Where do you take your ugly daughter so that she can be fixed up? Club Libby Lu!

July 19, 2008 | By | 15 Replies More

I’m sure that the people who run the corporation that operates Libby Lu stores would object to my title for this post. Too bad. What else could you say about a store that slaps unnecessary makeup and shallow-minded accessories on little girls so that they can feel like their appearance is acceptable?

I learned about Club Libby Lu from a mother who stated that she left her daughter off at a birthday party for the girl’s friend; the party was being held at club Libby Lu. When the mom came back two hours later, the girls were holding a “fashion show” at which most of them “looked like whores.” The woman was aghast and suggested she never would’ve left her daughter at this store had she known that this was what they were going to do.

I happened to be at a big mall today (the St. Louis Galleria), assisting my wife to replace her broken cell phone. While walking through the mall, I noticed a “Libby Lu.” I was carrying my camera with me and I decided to take a closer look.

I couldn’t help but notice that the store was rather crowded with young girls (aged 7 through 11) along with their mostly obese parents. The girls were crowded around two areas where they would be receiving makeup, new hairstyles and glitzy accessories. Many of the employees wore pink wings. It all seemed bizarre to me. The entire store seemed equally strange to my nine-year-old daughter, who didn’t want to have anything to do with the place. I begged her to go into the store with me, however, so I wouldn’t look like a pedophile.

Above, you can see the types of stations where the girls are made “pretty,” to the relief of their parents. Step one is to get a decent hairdo. Here are some of the hair styles that are offered to the young girls.

As you can see, the young girls can go to the “Spa.” But, remember, “To ensure proper pampering, you must call to make an appointment for a Libby Lu party” where you can get a “Libby Du.”

But why go alone? Club Libby Lu specializes in arranging parties for your daughter and her friends, all for a cost of only $40 per child. That’s what I was told by an extra-peppy employee of Libby Lu. The store presents itself as a “resort.”

Why would your young daughter do any of this? In the lingo of Club Libby Lu, you do it “2BU!” You do it because you are not sufficiently attractive if you don’t spend lots of money at Libby Lu.

Why else do you do it? According to Libby Lu, you do it to “Go on tour with your friends at Club Libby Lu.” Or you “shop till you drop at our goodie shop” (for only $25). Another good reason to spend a lot of money at Club Libby Lu is that the Jonas Brothers have arrived. I hope those pre-teenaged Jonas Brothers brought lots of condoms, in case they successfully sweep your pre-teenaged daughter off to some high-rolling nightclub, and then who knows what, given that the aim is to make your young daughter look something like this:

In case my sarcasm is going over anyone’s head, see what I really think about corporations that try to make their money by over-sexualizing young girls. I have little tolerance for corporations that make their money by convincing little girls and their parents that they aren’t pretty enough. Libby Lu works much harder than most of these corporations to convince young girls and their parents that there isn’t enough time to grow up as a child.


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Category: Consumerism, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (15)

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  1. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    I'm totally surprised they didn't name it "Barbie Boot Camp"

  2. Jen M. says:

    Wow. This is disgusting.

    I guess these corporations are worried about girls getting smart early in life and not spending money in their stores.

    *eye roll*

  3. Erika Price says:

    Erich: you may be delighted to learn that Saks is closing Club Libby Lu. See here:


    Apparently you were not alone in finding this store disgusting.

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    Erika: Interesting. I would only hope that consumers decided that these stores provided sexist and demeaning crap they didn't want or need, but I'm afraid it was simply a problem of the chain not making enough money for its stock holders.

  5. lil Kymmie says:

    u wanna know something?! i'm perfectly skinny and pretty and i think wait i KNOW LIBBY LU'S IS NOT GROSS IT'S TOTALLY AWESOME? got it?

  6. Tony Coyle says:

    My daughter Lucie is 4 years old, extremely girly, and loves dress up — but she does so as a little girl. Not as a "$2 whore".

    I'd ask WTF are these parents thinking – but I answered my question already. (They're not thinking)

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Tony: Speaking of dressing up, a friend just sent me copies of her daughter's high school photos. Apparently, it's not unusual for a high school girl to spend $1,000 for her photos. Now, the mom of this girl frequents this blog, so I must be careful here. This girl's photos look stunning but also alluring, almost like a super-stimulus People Magazine shoot. I really don't want my daughters to be displaying themselves widely through photos like that, though I know that it will be their decision.

