Responsible or not? Club Libby Lu

My daughter turned four in August, but she’s already becoming aware of fashion and brands. She’s visited Club Libby Lu once or twice for lip gloss (more like lip balm). While there, she’s seen the five and six year old girls at princess parties, getting makeovers and their hair done.

For the uninitiated, Club Libby Lu is where tween girls can “unlock their inner princess,” and the company’s mission is “to create special memories by encouraging tween girls to express their imaginations and individuality,” and offer “products and experiences that promote a unique shopping experience that makes every girl feel special.”

A visit to the store feels a little less princess, a little more early childhood glamour school. There’s a bit of a visual disconnect seeing pre-teens in clothes, makeup and hairdos meant for adults.

Libby Lu isn’t alone. They are part of a larger trend called KGOY, โ€œkids getting older younger,โ€ that includes sales of items previously reserved for adults to children.

This quote from Never Too Young for that First Pedicure sums it up well.

Cosmetic companies and retailers increasingly aim their sophisticated products and service packages squarely at 6- to 9-year-olds, who are being transformed into savvy beauty consumers before theyโ€™re out of elementary school.*

As a marketer, I know that delivering products and services in response to a market trend make a lot of sense.

But as a dad, I wonder if this trend is encouraging little girls to grow up a little too fast.

So, do you believe Club Libby Lu is a Responsible Marketer, or not?

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  • Oh, where to begin . . . .

    Delivering products/services in response to a market trend may make sense (for $omeone) but is not necessarily responsible. There are many things that kids do/say/want depending on their age/brain development. Young girls want to act older. Does that mean the market should provide candy cigarettes? No, because we don’t want to encourage something that is so unhealthy.

    Ditto with Libby Lu. This is the beginning, when girls first associate value with looks. Getting dressed up and putting on makeup and having your hair done = look how pretty you are! Let’s take photos! Look at all the attention you’re getting!

    Perhaps if this was an anomoly — if Libby Lu was the ONLY space in which this happened — it might be acceptable. But it isn’t. Girls hear it and see it everywhere. The fact that Libby Lu has commodified it is just creepy.

    I’d urge your readers to review the APA Task Force Report on the Sexualization of Girls http://tinyurl.com/2kxyl6.

    All that being said, a trip or two to Libby Lu is not going to ruin any girl’s life. I would hope that girls and boys would get equal time learning how to be critical of the images and messages associated with a place like Libby Lu.

    There, I’m done. Notice how I didn’t even go into how these kids are being taught to be good little consumers — that they must pay (literally) for *everything* — even dress-up? And fun?

  • Great comments, Lisa.

    Funny, your comment about candy cigarettes brought back memories…of candy cigarettes. They sold them with all the rest of the candy at the Altamont Pharmacy in my neighborhood.

    I remember playing “Starsky and Hutch” with my friends, and we’d all have them hanging out of our mouths.

    I’m not a smoker (I get migraines when I’m around second hand smoke) but I sure thought smoking was cool when I was a tween.

    It’s probably been 30 years since I thought of this.

    Candy cigarettes! Imagine that.

  • Tracy Adams says:

    “So, do you believe Club Libby Lu is a Responsible Marketer, or not? ”

    I hope that’s a rhetorical question.

    When asked about whether or not she’d heard of Libby Lu my twelve-year-old daughter responded, “It’s the scary store in the mall.”

    The scary part isn’t so much the young girls who’ve been sexed up, or the shameful marketing tactics of Libby Lu, it’s the nitwit parents who allow their young daughters to be manipulated into thinking a style passport is needed to enter the land of the beautiful. Or that being a classy, trendy, stylish, cool, rockin’ chick is defined by lots of makeup, a fab-u-lus du and pretty ribbon, shiny accessories, and pink — because you’re a girl — clothing.

    After one look through the Club Libby Lu website I now know where to go to create a fashionable trophy-princess-daughter that suits my personality. I can lavish her with style by choosing from a thousand ways 2BU. When I’m done I can tote her around in trendy, designer outfits of my choice — She’ll be the perfect little accessory my wife and I have dreamed of owning and showing off to the world. And we’ll enhance our fashion statement with “Pooch Stuff!”

    Yes, lots of stuff! Pamper her with stuff! Stuff will keep her glamorous and attractive; everyone knows it leads to a life of luxury! Stuff will help her to bond with girlfriends and it’ll attract all the the attention our little girl craves — and then some. Stuff will make her sassy and dazzling!

    Stuff, stuff, stuff.

    More stuff, please! Because not having stuff, a Hannah Montana du, or lips and cheeks caked in makeup is the opposite of fabulous and trendy and funky and fancy; it means you’re not a rock star/dj/diva/glam girl/celebrity/princess. It means: without Libby Lu stuff you’ll be unpopular, unhip, and unhappy.

    Scary stuff, indeed.

  • Looks like Libby Lu thinks there’s only one way 2BU, no matter what they say. Patrick, those candy cigarettes were good. I couldn’t pretend smoke them because I ate them too fast. Loved the dab of pink on the end to show it was lit.

  • […] Byers recently asked if Club Libby Lu was responsible marketing or not, but it seems it doesn’t matter anymore as the retail stores will be […]

  • Aurora says:

    well… I don’t think that’s what it’s aiming for. Honestly I think that it may be giving a sort of movie star goal to 10-11 year olds. but for 6-9 year olds thy supplie fairie and princess costumes and hairdoos. it’s just pure fun.
    now if you would look at all the other things that are pressuring girls today: models, big make-up brands, celebrities, libby lu club looks like a saint.

  • Bianca says:

    I cant believe people talking that makeup and hair do’s lead to smoking candy ciggys… woah as a former club libby lu employee i totaly disagree with these statements. as far as value with looks im sure if ur daughter is the ugly duckling at skool,,, she already dis-values herself… y not make a place that she can feel pretty ๐Ÿ™‚ makeup is nothing bad lipgloss here eye shawdow there its better than her taking all your make-up (which i bet is brand) and im telling u its better than haveing her read a magazine with all those skiiny anorexic models no wonder kids have such low self esteem (adults as well)

    atleast at club libby lu girls HAD ๐Ÿ™ a place where they felt beutiful… and really how you feel is all that matters ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Colleen grace says:

    for all you people dissing club libbly lu…………..i just want you to know that im the girl in the middle with the green shirt on. i absolutly love libbly lu, the store has boosted my modeling career to the max!!!! i will be forever greatfull to them. the stores goal is for little girls to go and have a great time!!! who wouldnt want to get there hair done like hanah montana???!?! its a great, innocent, store.

  • Rebecca says:

    Libby Lu is not about making girls “grow up faster”. It’s about dressing up and having fun! I worked at Libby Lu, and I don’t think its really possible to understand unless you’ve been there. The little girls are so happy to come in and see all the pink and sparkles. Its a stored completely dedicated to showing girls that they are BEAUTIFUL the way they are! Its sad that the stores have all closed.

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