Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Is the $43 Billion Dollar Tween Market Making Tweens Grow Up too Fast?

(Girls Just Wanna Have Fun at Little Princess Spa)

(Spa Day at Little Princess Spa)

How to Write Your Own Money-Making Websites

 She's not a tween yet, but at age five, she can put on a hot pink zebra skirt and matching one shoulder top, grab her pink Coach handbag and go. 

The thing is, she's not the one buying these items. 

Let's imagine our Lil diva wearing a charm bracelet on her wrist.  We can't help but notice her pink  French manicured nails that were recently done at her Little Princess Spa Party. 

 (Little Princess Spa)

Tweens 8 to 13 years old can't drive themselves to the mall.  But that doesn't stop them from being responsible for billions of dollars in consumer spending.  Can you believe it, marketing innocently starts at a girls slumber party. 

Aired on The Early Show, as a joint series with CBS Evening News:  "Gotta Have It:  The Hard Sell to Kids," explored marketers' obsession with tween girls.  Why?  

1. They spend more money.
2. And they love to talk.

Slumber parties are a popular marketing strategy used by marketers to obtain feedback about products.  We all know that tweens love slumber parties.  Especially, when there's a box packed with technology goodies--accessories, games and new products waiting for them to tear into.  They are there to create a viral buzz among this sought-after consumer group.  

Here's how it works.  The box sits in a spot strategically selected by the marketing firm, GIA, short for Girls Intelligence Agency.  
Even the slumber party's hostess was strategically selected to be the alpha or the peer influencer in her group of friends.  They listen and trust her opinion.  She has the most influence.  GIA has 40 to 50,000 of these girls registered called,  "secret agents."

 ( - Glamour Avenue Parties)

It's mind blowing to think that important business decisions, affecting multi-million dollar companies are in the hands of  eight to 12-year-olds.  This group is important because if one girl likes it, she'll tell two friends and they'll tell two friends until it becomes viral.  I'm surprised the GIA haven't infiltrated the Tweens' spa day parties yet.  They probably have. 

 Of course, this puts pressure on kids and parents to keep up.

Ten years ago, Tweens were adolescents from ages ten to 12.  GIA identifies a tween age range as 8 to 13.   Most of Madison Avenue has pushed back the Tweens age range to five.  We're getting close to calling toddlers tweens.  I've seen zebra clothing on them too.  

There's nothing wrong with an eight-year-old or a three-year-old, wearing hot pink zebra as long as it was designed for an eight-year-old and a three-year-old to wear.

Freelance Website in Four Days’ Express

Verizon has also jumped on the bandwagon by incorporating the younger tweens in their Susie's Lemonade commercial.  This campaign advertises Verizon 4G LTE technology and tablets.  It shows Susie and her company doing business at lightning fast speeds.  

Wow, it all started with Dad lending Susie his phone to calculate her lemonade stand sales and keep track of the time.  He returns home to a lemonade conglomerate.

 (Ming-Lee and Aoki Simmons)

There's no question that our 21st Century tweens are more fashion forward than their predecessors were at their age.  Ming-Lee (12) and Aoki Simmons (10) launched a children's clothing line in 2007 that suits our New Millennium kids' style.  

They launched it under their parents' business guidance -- Fashion Mogul Kimora Simmons, and Hip-Hop Music and Fashion Mogul, Russell Simmons.

Here's what's hard to swallow. 7.5 million of the 20 million under 18 Facebook users are younger than 13.  It's no secret that danger lurk between the Social Media walls and hashtags.  Naive tweens Facebooking there every move could attract child molesters and kidnappers. 


 Just like adults, tweens are busy Tweeting, Texting, Facebook Chatting ...and let's not forget You Tube viewing and uploading videos daily.  They know their way around a video camera and tablet.

They're showing themselves to be a technologically smarter generation with the most at their fingertips.  That can be good and bad.  Is it Too Much?

And your ears will hear a word behind you saying, this is the way; walk in it when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left.  Isaiah 30:21

Kiki here... welcome to this week's iCafe Woman Moderne's text-webisode:  "Is the $43 Billion Dollar Tween Market Making Tweens Grow Up Too Fast."  Where are the pigtails and ponytails, cute barrettes and hairbands?   

