Surprise Powerz

Kristel Bell Website
Retail Trade
Loop, Chicago, IL
Services utilized:
Group Coaching, Loans

Kristel Bell is on a mission to empower young girls and promote STEM learning. Her inspiration came from her mother, who encouraged Kristel and her five siblings to pursue STEM careers.

When Kristel was young, most toys available did not portray powerful, educated women. Years later, as an adult, she noticed that trends in girls’ toys had not kept up with boys’ toys, which were geared toward teaching boys skills in science and technology.

This discrepancy encouraged Kristel to open Surprise Powerz, a doll company catered towards toddler and preschool girls, in 2021. Surprise Powerz offers four STEM based dolls, each of which are dressed to represent a STEM profession.

“Our Black dolls are Codie the Coder and Astro the Astronaut, and we are encouraging our young Black girls to know they can be great in these fields starting at an early age,” said Kristel.

The dolls speak over 75 STEM related phrases and are made with real girls’ voices.

“[By playing with these dolls,] I hope [young girls] can see themselves represented in STEM,” said Kristel. “I hope they know if they can see it, they can be it.”

In 2022, Kristel received a small business loan from Allies for Community Business, which helped her bridge expense gaps. She is currently participating in A4CB’s Neighborhood Entrepreneurship Lab where she will spend nine months with business coaches and community partners to grow her business.

Surprise Powerz dolls are available online at Target, Macy’s, and Nordstrom and on the shelves at Macy’s 19 flagship stores.

In the fall of 2023, Kristel will be launching a classroom program in Chicago in partnership with This program will work to encourage children from lower income communities to know that they can be successful in STEM.