BIGG Success Logo boxed

3 Lessons From an Icon on How to Be a Success

Lessons from an icon for BIGG SuccessShe’s been a BIGG success in business.
She was also a member of a rock band and an athlete.

She is multi-talented.

She’s been a dentist, a doctor, a firefighter, a police officer, an astronaut, and even a candidate for President.

Most adults weren’t too fond of her at first. But the kids sure did love her.

Today she is considered an icon by some. But she still has her detractors.

Who is she?


Listen to this post! Click a a player to hear George & Mary-Lynn on The BIGG Success Show Podcast.

iPhone/iPad Player

[haiku url=”″ title=”The BIGG Success Show #761″]
Two Barbies are sold every second.
In the U.S., girls between 3 and 11 own an average of ten Barbies.
Over one BILLION Barbies have been sold in over 150 countries.

If took all those Barbies and placed their 11½” body head to toe, they would circle the earth more than seven times.

The birth of a BIGG idea

But her beginnings were much more humble.

She was the brain child of Ruth Handler. Ruth, along with her husband Elliott, started Mattel – yes, that Mattel – in their garage. They had little business experience and even less capital.

The company started in 1945 as a picture frame maker. From the scrap wood, Elliott Handler began making doll house furniture.

It wasn’t until five years later that Ruth got her BIGG idea. She watched her daughter, Barbie, as she and her friends played with the paper dolls – the only option at that point.

She thought it was interesting that they preferred to play with the adult dolls. Ruth realized that there was an opportunity – a 3D doll that would help the little girls project their future.

Labor pains

So she presented the idea to her husband and the executives at Mattel. They rejected it. It would be too expensive to make. Nobody would buy such a pricey toy.

But Ruth didn’t let her BIGG idea die. On a trip to Germany, she noticed the Lilli doll. This became her model. She toned down the racy doll to create Barbie.

The birth of an icon

Her official birth was at the American Toy Fair in 1959. It takes nine months from conception to birth for a human child. Barbie’s gestation period was nearly a decade long.

The toy buyers at the fair weren’t impressed by Barbie. But the little girls who comprised her target market certainly were.

It had taken the Handlers thirteen years to get to this point. But finally, they had arrived.

And the next year, Mattel went public fueled by Barbie’s muscle in the marketplace.

3 BIGG lessons about success

  • Adaptation

    Note that the Handlers started in the picture frame business. They found their footing by making doll furniture. Finally, they created BIGG success with the birth of Barbie.

  • Observation

    Ruth wasn’t sitting at a desk trying to come up with a BIGG idea. She simply observed her daughter playing. Oftentimes, the best ideas come when you aren’t actively searching for one.

  • Perseverance

    Ruth was turned down – by her own husband among others. But she persevered and finally Barbie was born. Even then, she wasn’t a hit with the professionals in the industry. However, her market loved her.

Adaptation, observation, and perseverance – three terms that lead to BIGG success.

Do you have an idea for a business? Maybe we can help.

We’re not toying around when we say this…thanks…

Until next time…


The Great Idea Finder

St. Joseph Catholic School

University of Virginia

Funding Universe


Image in this post from wikimedia

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast: