Barbie, an iconic fashion doll manufactured by Mattel, Inc., made her debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959, the date that has become Barbie's official birthday. Since Barbie's birth 51 years ago, Mattel has introduced a number of companions for Barbie, a few of which have been Barbie's [Brown Girl] companions; namely, Christie (1968-2004) and Teresa (1988-present), Barbie's current bestfriend.* But Barbie isn't merely an American icon; she's gone global! Not only did Mattel award a business group from Buenos Aires the exclusive rights to the world’s first Barbie Store in Argentina in 2007, but there is also a Barbie Shanghai store in Shanghai, China, Mattel's first Barbie flagship retail store ever! Since 1959, Mattel has sold more than a billion Barbie dolls. In fact, it is said that if all the Barbie dolls sold since 1959 were lined up head to toe, they would stretch around the globe seven times. And you can't get more global than that! You've come a long way, Barbie. Do you have a Barbie doll?
*It is also interesting to note that "Colored Francie" made her debut in 1967 and "Black Barbie" launched in 1980. Mattel also introduced an African American Midge in 2003, although Midge was originally created as Barbie's first best friend with red hair and freckles in 1967. In September 2009, Mattel introduced the So In Style range, which was intended to create a more realistic depiction of black people than previous dolls.