April 7, 2007

Club Libby Lu Employee Pouts, Calls Me Grandpa

It's been almost a year since I praised the Washington Post's lengthy takedown of Club Libby Lu, the "experience-driven retail business" which sells glittery makeovers, Paris Hilton-style toy chihuahuas in handbags, and girl band birthday parties to 8-year-olds in 85 mall stores, basically turning tweens and their younger sisters into spangly little pole dancers for the day.

So I was surprised to see a comment posted by someone named Jessica. It was timestamped around 3AM on a Friday, but her computer was in Seattle, so it was really only midnight. How she found my blog is unclear: it doesn't show up in the top 100 Google results for either "Club Libby Lu" or "Club Libby Lu + skank." But whatever, she had some corrections for me, and after she was done, she threw in some frank advice on my parenting. Never one to ignore an expert, insider's perspective, I thought I'd share her comment here:

As a libby lu employee, I am still shocked when I hear people say things like "they sell thongs to little girls" which of course is NOT true. There is nothing wrong with a store where girls can play dress up (you didn't mention that our #1 selling item is a PRINCESS dress). That Club libby Lu donated an insane amount to St. Jude's cancer research hospital, or that we have been supporting Girl scouts of America for years now. Your the type of parent who doesn't let his daughters play with barbie because she isn't realistic. It's a doll! Blame yourself when your children hate you for being so over protective. Times are changing grandpa.
Fascinating points, all. Let's take them one by one:

The Thong Thing
While that would make me mad, it wasn't what I said. What I was complaining about was selling kids an oversexualized "rural middle school drill team instructor's vision of glamour." It's selling lip gloss to 3-year-olds and spangled tube tops to 6-year-olds, who then walk the runway in the middle of the store.

The Princess Thing
Yeah, CLL is rocking the princess thing. Forgive me for not noticing. When I read last year in Peggy Orenstein's Times Magazine piece that Disney Princesses moved $3 billion of merchandise, I guess I was too freaked out to notice her mention of Club Libby Lu [2005 revenue: $46 million]. If Jasmine and Cinderella are the Princess Diana of tween marketing, Libby Lu's not even Princess Stephanie. It's more like those made-up-sounding aristos whose names clog the invitations for watch boutique openings on the Upper East Side. For Libby's sake, I hope Disney never starts a skank collection.

The Donation Thing
By "insane amount," Jess--can I call you Jess?--do you mean "insane amount of makeovers" to patients at St. Jude's hospital itself, or do you mean an "insane amount" of $1 donations made by your 7-year-old customerswhen they joined Club Libby Lu's Very Important Princesses affinity program/marketing database during yout St. Jude's promotion last December, the VIP program used for promotions and product development which a CLL executive described in a trade magazine as an interactive "extension" of the store?

And by "supporting Girl Scouts," did you mean creating an unofficial merit badge patch to encourage Girl Scout troops to hold makeover parties in the store? Or did you mean sponsoring free makeover booths at Girl Scout events? What other well-established, experience-driven groups of your target demographic does your company--which prides itself on word of mouth promotion instead of expensive ad buys--support?

The Barbie Thing
You're right, Barbie's not realistic, but the reason the kid doesn't play with Barbie is because she's two. The feminist criticisms of Barbie are well-documented, but irrelevant to someone who becomes a parent in the 21st century. [Times are changing!] Barbie's role as a communicator of unhealthy self-image, exhibitionist sexuality, retrograde pursuit of male approval, and unrestrained corporate consumerism has been taken over by Bratz. As for the princess thing, we already discussed that. Please inform your marketing partner Mattel that their services in this regard will no longer be needed.


The Grandpa Thing
Your Baby Boomer parents should be very proud of you. The next time you take your laundry home, ask them if they know who Jack Weinberg is.

