Mattel Opens House of Barbie

]> Two years in the planning, Mattel is opening its first Barbie flagship in Shangha

April 6, 2018

2 Min Read


Two years in the planning, Mattel is opening its first Barbie flagship in Shanghai at the start of the brand's 50th year.

After several years of retail experimentation—from pop-up stores in Tokyo to a prototype in Buenos Aires—Mattel is opening its 11,155-square-foot, seven-floor Barbie flagship in Shanghai on Jan. 9.


With its full range of Barbie product—everything from dolls to apparel, confectionery, stationery, bubble bath, outdoor toys and electronics—the aim of the store is a completely immersive Barbie experience. Product is the best from around the world, bringing together 45 different licensed categories, plus a large percentage that is exclusive to the Shanghai store.

Visitors will be able to design their own Barbie doll, style a catwalk show, be photographed and videoed, buy a Vera Wang Barbie wedding dress, take treatments at the Barbie Spa and eat or throw parties at the Barbie restaurant, put together by Australian-born celebrity chef David Laris. The concept is everything Barbie under one roof.

Richard Dickson, senior vice president and general manager for the Barbie brand, says: "We've been taking a look at different retail concepts and events to help us define what the Barbie experience at retail should be. Then we asked ourselves where, over the whole globe, was the right city to do it. Shanghai is an engaging city which embodies both heritage and modernity," Dickson says. Furthermore, Barbie, who celebrates her 50th birthday in 2009, is in the early stages of development in China, so the store will act as a key part of the marketing exposure for the brand.


Wholly owned and run by Mattel, the store's glass façade is currently shrouded in the largest billboard China has ever seen. It will feature etchings of shoes, bags and hearts and, inevitably, will be backlit in pink after dark. It is located in the downtown area of the city on Huai Hai Road, close to H&M and other fashion retailers.

Dickson says: "Everything Barbie will be in the store for girls from age 3 to their grandmas. But the store is not just about product, we have put together a package of experiences within the Barbie brand: dress up, fashion design, spa treatments, hair salon. It's a place where girls and their mums can go together and a place where teens can go—a place that is cool, hip and kitsch for Barbie's young adult following."

The store, Dickson says, is kid friendly, activity friendly, and also important, commercially friendly. "The Chinese market is currently small for Barbie," he says, "but it represents the biggest opportunity for growth of our $3 billion business."

He continues: "The store takes the Barbie brand into the future. We've had five decades of girl celebration, and the flagship will create a whole new wave of connection to the brand."

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