Shaper: Ian Harkin

Ian Harkin is CEO of Lottie Dolls, a collectible diverse range of premium quality small dolls that are designed to look like children rather than adults. The company champions the importance of childhood and the fact that children’s voices should be heard.

Since launching, Lottie dolls has challenged the toy industry with regards to body image, gender stereotypes, diversity in ability and ethnicity. Lottie has particularly been promoting STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) to girls who are underrepresented in the STEM fields. A partnership with the European Space Agency saw the company send their Stargazer Doll to the International Space Station for 264 days alongside British astronaut Tim Peake. Winning 35 international toy awards to date, the dolls are on sale in over 30 countries worldwide.

“We looked at how children were missing out on their childhood and growing up too soon.”

“Academic research has discovered that certain brands of fashion dolls leave you with body image issues later in life.”

“We got a lot of courage from the first doll we brought to market, which was the Kate Middleton doll.”

“A lot of the ideas that we use to develop into products are coming from children.”

“We wanted to target diversity and ethnicity as key areas of development for the dolls.”

“The dolls are tactile, and get kids to actually start conversations about social situations.”

“We empower people.”

“We want children to create their own world.”

“We don’t want to be building big large plastic doll houses, we want children to create their own.”