While researching Jessica's comment, I found some more fun facts about Club Libby Lu:

  • It was founded by Mary Drolet, who worked her way up the retail ranks at Claire's, a discount mall accessories store, and Montgomery Ward's, where she eventually became general merchandise manager for lingerie and accessories.
  • Drolet opened her first store in 2000 in Schaumburg, Illinois, home to the Woodfield Mall. Among the mall developers I've known, Woodfield is well-thought-of as a good platform for launching new concepts. [As an ex-consultant who once had clients near there, I am bound by pact to mention the town's rich assortment of Olive Gardens, as cited in the classic 1999 Onion article, "Schaumburg Man Dimly Aware Of Shadowy, Non-Schaumburg World Out There".]
  • In 2003, when it had just 11 locations and 3 more in the works, Club Libby Lu was acquired for $12 million by Saks, Inc., the Birmingham, Alabama-based retail holding company which used to be known as Proffitt's. Saks began opening CLL in-store boutiques in its non-Saks department stores, which it then turned around and sold in order to refocus on its luxury brand. So now Saks, Inc. is just Saks Fifth Avenue--and Club Libby Lu.
  • Stories about the CLL phenomenon usually focus on the glitter and cite the chain's impressive growth. [e.g., Orenstein mentioned $46 million was a 53% jump in revenue.] But how good are they really?

    In 2004, Shopping Centers Today reported that CLL's sales/square foot, a standard retail industry metric, were about $600. For the average 1,500sf location, that translates to about $1 million/year. Using another rule of thumb for valuing retailers at 1-2x revenue, that jibes with what Saks paid for the company in 2003.

    And yet, in 2005, 87 locations only produced $46 million revenue, not $87 million. Assuming the stores are the same size, that's $352/sf. Either new stores are doing less business, or, as is more likely in a fickle, trend-chasing retail market, sales are declining at the more established stores.

    In 2004, the talk was to open 20 stores/year, plus 15 in-store boutiques. CLL's site now says "10 to 15 annually." Considered alongside the parent company's own strategic shift, I'd guess Saks considers the Club Libby Lu concept played-out, and the company's being prepped for sale to a bigger fool.

    As a parent, this is useful, even vital, information: by the time the kid hits kindergarten in a few years, and her little peers seize control of her cultural influences, Club Libby Lu will be no more of a tacky threat than the racy black light posters at Spenser's Gifts. In the mean time, all I need to do is avoid a few malls, which was already on my to-do list. And some day soon, Jessica, you will learn a valuable lesson about the vicissitudes of the retail business. I hope you'll take the opportunity to enhance your employability by enrolling in beauty college. Times are changing kid. Now turn down that music.

    Previously: Finally, a takedown of Club Libby Lu

  • 29 Comments

    Booya grandpa. Well played.

    I'm going out on a limb here and to say dt won that round--Jessica, waiting with baited breath for your comeback!
    (but watch out dt's got a lot of game for an old fella)

    [i wrote this a couple of months ago and just found it in the drafts folder. I wonder if there's any way for an old man to win goin' toe-to-painted-toe with a mallrat. color me skeptical. -ed]

    Well done dt. I wonder how Jessica will respond? I'm also waiting for the big response. As a new mom to a daughter, I cringed at the Time's magazine princess article, just as I gag at the number of cotton candy pink outfits our dd has recieved at the young age of 6 months.

    If it's any comfort at all, the novelty of CLL wears off very, very quickly. A couple of years ago, this was hot hot hot in Dallas, and I was afraid for my daughter's sense of style and dignity.

    Fortunately, we found that rather than forbid participation (especially since our kid usually gets invited as part of a classmate's birthday party) -- and inadvertently give it that allure of "Mom and Dad said no" -- after the second trip she was totally "meh" over it on her own, and six months later the place was considered incredibly uncool.*

    So, the fourth-grade set knows what Saks knows: Club Libby Lu is already played out.

    Even Sweet and Sassy, a free-standing strip mall copycat brand who park a huge pink limo out front to draw attention, barely got a second look when they opened here a few months back.

    *I might have encouraged the situation along by expressing subtle disappointment at the quality and style of the CLL makeovers. I use the concept of tacky for good, not evil.

    [good not evil, heh. -ed.]

