Sharmi Albrechtsen introduced the Sharks to Smartgurlz, dolls that rode scooters and would teach young girls coding- a necessary skill in today’s world. Sharmi introduced this line of dolls when she realized that there were educational toys available that would teach her young girls something of value. Most of the robots in the market were made for boys and mainly focused on fighting and shooting.
Taking matters into her own hands, Sharmi decided to work with a toy most young girls loved playing with- dolls. She created fashionable dolls that rode robotic bikes with a secret incentive- they would teach young girls how to code with the help of a mobile application.
Moreover, every doll was made in a way that has its personality and character. Some dolls were mathematicians, while others were computer hackers and chemists. Each robotic toy had a mission that followed a storyline and adventure series so that girls could role play and remain interested in Smartgurlz.
Sharmi spent days and months on Smartgurlz to drive the market away from drones and robots and introduce something explicitly geared towards girls. Keeping in mind the shortage of engineers in the United States and the male-dominated workforce, she wanted to create toys that would help girls become interested in math, engineering, technology, and science.
She introduced these coding robots in Europe first and gave out 4,000 units for individuals to test out. She was able to amaze her audience, and soon, people worldwide showed interest in Smartgurlz. In fact, Smartgurlz was completely sold out within a short span of time. To help grow her company, Sharmi made her way to Shark Tank and hoped to receive an investment of $200,000 in exchange for 5 percent equity in her company.
She showed the Sharks her dolls and then told them about a Sugarcoded propriety application that would allow girls to code. Even though the toys have a learning curve, they are built for young girls who will, without a doubt, learn to use the dolls with practice. Moreover, children can also input their own commands into the application.
In the six months that Smartgurlz has been around, it has made $250,000 in sales. Sharmi took part in the World’s Toy Fair with six dolls, and by the end of the event, there were 300 companies interested in her prototypes. She used this interest to secure agreements and funds that would help make Smartgurlz more popular. Since then, she has been selling her product through Amazon and different retailers and distributors. Smartgurlz can also be purchased directly from the company’s website for $79.99. This creates a huge profit margin for the company, especially since each doll takes $18 to manufacture.
All the Sharks love Smartgurlz, but apart from Daymond, they are not interested in investing in the product. Daymond offers Sharmi $200,000 in exchange for 30 percent equity in the company but eventually settles for 25 percent after Sharmi counter-offers him.
Our Review of Smartgurlz
Smartgurlz makes toys specifically for girls that do not only focus on fashion. While boys get to play with a variety of toys, including cars, drones, and robots, from a young age, girls are not given the same privilege.
Due to this, they tend to believe that they are not as bright as boys. A clear proof is the male-dominated engineering field in the US. However, with Smartgurlz, young girls have a chance to discover their capabilities.
Pros of Smartgurlz
Smartgurlz encourages women to learn coding and engineering, subjects that men have dominated for several years. This is because 95 percent of all robotic toys in the marketplace have been marketed toward boys, which is why there are not many women in the fields of engineering and computer science.
However, Smartgurlz aims to change this- it exposes young girls to toys that will help develop their brains and give them the confidence to choose whatever field they want to go towards.
The best part about Smartgurlz is that it works with a product that young girls are fond of- dolls. However, instead of introducing ordinary dolls, Smartgurlz encourages young girls to play with robotic dolls that will also teach them how to code. The application Smartgurlz uses plays with verbal communication, allowing girls to tell stories and role play. These dolls show young girls that they can be mechanical engineers, doctors, computer hackers, chemists, and anything else they want to be in life.
We love that Smartgurlz dismisses the idea that only boys can play with certain toys and aim for specific careers. Sharmi, the founder of Smartgurlz, noticed that all the drones and robots in the market were blue in color and recognized the need for toys that would allow females to feel empowered. Smartgurlz squashes the mindset that only nerds can code. Instead, it shows that world that playing and learning are interlinked, and if girls are taught well at a young age, they can surprise the world.
Cons of Smartgurlz
Reviews show that the software Smartgurlz uses has loads of technical errors that make it difficult for parents to set up.
Parents have complained that even though the idea behind Smartgurlz is excellent, the toy itself is challenging to set up and link to the software, especially since it needs to be restarted repeatedly, which causes young girls to lose interest in the toy quickly.
Who is Smartgurlz for?
Smartgurlz is for young girls who like playing with dolls. It is for parents who want their girls to achieve whatever they want and squash the idea that some careers are male-dominated and have no space for women.
Are there Any Alternatives?
There are no alternatives to Smartgurlz in the market yet.
Our Final Thoughts
We are inspired by Smartgurlz and appreciate the idea behind the company. We cannot wait for Smartgurlz to expand and make girl-centric toys that will encourage young girls to pursue fields and careers that men have dominated for centuries.