Volusia County Entrepreneur Gets Serious About Playing With Dolls

Daytona Beach — After a successful Crowd Funding campaign that raised more than $15,000 and a presentation before the television cast of Shark Tank, local doll maker Shauna Altes is ready to tell the world about her endearing Maple Box Dolls.

Growing up playing with American Girl Dolls, Altes, 32, says she wants today’s little girls – as well as boys – to be able to create wonderful memories just like she did with friends and family members.

“I also want to get children off of so many electronic devices and bring them back to the basics with dolls, crafts, recipes and stories,” she says of the concept behind her two-year-old company.

Maple Box Dolls – a client company of the Volusia County–University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program – offers subscription based doll kits that neutralize gender-specific toys. The kits, which are designed for children between the ages of 4 and 9, contain one 9½-inch, non-toxic, ethically-sourced doll that promotes a healthy body image, along with the doll’s character story, a recipe, a craft to make and a charm to attach to a Maple Box Doll charm bracelet.

“The company is a great example of a needed solution to help our kids have quality and diversity when it comes to dolls and toys. Shauna is a true entrepreneur who has identified a problem that our society is facing and created an innovative company to fix it,” said Connie Bernal, site director of the Volusia County–UCF Business Incubation Program.

The mother of two young boys, Altes says she initially created Maple Box Dolls for her niece.   But, after several other mothers of boys became interested she switched her focus to both girls and boys. She says her 2-½-year-old son Cruz loves the dolls; especially “Joyful Jenny,” which sells for $39.95.

Kits can be a one-time purchase or can be subscribed to on a monthly, quarterly or holiday schedule like the child’s birthday and Christmas.  The company also has a budding community of Maple Box Dolls mothers who gather to offer support and information for one another.

“The company was founded on the idea of creating memorable experiences between loved ones,” Altes says. “The kits help children bond with mom and other family members through a variety of things to do.”

Coming up with a name for her company was easy, according to Altes.

“I wanted a name that evoked feelings of a magical childhood. And, what’s more magical than playing in a maple tree all day?” she asks. “We really just want to put magic back into childhood. We want them to celebrate the fun and joy of being young with experiences, dolls, toys and most of all, connections.”

For details about Maple Box Dolls, visit www.mapleboxdolls.com

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For more information about this release, please contact 

Shauna Altes, Maple Box Dolls, 386-295-0911 or shauna@mapleboxdolls.com

Connie Garzon-Bernal, Associate Director /Site Manager, Volusia County–UCF Business Incubation Program, 386-872-3100 or connie.bernal@ucf.edu.

Beth Payan or Larry Vershel, Larry Vershel Communications, 407-644-4142 or lvershelco@aol.com.

About the UCF Business Incubation Program:
The University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program is a community resource that provides early-stage companies with the tools, training and infrastructure to become financially stable, high growth / impact enterprises.   Since 1999, this award-winning program has helped hundreds of local startup companies reach their potential faster by providing vital business development resources.

With seven facilities throughout the region, the UCF Business Incubation Program is an economic development partnership between the University of Central Florida, the Corridor, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia Counties, and the cities of Apopka, Kissimmee, Orlando and Winter Springs.  Participating companies sustain more than 3,600 local jobs and have had a total impact of $1.51B on regional sales and $2.48B on regional economic output.  During the last fiscal year, the program has returned $7.95 for every $1.00 invested in the program.   For more information, visit www.incubator.ucf.edu