    Wow. Just, wow. That Post piece was my first exposure to CLL, as our local mall has been blissfully libby-lu free. The closest locations to us are in Columbia, MD. and of course the one in Tyson's Corner. The local mall will be going through a 60+ store expansion over the next year, and I have the sneaking suspicion that our reprieve will end. Not that it matter here, as there will be no CLL for our girl. I'm all for dress-up, she'll have her yearly katsu-con no matter how many busty anime babes fill the dealers' room, and I don't even have a strong dislike for Barbie. The two things I've vetoed however are CLL and Bratz. Here's hoping that Tracy is correct and this too shall pass.

    oh, and jessica? it's not "your the type of parent...", the correct grammar is "you'RE the type of parent..."
    aaah a beacon of hope for future libby lu desciples everywhere....

    [I have a feeling Jessica will not be posting comments 'round these parts again any time soon. -ed.]

    Of further note in the ever fascinating saga of CLL, check out the final (as of today) posting in this long line of comments:
    http://blog.washingtonpost.com/parenting/2007/03/club_libby_lu.html
    Mary Drolet weighs in on what a wonderful, caring company CLL is, evidenced by the fact that they are phasing out midriff baring costumes starting this June.

    I am currently writing a paper for an argumentative prose class on the media influence on the princess perversion of feminism, and your insight on Club Libby Lu (which I did discover in my research from Peggy Orenstein's wonderful princess critique) is spot on.

    The girl unfortunate enough to respond before doing any proper research into her own employer has also unfortunately enforced the stereotype she so valiantly tried to defend: It's about having fun, not having smarts enough to even make the distinction between your and you're! Lighten up and glitter!

    As the trend in princess paraphernalia rises so does the phlegm in my throat: granted, it has existed for generations much before my time, but the "Girl power is the source of my princess persuasion!" mentality is definitely a new phenomenon. I for one would overlook the number one selling princess dress myself, but only to spare myself the pain.

    Honestly, i think most of your reasoning has nothing to do with the goal of Club Libby Lu. Our goal is to please the child; not you. If a 3 year old wants to wear glitter lip gloss on her lips to have fun why stop her? It's good to let them dress up and make them feel really special.

    Our main merchandise is High School Musical and Hannah Montana. Which is what every store sells. It's also what plays on television. If you think it's wrong for a little girl to want to wear a Hannah wig for fun and dress up as her then i pity your daughter.

    Oh and the whole thing about the founder is just a glittering way for you to make irrelevant conclusions about a store you've probably never been in.


    You all act like you know everything when really you're pathetic people who have nothing better to do than pick up your thesaurus and pretend that makes your argument stronger.

    even if you have a comeback to any of this i wont read it, and i definatly wont care about what you think.

    Thousands of little girls feel special and get to have the best birthday party ever. And in the end, your opinion means absolutely nothing.

    [you do know you're responding to a parent, right? I'll be damned before I'd let some insolent mall rat dictate to me what is good for my kid. Especially one who thinks a tween TV show is even remotely appropriate for a 3-year-old. And never mind that HSM didn't even exist when this post was originally written. And while you don't care what I think, I'm sure any parent with two brain cells left to rub together will be interested to see the kind of mouthy, superficial crap their kid'll be exposed to at a CLL wigfest. -ed.]

    i roll my eyes at this whole negative ordeal revolving around club libby lu . when i first started working at libby lu, i had read many articles just like this one ((or quite simular to this one)) and expected to see really short skirts and bikini tops in the dress up area. when i got there, i was actually pretty surpised to see long, silvery pants ((yes, pants that fully cover your legs)) and a normal black t-shirt with a star on it. as far as the make up goes, i expected mascara and lots of eyeliner, and was pretty surpised when they had really subtle light pastel colors and lip gloss.nothing bad--it was cutsey "pretend make up".

    personally, i think this whole thing is taken out of proportion.

    as far as the dancing goes, i expected to see little girls doing the shimmy. but i was really surprised to see that they do innocent moves like pretend to drive a limosine, do the disco (("just like mommy and daddy did when they were younger!!! :D!!" )) ,and snap their fingers. i have YET to see a girl do the shimmy, or anything provocative like that.


