Thursday, March 12, 2009

Barbie Boys

day and night

over the past few sundays, a couple of my buddies and i have sort of stumbled upon this tradition where we walk around in a different area of shanghai and check out the new stores, new hotels and new eateries that we read about that week on the net. upon visiting each establishment, we either rip on them, discuss what we would have done differently, or spend the whole rest of the day talking about how sick they are. sooo, on sunday we decided that our first stop on the list had to be the highly anticipated barbie flagship store. this is barbie's only flagship store (6 floors) and they chose to open it in a market where nobody had ever really heard of the doll maker before. pretty interesting considering they dumped twenty some odd million into this mammoth. but, if you're barbie and you're looking to re-brand yourself, there really is no better place to start than china/shanghai. i think they're trying to pull a hello kitty.

so, the three of us men walked the 15 minutes it takes to get from our apartments to the barbie store and we began our adventure. from the get-go, we were dazzled and it only got better. for starters it wasn't just dolls at this barbie store like we had anticipated. barbie had all of a sudden re-branded itself and was selling a lifestyle. everything from human clothing/gear for all ages to cosmetics to fitness classes. whenever one of us would say that they should have done this or they should have done that, there it was on the next floor. they really thought of everything, and the layout couldn't have been better. hundreds of barbies lining the five floor spiral staircase, a catwalk for models modeling the latest in lady's fashion by barbie, cafe/restaurant, design your own barbie (like NIKEiD), interactive play areas for the tikes, a bar/club for the dudes to chill in while their GFs/wives shop, a full spa promoting barbie's new cosmetic line (equipped with hair salon, manicure/pedicure, massage rooms, yoga studio, etc), etc. one of the coolest aspects was that it had a museum feel. there were glass cases showcasing barbies both old and new. cameras were going off left and right, obviously what mattel was aiming for. the place was just designed to keep you in there for hours making it nearly impossible to leave empty handed, which thankfully we did. i know it may be weird for a guy to talk about the amazing retail experience he and his buddies had at the barbie store or maybe we were just impressed by how well thought out everything was, but i can't hide the truth, it was pretty sweet. we were stunned when we realized we had spent over an hour there.

below are some of the pics we took in order. they were taken with an iphone so they are not solid.

escalator ride from lobby to first floor.

barbie lined circular staircase


barbie history wallpaper. she's a busch heavy can in the right hand away from wife material.

the gents bathroom lined with hot wheels. also a mattel product

the spa that you have to walk by to exit.

this pic and others from here

some tools
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