Cabbage Patch Kids is a line of dolls introduced in the early 1980s, featuring huggable cloth bodies and plastic heads. In their first three years on the market, Cabbage Patch Kids set major toy sales records, becoming one of the most popular toys of the ‘80s. The toys have expanded beyond the dolls, licensed into clothing, records, board games, and more.

The dolls were created by Xavier Roberts, though their creation was heavily based on artist Martha Nelson’s Doll Babies that were similarly styled and came with birth certificates and adoption papers. Going off of Nelson’s dolls, Roberts worked with artist Debbie Moorehead to redesign the faces, hand-stitched the bodies, and changed the birth certificates and adoption papers enough to get a copyright.

Roberts took his dolls, which were originally called The Little People, to craft shows, a children’s hospital, and toy store. In 1981, the dolls were becoming more successful, catching the attention of designer and licensing agent Roger L. Schlaifer. He approached Roberts about licensing the dolls for Coleco Industries and since Fisher-Price owned the name “Little People,” he renamed them Cabbage Patch Kids.

To build excitement for the dolls, Schlaifer and his wife wrote the story, the Legend of the Cabbage Patch Kids. It explained how special cabbages were pollinated by BunnyBees (bee creatures with bunny ears) with magical crystals that would grow into the Cabbage Patch Kids. Hidden by a waterfall in a magical garden, they were found by a curious boy named Xavier, after their creator.

Doll designer Judy Albert, who was heading the design team at Coleco, gave the dolls cuter facial expressions and softer, cuddlier bodies, and proportioned them to match a baby’s body size more accurately. Schlaifer helped to design attractive packaging for the dolls, and they were made of less expensive materials to keep costs down. They became huge hits with kids around the world, selling 3.2 million dolls and generated $2 billion by 1984.