    the only negative thing that i HAVE noticed really is when "girlfriend" by avril lavigne comes on. =3 even though i am fully aware that little girls DO watch TV at home, and probably hear that song time after time again on the radio,i do cringe a little when i hear some of the lyrics being blasted throughout the store.i wonder if some parents are offended by that.


    but, even when you get down to it, there are going to be things on TV or in the media that your kids are going to see, no matter how much you may want to sheild them from all of the CRAP in the world. somethings you can't help. >

    i would say "how could that song slip into a libby lu playlist?! especially considering that young ears are going to be exposed to the lyrics?!" but, some parents come in, and are THRILLED when the girlfriend song comes on.they start singing and dancing along. different parents are going to hvae different preferences and different lifestyles--so i'm sure it's hard for libby lu to decide how to please every customer.

    but all in all, even though i can definatly understand how you could feel that way, my personal opinion is that this whole thing has been taken out of proportion.

    I find this all very interesting.

    I have three daughters Helen(age7), Amelia(age2) and Elizabeth(4mo). Helen is dressing up as Hannah Montana for Halloween and Amelia is dressing up as Snow White. This is what I don't get about Libby Lu. Why do I have to pay for someone else to dress my daughter up? I bought my "offical Hannah Montana" wig on Ebay. AND I get to spend the time with her, not PAY someone else to take the time. I understand the pull that the dress up stuido's have, but I think that my kids would much rather have and hour with me doing hair, makeup and nails. Than time with some stranger that they will never see again. I love the idea of dress up and make believe. I have no issue with sparkle lip gloss, or pink hair. I just wish that other parents would see that they do not need to buy their children. TAKE THE TIME TO SPEND WITH THEM YOURSELF.

    I was advised to read your post by a young lady who did a search for Club Libby Lu via Google and I am very amazed by the insight that I have found here. Being that I am accustomed to Club Libby Lu, I am having a little trouble seeing what the real issue is. Before I decided to respond to this post I did my own research. (Naturally, I don't like to be a follower so I prefer to come to my own conclusions before I make judgments about anything.)

    During my research I took the time to speak to some of the girls at the local Club Libby Lu and I was very impressed. They were all very nice young ladies. When they spoke to the girls they didn't talk down to them, but they did keep the subject matter age appropriate.

    I spoke with one young lady briefly in the food court at the mall and I asked her why she liked working there and she told me that she likes the company and the atmosphere. I asked her about her manager and she told me that she really liked her manager a lot because she also embodies the Club Libby Lu mission by making it a requirement for the girls to bring in their report cards (if they are student) each grading period to ensure that they were working to their potential at school and work. This made me want to know more about the manager so I asked her name and called her the following day.

    When I spoke to the manager she was very nice and gave me a lot of information. I told her that my daughter was considering working there and that I wanted more information because I have read some horrible things online. She told me that she would love to speak with me so I went by the store and we talked. She showed me her wallet and wall of fame. EVERY GIRL THAT HAS WORKED FOR HER THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION HAS GONE ON TO COLLEGE! That was very impressive. Not many retailers can brag about that. She advised me that she wants the girls to understand that if they are going to teach the little girls that come in the importance of following your dreams and being anything that you want to be, then they have to do the same. I asked her more specifically about some of the comments that I read and she advised me that:
    1) The Club Libby Lu concept was developed for 'tween girls...ages 8-13. "Many people assume that we cater to younger girls because a lot of younger girls frequent our stores. Truth of the matter is many of the things we carry only start at a size 7. As with any retailer, we don't turn away younger girls requesting our makeovers, but the makeovers are nothing like what they described online." The makeup that she showed me was muted in color. She even allowed me to put some on so that I could see the colors.
    I also asked her how they handled the minority girls that came in for makeovers. She advised me that her staff is multi-cultural and that they train on each other so that they are capable of doing all types of hair. She even advised that about 15-20% of her repeat customers are minorities.
    2) As for the attire, she advised me that the parents are asked to assist the children in changing. These girls typically choose those outfits and the parents approve. There have always been choices. She also showed me the changing area and the current selection.

