Barbicore was one of the  examples I mentioned a few weeks ago in describing the use of the word “core” to describe a trend that is part visual, part lifestyle.  In the case of Barbie, the emphasis is mostly on the color pink (coupled with a desire for fun).  According to People magazine, donning pink in the hottest hue paired with nostalgic accessories is the latest craze.

I think we were ready for a craze, frankly, and that the Barbie movie that debuted a few days ago came at the right time. In its predictions of what the hot trends would be for 2023, The New York Times came up with pet rats and butter crocks. Who wouldn’t think that Barbie was more fun than that?

As soon as the movie opened, groups of friends in pink were tailgating in the theater’s parking lot here in Madison, Wisconsin. Gift and fashion lines are promoting pink products, in many cases items they already had in stock.  The emphasis is less on the Barbie brand (much to Mattel’s dismay, I imagine) and more on bubblegum and good times. Barbie has been around since 1959, so she appeals to both boomers and the current generation of kids.

“From Malibu makeovers to striped dog bandanas to hot pink cocktails, many small business owners have latched on to Barbie-inspired products to get more eyes on their websites and social media accounts,” Reuters reports.  It’s easy for independent retailers to jump on this trend.  Here are just a few ideas:

• Display pink items that you have in stock together with a vignette of Barbie dolls

• Hold a pink party, with a discount given to shoppers coming dressed appropriately

• Invite Barbie doll owners of all ages to bring in their favorite doll for a photo booth op

• Serve pink lemonade at your special event – a summer treat associated the Barbie

• Hold a Barbie scavenger hunt in your commercial district, with framed photos of  Barbie, Ken and their friends hidden in participating shops and restaurants

• Film a video of Barbie touring your store for TikTok or Instagram (check out the one by the Chicago Botanic Garden for inspiration)

Have fun with the pink trend while it’s hot – and keep in mind that it may or may not last long. After all, The New York Times could still be right about the pet rats and butter crocks.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder

Please note that there will not be a Specialty Shop Retailing blog next week due to the Las Vegas Gift Show