Over many years Barbie, that cute little doll, has taken on many roles. She’s worked at “pink-collar” occupations such as candy-stripper, ballerina, aerobics instructor, nurse, flight attendant and model. Barbie has been a doctor and various kinds of chefs including a cookie chef, sweet chef, pancake chef, pastry chef and pizza chef.
In this tough economy, Barbie has become an entrepreneur. The Washington Post reports that Entrepreneur Barbie is clad in a tight, hot-pink dress and sky-high black heels. She carries a patent-leather briefcase, pink clutch and what seems to be a knock-off iPhone and iPad. She comes with her coterie of “Chief Inspiration Offices” and has served own hashtag #unapologetic.
Barbie turns entrepreneur at a time when economic conditions are tough and toymakers are stretching their imaginations to come up with new ways that will appeal to youngsters for the year-end retail season. As the Washington Post reports, although entrepreneurship rates are tanking in the US, the social status of entrepreneurs seems higher than ever. Just think of the reality programs such as Sharks’ Tank and Dragons’Den and a host of wannabe start up and small business shows that are springing up. One show even hired a comedian as the host, such is the entertainment value of all things start-up and entrepreneurial.
But isn’t it a good thing that children know about entrepreneurship at an early age? When I was growing up entrepreneurs didn’t even have that name and were looked on as someone who worked but didn’t have a real job.
Now with deindustrialisation and the trend towards a greater service economy, entrepreneurship spans many markets and industries. Entrepreneurs operate in consumer markets, service businesses and in business-to-business outfits.
Yet if I was to become Barbie’s trusted business adviser, I would try to lever on her solid reputation. Yes, I know, she has had some crummy jobs in the past but, come on, all of them have helped build critical experience that every entrepreneur needs. With Barbie’s penchant for smart dresses and outfits, I wouldn’t be surprised if she goes into producing her own fashion line of clothes. She needs to move fast because Hello Kitty has already moved into clothing lines. Like the Hollywood glitterati and music pop stars, Barbie might consider offering her own range of perfume and accessories.
But like all smart entrepreneurs, I assume Barbie will do her homework carefully, prepare detailed business plans, research her markets and introduce new products with flair. Yes, Barbie may be a new celebrity entrepreneur and help fuel the media narrative of “messianic founder-CEOs”, as the Washington Post mentions, but she could also inspire young people to a career choice that provides potential for economic freedom.