    I can understand where all of the confusion can come in. If I were not the type to want to find things out for myself, I would have probably formed a conclusion just by reading this site. I will say that I don't think that Club Libby Lu is for everyone. If you are confident that you are raising your child in an open, warm and loving environment, then you shouldn't worry about Club Libby Lu corrupting your child. I am a parent of 2 boys and I don't blame the media or anything else for my sons’ actions. They have been taught by me and their father that they are the only ones responsible for their actions. I know that peer pressure exists, but you have to raise your children to understand that they have choices in life. Some of their choices you may not agree with, but you have to be able to communicate openly with your children so that they know the difference between right and wrong, reality and fiction.

    [At first I was amazed at the amount of in-depth personal research and minute detail of your explanation, especially on matters completely unrelated to the criticisms I and others--both here and in the broader media--have raised about Club Libby Lu.

    Then I was kind of freaked out at the thought of a stranger approaching a teenager in the food court and peppering her with questions, but then I figured that's just something a woman can do in this society that a man can't--or wouldn't even think of doing, frankly, but that's not the point.

    And then I wondered about your whole "I like to think for myself, I'm not a follower," angle, which sounded oddly strident, especially for someone in a mall full of national chain stores, and which could serve nicely as a backhanded slam on a critic of CLL, implying that one's disdain was not, in fact, rooted in the hoochie mama, bare midriff, catwalk-in-the-store spectacles that I've seen with my own stunned eyes. Or in the spangled and teased makeover heads of gaggles of girls prowling the mall, all embodying the identical--and the tackiest--stereotype of oversexualized female beauty our culture can produce and still be PG-rated.

    But then I realized your comment was posted from a computer on Saks, Inc.'s network, and I recognized it for what I suspected it to be: a corporate shill job, delivered by someone who doesn't disclose her connection to the company (CLL is owned by Saks), and who, in fact, rather dishonestly obscures it and poses as just a "concerned" parent. So thanks for the info, and thanks for stopping by. No need to hide next time. -ed.]

    I think before you critisize Concerned Mom about being a dishonest liar, you should actually consider what she wrote about CLL.
    I work at Libby Lu and I personally have no idea what on earth your so wound up about. There isn't anything wrong with CLL. Your pointing out things that you WANT to be wrong with it, and your making mom's who haven't even seen or heard of a Club Libby Lu hesitant to come into one. Relucant to bring their daughters in there becasue they think its some hooker joint from the way you made it out to be.
    The girls that I work with, really dont have a probelm with working at CLL. And it truly is because of the atmosphere that is in there. Its a posotive place to work. And do you know why? Its because when the girls walk in there, they get excited! Excited becasue its a place made specially for girls their age, for them to hang out and be girly and be somewhere where they can feel like they are THEE most important person in the world. Because, its our job to make them feel like a princess,a VIP (very important princess as we call them).
    At the makeover tables when we give the girls Libby Du's they can choose what they want to be, Dance Diva, Princess, Celeb DJ, Queen of the club, They can be a secret star (Hannah Montana Wig), or they can be a santas little helper. Tell me, please, what is about these hairstyles that make them look like Baby Prostitues? Their hair isnt teased, like somebody had said before. The hair styles are simple, girly hairstyles. Most of them being a series of buns, braids, and twists, that come with a hair accesory to match. Its ridiculous how much you have made all of this out to be. You made it into a pointless contoversy. Have you ever actually seen a girl who has had a complete makeover? The make up is not harsh colors. As somebody said before, they are very muted, even with sevral coats, its still not that visible. As for the costumes CLL provides to dress up in, there are no more crop tops, so you can get over that. They have been replaced by simple black T shirts with a silver star on them and black pants with a sequined elestic band, that you cant see becasue of the tshirts unless the they are tucked in. Its been that way for 6 months now. So dont say that they parade around the mall in practucally nothing. If they do choose not to be a rockstar there are other options as well, they can dress in a pink fairy dress that comes everagly to about the knees or longer, or a princess dress that is the same size as the fairy dress. They can alos choose not to dress up at all. Oh, and the girls arent aloud to dance around the mall, they dance right outside the store door. And they do not dance provocativley. They dance to the Cha cha slide and the chicken dance. They can do a Fashion Show or do the Limbo. If you honestly think that this is going to turn your young daughter into a promiscous and sleezy young lady and woman, then i highly recomend that you take them out of public school and not expose them to any media or stores of any type.
    To the mother that said that her daughter got lice from the combs at libby lu and that we dont have sterilizing matireals, CLL's are not supposed to use combs to complete Libby Du's. Since the styles are so easily made, the dont required anything but a little hairspray (not to tease but to hold stray hairs into place and the keep everything in place) and bobby pins, that dont get reused. So this lady either went to a store that was not following rules or shes lying to make CLL stores out to be an unhygenic biohazard to everyone who steps foot in one. Girls are actually checked for lice prior to the hairstyles being done too. And the makeup used to put on their face is sent home with them, it isnt reused for a hundred other girls. Just thought I'd let that litte tidbit in.
    About the staff being multi cultural, we have just as many black girls as we do white. So all hair types can be dealt with.
    So many little girls play dress up and sneak into their moms make up and let their firneds do their hair becuase thats wht little girls do. Libby Lu is just a place to let them play and let them be themselves.
    You may think that I'm just saying this because i work at Club Libby Lu, so i SHOULD be defending it. Even before i started working there i really liked the store. Thats why i started working there. Because I like the store and i liked the feel of everything there. So, im not biased because of my employment there, I'm just not an uptight person stuck in the past. Times are changing.

