Yesterday I visited the new American Girl store here in Los Angeles. As you walk through the store you can not help but be awed by the incredible details that make up their branding and marketing campaign. Those people do not miss a trick!
Everything you see in the store is for sale. Of course they have dolls -- 3 varieties, historical, modern and baby, all with a variety of matching outfits. Would you like a new hair style for your doll -- $15. What about a dinner with your doll -- $22. The booster chair your doll sits in at the restaurant -- $18. The question game you play while waiting for your meal -- $8. Program and soundtrack from the stage show also available for purchase.
And let me just tell you about the stage show. I admit I was not looking forward to this part of my visit, but I was pleasently surprised. The girls in the show were very talented, had amazing voices and the story was good and moved quickly. It was over before I knew it, something I really wasn't expecting.
I bet the Barbie people are kicking themself after witnessing the marketing marvel that is American Girl. What a coo that would have been to have an entire Barbie store complete with little drawers filled with different shoes, purses and outfits.
As an entrepreneur what did I take away from my visit to American Girl? Do one thing and do it well. Do not stray from your mission. Details, details, details.
One interesting fact I found out during my visit -- I overheard a woman at the Conceirge station talk about her Day at the American Girl Store special. She had an envelope filled with coupons and the sort. After inquiring I was told that this special was not advertised at the store but was an mentioned on the internet site and was mostly just a word of mouth thing. It included a meal at the store, the stage show, $120 worth of merchandise, a new hairstyle for your doll, a photo with your doll and a tee-shirt for your doll, basically saving you between $30-50.
Upon checking their website when I got home, I also found they also have a special Star Club. This also would have been great to know before visiting the store as my child would have earned enough stars for some free merchandise.
There was no mention of either program as I continually handed over my credit card for each purchase. It sure would have been nice if someone had let me know.. you know the whole theme of including all girls in everything. We're all different in some ways but we are all the same and should all be treated the same...a big theme throughout the whole American Girl genre. And I'm not even diving into the whole cost issue which really excludes most girls from enjoying this otherwise great brand.
Just like so many other parts of our society, they haven't transcended this age old problem...