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Barbie Shanghai Flagship store shut down today

Posted by helen on March 7, 2011

China’s East Day reports, 

 Barbie  bids farewell: Barbie’s Dream House has closed its door.

http://news.ifeng.com/gundong/detail_2011_03/07/5011720_0.shtml 

or

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-07/barbie-packs-her-bags-as-mattel-closes-shanghai-dream-house.html

if you have the stroe VIP card, it still works in  35 retail stores that carries Barbie dolls in  Shanghai city.

I knew the store would not have  longevity, b/c mattel didnt hire marketing strategist lik e ME.  😀

 1. Prices were not competetive, doll prices were 2-3 times higher than Barbie doll prices in USA. 5-6 times higher than domestic doll brand.  the Athena doll was $100 on BC website, but $298 in Shanghai store. Same price policy applied to playline dolls.  when “styled by me” was $39 in FAO NYC, it was $69 in “Barbie Shanghai”.  I didnt understand why they set prices so high, most barbie dolls were made in china, as I know the customs duties should not be very high. maybe mattel think that’s the worth of Barbie image.

2. Overestimated the value of  Barbie Brand: Mattel aimed to reach women at their late 20s and early 30s, who have relatively high income but less family burderns (Average marriage age of Shanghai women is 30). The store carried  wide collections of women’s clothes & accessories, the prices were also sky-rocketed, Barbie was trying to compete with European Designer brands , but the qualities were  just not there, handbags were all made of  PVC.   (didnt I tell you shanghai ladies believe no one over age 30 sould carry PVC handbags?)   Mattel overestimated the value & influences of Barbie Brand and didnt understand consumer’s behaviors, Shanghai Fashionistas may spend $25,000 to buy a Louis Vuitton clutch but most of them would not spend $25 on a PVC Barbie Tote. a Hello Kitty is more like a possibility.

3. the Culture differences: it is ture, “being sexy” would not make Barbie popular in China. its just not a selling point. if you turn clock back 20 or 25 years, “Sexy” was an offensive word only used to describe prostitutes.  Chinese parents are  in  no  rush to introduce their Children to  these adult things, like marriage, romance, preganancy, etc…  most  Parents would not allow a girl under age 18 to date any boys. what  they want most from their children is a “Straigh A report card”,  so a “she said yes” barbie, a pregnant midge, a shaving ken would not sell, but “she’s got straight A report card” would. 😀 

4.  Barbie dolls are not educational or playful enough for little ones.   “I can be” is such an old concept, little girls do not need Barbie to tell them so,their grandmas, mothers, aunts, teachers had already did. To fullfill these little girl’s big dreams, these grandparents & parents will spend every penny they have on their children’s education, (if you know the 4-2-1 syndrome in China) Barbie certainly didnt see such a market. the store proabaly would have  done  better if it sold DVDs like “Learn English with Barbe”

5. How high is too high? there was a Barbie Cafe in the store,  it was empty when I was there, I looked its menu and wondered  how many people want to enjoy a cup of coffee there if they could get  the same stuff but  6 times cheaper in the coffee shop next door?  oh, there was a spa, too,  I didnt check if the price was competitive with NYC China Town’s. 

6. would have the store survived if it were located  in NYC?  KBtoys were long gone, FAO now is a part of Toys R US and has dropped all the tonner dolls, gene dolls, fashion royal dolls…the store rent in NYC,  if its not higher, it certainly wouldnt be lower than it in shanghai, the toys r us store near me sells doll 30%  higher than toys R us online,  I was upset to  see  Lucy Ricky giftset priced  for $97 .99, pop icon $57.99,  happy birthday Ken $57.99, Barbie Basics $27.99…  it  is enough to drive me order everything online , Remember, doll prices in  Barbie Shanghai Store  were  2-3 times highter than US  online stores. 

now,  the final question is: how many of you have bought the $234 handbag listed on BarbieCollector.com? how many of you would spend $1600 to buy a trench coat or sweater  with Barbie logos? b/c these are  exactly the kinds of merchandises Barbie Shanghai Carried, if  you have not bought them from BC  and are still pushing BC to have Barbie or Ken’s Birthday sales, , then, “Barbie New York” store  can  only exisit in your imaginations, no in the reality.

Barbie Shanghai was there to promo luxury life style, Vera Wang Wedding Dress,   a princess who has little intelligence (at least that’s how Barbie appeared in Shanghai) but 888  pink dresses….

Admiring the power of  Barbie is one thing,  having  your  purchasing power  to afford  her is  another thing.

anyway, it was fun memories…. see some of the store  photos I took  here:

https://dollsaga.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/barbie-shanghai/

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6 Responses to “Barbie Shanghai Flagship store shut down today”

  1. Natasa said

    Aww, that is sad news! 😦

    I hope that they will learn from their mistake and hire you as their marketing strategist next time! ;P

    • dollsaga said

      😀 Natasa, you made me laugh, well, I really need a new job. l’ll apply as soon as they decide to open Barbie New York in NYC. lol

  2. Tawna said

    I never saw the logic in opening such a store in a place like Shanghai. It would have served a far better purpose in the U.S. in a city like Los Angeles, NY, or Miami.

    • dollsaga said

      I dont understand why people keep saying the store would have survived if it were in US? I truly believe if the store were in Miami, it would die within 3 hours after its grand opening. I dont believe Miami women would spend $1,200 on a Barbie Coat, $348 on a Barbie Tote or pay $298 to buy a doll when they can can get the same thing on ebay for $79.
      again, the store was NOT selling Dolls, it was selling “Barbie life style” –Spas, Vera Wang wedding gowns were what the store sold.–the store was set for someone like Paris Hilton who loves Barbie also has money. Mattel did open a Barbie store in NYC in 90s, it died quickly.
      on the other hand, Toys R Us is very successful in Shanghai, it is not even in downtown Shanghai like Barbie store did.

  3. dollsaga said

    instead, a new online “flagship” store opens: http://barbie.tmall.com/shop/view_shop.htm?prt=1319995632789&prc=1

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