    [well, first, I criticized her for being dishonest because she was. and that impacts the motivation and credibility of everything she says, sorry. I accept what you say, then, that when this post originally went up in the Spring, and when the original CLL takedown was published in 2006, CLL was putting spangly tube tops and midriff-baring outfits on little girls. and that when they prance around "right outside the store," they are, in fact, in the mall. thanks for clearing that all up.

    What I can't figure is all this multi-racial defensiveness that is cropping up now in CLL employees' and management's rhetoric. Is it because I called the CLL style "white trash cultural blight"? I certainly didn't mean to imply racial insensitivity on CLL's part. How about "trailer trash cultural blight" instead? Though I think that's unnecessarily insulting to people who live in prefab homes. Wow, I see your point, I may have been too quick to judge such a complex and nuanced shopping phenomenon as CLL. -ed.]

    Wow. So, so heartfelt. So genuine. I can tell, because of the breathlessness. And the grammar. But mostly the breathlessness. Please, won't someone think of the girly girls?

    So are you saying my ten-year-old daughter is uptight and stuck in the past because she thinks Club Libby Lu is skanky and embarrassing? A friend's daughter went to get her ears pierced there and reportedly had a good experience, so I asked my daughter if she wanted to get her ears pierced a CLL, too. She begged me to please got to Claire's instead, because she would be mortified if anyone saw her in CLL.

    Is it wrong that I'm less worried about the general tackiness/sexualization and more concerned about dressing children up like Billy Corgan circa 1998?

    "Dance Diva, Princess, Celeb DJ, Queen of the club, secret star, and santas little helper."

    I think this is tonight's lineup at Krazy Horse Too gentleman's club!

    or some of the titles from the next David Sedaris book.

    KER-SLAP.... a pleasure watching you put the CLL sock puppets in their place. Makes me want to start a blog so I can link to this page and raise its page rank.

    "Oh no, we got rid of the crop tops, pre-pubescent ho is sooo last year. We're going back to our roots and sticking with the over-made up look. Tacky is the new skank!"

    I would particularly love to see how the checking for lice goes over with the parents of lice positive children.

    #1, DT, your a guy, so of course you wouldn't know the first thing about what its like to be a girl. CLL lets little girls have the ultimate girl experience of their little girl life. I see nothing wrong with letting a little girl act like a little girl, which includes dressing up, wearing makeup, and taking on the persona of a princess, rockstar, diva, or queen for a nonthreatening amount of time. Its up to the parents to be comfortable enough with their parenting ability and their children to let them have a little fun without it ruining the child's life. Lighten up!

