, she has worked as a brand consultant for several large organizations, including the New York Knicks, Microsoft, and T-Mobile. She also spent 6 months volunteering in rural India. After that, she created the viral video fundraising campaign, “I Want a Goat,” which raised over $30,000 for educational and economic development in that area.