Archival Consumed: The Princess Factory

[Club Libby Lu]

Whether we want to admit it or not, Mary Drolet argues, there was a time in our lives when we all pretended to be rock stars or princesses. That time was childhood, the years before the line between fantasy and reality becomes more tangible. This belief, in part, is what guided Drolet in founding, with two partners, a business called Club Libby Lu, which offers 5- to 13-year-old girls the chance to live out one of several (overtly girlish) fantasies, at least for the duration of an hour-and-a-half-long party in a shopping mall.

Club Libby Lu is what’s known as an ”experience” retailer, meaning that it sells a kind of packaged happening rather than just products. There are plenty of examples of the mammoth store-as-spectacle approach (the American Girl Place locations in Chicago and New York City, or the outdoor-gear seller Cabela’s), but Club Libby Lu was always meant for malls, and it has locations in 77 of them now, with 8 more on the way by the end of the year.

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