      And as you stated so directly, I certainly don't want them dressing up in a sexual way when they are 7, 10 or 12. As you saw, it doesn't take much to mock the parents of the kids who are (actually, were) allowed to spend time in Club Libby Lu.

  7. Erika Price says:

    Erich: high school-aged girls often spend thousands on prom-night primping alone. A few hundred dollars for a dress here, a few for a fantastic up-do there, manicure, shoes, accessories, limo- you can see where it adds up. I saw girls' families spend almost as lavishly on middle school dances and more casual high school events like homecoming as well. I find it disgusting that most high school students and their families consider such waste a necessity.

    I was listening to slate's Double X podcast last week, and Hanna Rosin called manicures and pedicures 'necessary' in order to be presentable. The standards that Club Libby Lu and co perpetrate even bleed into the psyches of smart adults.

    • Christeevcl Vonesy says:

      My dad spent over 1000 on my prom dress over 100 for my hair I don’t remember how much for my manicure abs pedicure. The accessories were a lot. Everyone chipped in for the limo and resort for the weekend in Wisconsin Dells. Prom is supposed to be a lot. It only happens for junior and senior year. You might as well spend it

  8. Jessica says:

    I worked at Club Libby Lu for two years, it was one of the best jobs ever! It's not about trying to cake on make-up "sexing up" your child! They recieved very light pink or white eye shadow with a sparkley pink lip gloss and either pink blue or purple nail polish. It wasnt like we were putting on eye liner concealer or fake lashes! We let young girls get dressed up and be a rockstar or princess or trend setter for a day! It made them feel good and boost up there self-esteem! I think this store is amazing and I miss it so much! Everyone is going to have thier own opinion about it, and just because your child had no interest of doing it, that doesnt make it a horrible or degrading place. You might have walked in took some pictures and talked to an "over peppy" worker about the store but unless you work there or saw all the smiles and laughing and little girls being confident about themselves then you wouldnt understand.

    • Jay says:

      Exactly. I went there when I was a kid and all I remember was having fun and being a super star, it’s just playing dress up. We all knew it wasn’t to look like that for everyday life. People need to stop making everything a big deal just because they don’t agree with it. If you don’t like it don’t go.

  9. Stephanie says:

    I actually worked at the St. Louis Galleria Club Libby Lu. I end up "defending" it pretty frequently. At the time I worked there it was pre-Jonas bros, Hannah Montana, etc. I left shortly after it was acquired by Saks.

    With that said, there was a gamut of how kids & parents would react to the parties. Like I said, when I worked there it was still pre-disney channel crossover. Paris Hilton wasn't a household name yet.

    Some little girls took it waaaaaay seriously, and it was a little disturbing. We chatted with the girls while doing their makeovers and some of them had intelligent things to say, and others you could tell were on their way to vapid-whoresville.

    You could tell which ones were doing it as a treat, and which ones acted like "divas" all the time.

    I'm a little bit sad that the company went bankrupt, because I do think they had a solid concept. I saw a LOT of little happy girls. Not one of them said "I have to do this because I'm not pretty enough" – give kids some credit! They realized it was pretend, and for FUN. The responsible parents were able to articulate this to their kids.

  10. Amanda H says:

    I have to say that I agree with you mostly on this subject. I get so tired of seeing moms dress their children (even toddlers) like steet-walkers. I think Club Libby Lu took a major wrong turn and suffered the consequences. I would NEVER allow my daughter to dress (even in pretend, or costume) in the cothing that they provided. It was a very disturbing sight! However, having said that, I do believe there has to be a balance. I wouldn't have a problem taking my VERY girly girl daughter to a place where they do dress up hair styles and accessories, but she WOULD NOT be getting all painted up like a clown! We all know where a child's self-worth and self-esteem come from, they are taught their value by their parents. If the parents believe that the outside is what matters the most, so will the child. I personally want to raise my daughter knowing that she is perfect just the way she was created!

  11. Amber says:

    That’s not at all how I thought about Libby lu when I was little. It was a fun girly day to spend with a friend. They had different packages to choose from, I remember one was a rockstar that came with a microphone. I believe one was a princess and what little girl doesn’t want to dress up as a princess. I also remember dog accessories which I think was also one of the packages you could pick. They didn’t put a lot of makeup on you and you got to pick out what braid you wanted and they added some glitter to your hair when they were done. It never made me feel like I needed to look that way to be beautiful. It was just for fun.

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