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October 31, 1955|
|Known for||Cabbage Patch Kids|
Xavier Roberts (born October 31, 1955 in Cleveland, Georgia) is an American artist and entrepreneur. He is best known for marketing the Cabbage Patch Kid Dolls whose design he stole from Martha Nelson Thomas. 
At the age of five, Xavier Roberts' father died in a car accident, leaving his mother to raise him and his five siblings alone. Roberts then attended White County High School and then attended Truett McConnell Junior College where he was an award-winning art student.
Cabbage Patch Kids development
Inspired by a doll artist named Martha Nelson Thomas whom he met at a craft fair, Roberts began experimenting with a quilted doll in a process known as soft sculpture. Drawing on the early German craft of needle sculpting, and from quilting skills learned from his mother, Roberts created a line of hand-crafted dolls he called, "Little People".
He and a group of friends began travelling from state to state in the southeastern United States attending craft fairs and folk art exhibitions. At them, he began selling these handcrafted dolls. He won awards for his work, including a first-place ribbon for a doll named Dexter at the Osceola Craft Show in Florida in 1978.
Going into business as Original Appalachian Artworks, Inc., Roberts hired local seamstresses and started producing his dolls in a converted medical clinic in his hometown of Cleveland. "Babyland General Hospital" still exists today in a new location and is a popular destination for Cabbage Patch kid enthusiasts.
By 1982 the Little People had evolved into Cabbage Patch Kids, licensed to a company called Coleco. The Cabbage Patch Kids were a huge hit, quickly becoming a major toy fad. In 1984 alone 20 million were bought, and by 1999, 95 million dolls had been sold worldwide.
Furskin Bears creation
Roberts would later create a series of country-inspired toy bears called the Furskin Bears.
Due to the commercial success of his Little People line Roberts had already become a self-made millionaire by the age of 26.
Other artwork by Roberts has been featured in galleries such as the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia. His creations also became part of the State of Georgia's permanent art collection after Roberts presented three Little People to Georgia Governor George Busbee.
Roberts designed and built his own house with help from his family, with his brothers doing the construction while Roberts supervised. Roberts' mother and sisters were in charge of the landscaping.
- Tong, Judy (December 8, 2002). "Update: Xavier Roberts; Bigger Kids In the Garden". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
- "Who Invented The Cabbage Patch Kids? | The Vibrant Crafter". The Vibrant Crafter. 2018-04-18. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
- Hoffman, William, Fantasy: The Incredible Cabbage Patch Phenomenon. ISBN 0-87833-386-X
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