Barbie craze?!

Owned a barbie doll? No.

A fan of Barbie dolls? No.

But, guess what? The world’s largest £20 million Barbie Store, consisting of 6 stories, was opened in Shanghai in April 2009.


Talking about all the glitz…. I’m definitely not one of those Barbie-doll lovers, but living in such a vibrant city for at least five years, it would be a waste not taking a visit down to the store, to see what the marketers had in mind when such a store was launched.

Stepping into the store, you are greeted by ‘receptionists’ saying ‘huan ying guang ling’ – welcome in manadrin. Adding on to some sort of mystery is that you don’t actually get to see any barbie dolls at the first glance, rather, a ‘Pink Tunnel’ –filled with pre-recorded giggling sounds of girls, leads you to the second floor. I thought that was a little freaky, but, yes, it certainly is a tactic to fill the little ones with excitement.

The Barbie store also had multiple reading corners, with comfortable and colourful couches, suitable for families and little princesses to read the ‘barbie’ books.

More than that, the store also has an exhibition of over 70 barbie dolls dressed in different outfits – the Dutch Barbie Doll, the Chinese Barbie doll, ….. certainly capturing the young adults who are interested in fashion and design.

Talking about relaxation and dressing up, the Barbie store do have spa corners and for the older women, a line of clothing designed by Patricia Fields (designer from Sex and the City) is available.

Want to make a trip down to the Barbie store for a ‘special’ social gathering, the Barbie store has an exquisite café, and has even promised a themed evening for couples on Valentines’ Day.

From a simple concept – just Barbie dolls, it is truly amazing how this concept is turned into an elaborative and creative Barbie store, attracting customers from different segments. What makes it interesting is that you do not need to be a Barbie-doll lover, in order for you to be geared towards the store.

Word-of-mouth – that certainly plays a part.  I’m not surprised even if tourists have the Barbie store as one of the attractions on their list. In fact, I know some who do.

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