Believe it or not, Barbie originally was a real person. Her name was Barbara (Barbie) Handler and her mother and father were Ruth and Elliot. In the early 1950's, Barbie's mother watched her and her girlfriends play with adult female dolls more than they did the baby dolls. Her mother knew it was just as important for young girls to imagine what it would be like to be grown up. Since most of the adult dolls available at that time were paper or cardboard, Barbie's mother decided to make a three-dimensional female adult doll.
One that was lifelike enough to serve as an inspiration for little girl's dreams of the future. She took her ideas to the ad executives at the Mattel Corp., the company that she and Barbie's father had founded in the garage many years prior. The all male committee rejected the idea saying it would be too expensive and with little market appeal to the mass. She had gone on a trip to Europe and returned with a Lillie doll, modeled after a character in a German comic strip. She then spent lots of time designing a doll (Barbie) to resemble Lillie and even hired a clothing designer to make realistic clothes. The result was the Barbie Doll. Mattel finally agreed to back her efforts and Barbie debuted at the American Toy Fair in New York City in 1959.
Girls went wild over her and set a new sales record for Mattel the very first year at 351,000 sold at .00 each. Since then the Barbie Doll's popularity has rarely waivered and today, with over one billion of her lookalikes sold, the product line is one of the most successful in the history of the toy industry. As you can see, Barbie was blonde with a pony tail, zebra-striped swimsuit, open toed shoes, sunglasses and earrings. Barbie had lots of accessories available. The silly buyers at the industry's annual Toy Fair in New York were not impressed but the little girls sure were! That's all it took to take the retailers by storm! Mattel was so swamped with orders that it took several years for supply to catch up with demand! And now you know the rest of the Barbie History.