Xavier Roberts (born October 31, 1955 in Cleveland, Georgia), manufacturer of Cabbage Patch Kids, is an American businessman.
His story begins by placing him near the American Folk art movement of the late 1970s, He observed techniques involving the making of dolls from various materials. Influenced by the quilts that his mother made, he began experimenting with a quilted doll. After much experimentation, he created a type of doll he called "Little People". He and a small group of friends began to travel from state to state in the southeastern United States attending various folk art exhibitions. At them, he began selling these handcrafted dolls he called "babies". Going into business as Original Appalachian Artworks, Inc., he started producing them at a converted medical clinic in his hometown of Cleveland, which he rechristened "Babyland General Hospital".
The Little People evolved by 1982 into Cabbage Patch Kids, which quickly became a major toy fad. In 1984 alone, 20 million were bought, and by 1999, 95 million had been sold worldwide.
Appropriation of the Cabbage Patch Kids idea
According to a media report, Cabbage Patch Kids were initially designed and sold by Martha Nelson Thomas. She refused permission to Roberts to sell them, so he created his own version. She sued him in 1975 with a trial occurring in 1985 culminating in an out of court settlement.
Roberts would later create a series of country-inspired toy bears called the Furskin Bears.