    To whom it may concern:

    After reading your comments I feel that I must respond. I first heard of Club Libby Lu when approached by a recruiter and as soon as I heard the concept of the store, I fell in love with the concept. What I believe you all are missing is the sense of empowerment that comes from the CLL experience. I have witnessed how a young girl's face lights up when she is made into a princess for the day - she is happy, she is excited to be handing out with her friends and she feels good.

    As a business person with extensive experience and education in business and marketing, I believe the store and its components perfectly match the needs of a blossoming, underserved market. What I can not come to terms with is the extreme hatrid of the club. Its a Party! If you were to talk to a 7 year old girl and ask her what she enjoys most, she will tell you dressing up, playing in her older sister's makeup and spending time with her friends. The store is as simple as that.

    I walked around the store and examined the merchandise I could not find one item that was inappropriate for a young girl. Glitter shoes, tee shirts, and fashion jewelry hardly warrant such responses. I would encourage any critics to stop in and please RELAX, it's a party. Have F-U-N, if you even remember how. Oh, and in case you didn't know... GIRLS ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!

    [I love how CLL employees defend their store's retrograde, superficial, media-obsessed fantasies, while simultaneously insulting parents who actually have the responsibility for these girls--not to mention the ones who have the decisionmaking power on whether to enter the store. Is this a company policy or something? -ed.]

    Do you blame the employees? Just as your standing up for your beliefs so are they, and not only their beliefs but their source of income and their life for some.

    [fine, now we're getting somewhere. I object to their/your "beliefs" because they apparently include insulting parents who don't want to turn their kid over to a freakin' mall chain store. So they can be turned into airheaded, shopaholic clones programmed by E! and the Disney Channel. Also, I object to their/your "source of income," because it's based on manipulating young kids who are barely developing their sense of identity, and who are told the (best/only) way to do that is through shopping. Kids who are still learning how to distinguish between fantasy and reality, TV and the "real world". Check out the children's book from your corporate parent, Saks, discussed here: "Happiness Comes From Clothes, Nose Jobs" -ed.]

    Well a lot of that personal identity developing and distinguishing between real and fantasy is up to the parent. And like I said before the parents have to be comfortable enough with their own ability and what they've already taught their children. And another thing, CLL does nothing different than what little girls already do at home with their mommy or older sisters dresses, shoes and makeup. I along with every other little girl has gone through her moms makeup, jewelry, perfume and shoes. And CLL is actually a safer environment for these little girls to learn how to use makeup, instead of the countless accounts of girls poisoning themselves with their mothers perfume or makeup.

    Plus these little girls usually do this for an occasion and not every day, such as a birthday party. Are the little boys who go to an arcade for their birthday to do laser tag being trained to kill others with guns?

    CLL is for little girls self esteem, and for dress up in a supervised environment. If you want to look into it further than that, your probably one of those people that believes video games make kids into killers.

    I had read many blogs before about all the bad influences of Club Libby Lu’s on young girls and became against the company. After talking to two girls I baby-sit for I started to question my opinion about CLL. The girls had just gone to CLL that day. One had fake pink hair clipped in her hair and the other had her hair in a bun like a ballerina’s. I asked what they liked about CLL. They said everything. They like getting their hair done the way they want it, and dancing to songs like I Will Survive. After visiting the company’s website, I changed my opinion about CLL. I think it’s a fun place for girls to be girls. If you are against girls doing their hair and wearing sparkles that’s your opinion and you are entitled to it. You can ban your daughter from wearing hair spray and sparkles but let other parents form their own opinions about it, with out the lies that CLL is turning tweens and their younger sisters into spangly little pole dancers for the day.

    [I know what I saw, and it was skanky, not just spangly. CLL fans and employees try to call mentions of bare midriff outfits and tube tops inaccuracies and lies, when in fact, they discontinued the outfits since the original posting. There's a difference. And while I have a great deal of respect for my own daughter's opinion, I can also see the limits of her understanding and her lack of perspective; would she like CLL? Maybe. Would she like to eat a bag of marshmallows for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Probably. Will I let her? Only if I'm an irresponsible idiot. -ed.]

    I am an employee at Club Libby Lu. You brought up a few good points, but you are sadly mistaken about a few. The fact that some CLLs dont make as much as other CLLs is only because some get more business, while the club I work at is crazy busy to us... the CLL in Disneyland is INSANE with business. And yes, I have actually done makeovers on girls who are recovering from cancer. You are neglecting to realize that whatever we do (hair, makeup, nails) does make the girl feel special. My CLL does NOT have any kind of "skanky" clothing, not once have I seen a girl wearing a crop top or anything like that. The dances we do also do not inclue any sexual moves, its mostly just moving your arms and snapping your fingers. If a little girl wants to get dressed up and put on makeup, let her. Thats like not letting your 4 year old daughter put on her mom's high heels when she feels like she wants to dress up. I myself, dressed up when I was younger, and I am a good kid. I dont wear "trashy" clothes, I dont wear a lot of makeup like I played with when I was young. Neither do these girls. And the head lice thing (dont know if you said that) We check before we do the girl's hair. We also dont use combs or brushes and immediately put on hand sanitizer after every hairdo. The fact that someone got head lice is probably because some lame-o employee didnt check before hand.

    In addition to my last post...

    As I stated earlier, if a child does not "want" to do something, they won't.

    Congrats, this page is on the first page of google results for 'working at club libby lu.' Maybe that's how all the teen girls are finding you. I've actually got an interview with the local Libby Lu tomorrow; I think it's one of the most enjoyable jobs I applied for (right up there with Build-a-Bear). Yeah, I'll admit the store is sickeningly pink, and I'll feel really conflicted selling Hannah Montana stuff to kids (I'm pretty anti-pop). It all seems like innocent dress-up though, very much like my 10 year old sister and I giving each other make-overs (just way more expensive). Anyway, if you don't want your kids going there, that's your right as parents, and most of them will probably be just as happy with a trip to the local park and a popsicle. I just don't see the need to warn others of the dangers of Libby Lu; it's not such an awful place.

    Fleetwood mac surrender im 9 years old nana and my aunt hate that store

    by the way i hate hannah i also hate that store

    I was a Store Manager of a Club Libby Lu but left about 2 1/2 years before it closed. I want to aknowledge both sides. 1st, I am a parent and at the time, my daughter was in middle school. I did not like the costumes at all. I only did cute dances that did not require a lot of booty shakin. The eyeshadow that we used was light colors and in fact sometimes you couldn't really see it on them, they just knew you put it on and was happy. Some girls would just come by to get a wish granted by with our fairy dust. They liked being called Princess'. The best memories that will always be with me are the times that a moms would bring her daughter with cancer in to get a make over. How do you do a make over for a little girl with no hair? Our store would add a hair piece inside a Libby Lu hat and gave her hair. Moms would sit there and cry. Oh and by the way, we would not charge them for the hat and let them make a lotion for free. The girls that worked for me knew why we were there. To make a little girls day special. We don't know how often they get to feel like a princess or a rock star and they may have never be able to come back again so we made it a day they wouldn't forget. I also miss the conversations while doing the make overs. We would talk about music, the Disney Channel shows, favorite color, friends, and beleive it or not school. Moms would sit there and have no idea what we were talking about because they don't get involved with their kids. Yes, Libby Lu offered costumes that I didn't like or make up that should have been for older girls....BUT WHO BOUGHT IT? The moms... and the biggest criminals in this would be the Dads. We sold more large make up kits to Dads during the holiday season. When they would tell me that their little girl was only 4, I really wanted to ask him what he was thinking?! I would do it all over again just to have those special moments without all the hype. I am actually planning to do home parties which has been a huge request of moms. THEY WOULD DRESS THEIR ONLY GIRLS! Yes you all have your opinions and I understand where they come from, but please do not ignore the magic making moments Club Libby Lu had.

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