Tweens are wearing their hair loose and experimenting with makeup a lot earlier than previous generations.  Of course, a lot of the makeup they use is made for this market and has lots of glitter.

Victoria's Secret Pink Collection markets to a younger crowd.  I'll never get used to seeing twelve-year-olds shopping at Victoria's Secret with their mothers or a group of peers with an accompanying adult. 

"There is no such thing as preadolescence anymore.  Kids are teenagers at ten," said Henry Trevor, middle-school director of the Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn.   

I'm here today with three of our iCafe Girl Moderne Tweens:  Chyna (12), Felicity (11) and Ainsley (10)  They're happy to give us a brief glimpse inside their world.  

 iCafe Woman Moderne - A virtual cafe inside a mid-century home



Our girls are chilling on a Sixties couch and egg chair in our sun room.  

 American Girl

American Girls dolls are next to them, (I asked the girls to bring them.)but they're not feeling the love.  Instead, our tweens' are fixated on their Macbook Pro, iPad and iPhone.

(Egg Chair -

They're not aware that Kiki has entered the sunroom.  She clears her throat, as the camera zooms in on Ainsley, staring at her iPad.  She looks up with a start.

 Oh Hi.... I'm Ainsley and I just turned ten a week ago.  Chyna's on my left ... she's 12.   That's Felicity in the egg chair.  She's 11.  Felicity, look up!

An embarrassed Felicity grins toward the web-cam.

Chyna, Felicity and seven of my girlfriends who hang here with us, came to my Birthday Princess Spa Party.  It was at a real spa for girls.  We arrived in a pink stretch limo ...had chocolate facials, manicures, pedicures and massages.  Stylists made us over with makeup, lots of glitter and hair pieces.  My stylist crimped mine and added a cute crimped hair piece.  Then, we modeled our fashions.  It was so cool.

It was so much fun.  I mean, it was Ainsley's birthday party, but she gave us each a piece of jewelryand this cute tiara she makes and sells.  They were her party favors.  I love my tiara and earrings. 

That's right, Ainsley.  You design and sell your own jewelry online.

Yep, also tiaras, hair accessories and the ones we're wearing today.  Mom said if I wanted a spa birthday party, I'd have to pay for half.  

Kiki faces the camera.

You go, Mom!

That's what she said, until she saw my final report card.  I got all As and this great spa party.  The spa had an opening at the last minute.  And I didn't have to spend any of my money.

(Princess Spa Party)

We wore little black dresses with pink accessories.

I heard you ordered your dresses at an online store that sells LBDs for little girls, the LLBD Shop - The Little-Little Black Dress Shop.  The little girl in our opening scene is one of their models. 

Yes, thankfully it won Mom over.  She wanted us to wear boring pink dresses ...but I only like pink with black.  Black's my favorite dress color.
Oh, I understand.  Perfect Little Black Dresses are big at iCafe Woman Moderne. They're my favorite too.  You're all kidpreneurs, right?  You have your own businesses.

They nod. 

Uh-huh.  I crochet cell phone purses, iPad covers, small pocketbooks and cute socks and hats for babies. 

So that's how you get your electronics.

Nope.  I get my electronics, video games and clothes from my family.  Mom controls my business account.  She gives me a weekly allowance that could be $50 to $100, depending on what's going on.   I don't have to spend much of my money, which I love.  I got an iPhone from my Dad last week and a MacBook Pro for Christmas.

 (LLBD - By Blush)

I thought you already had a cell phone.

I do, but I really wanted an iPhone.  I've been begging my mom for one for months.  My parents are divorced.  Mom didn't say much after Daddy gave it to me.  She was so mad.  I'm just glad she let me keep it.  My iPhone is a thousand times way better.

My Daddy's parents gave me an iPad for my birthday, last February.  They said I deserve one because I worked so hard, and they're old school so that was a big deal.  

You make those unique cupcakes I had the other day.  They were delicious.

I also bake cookies too. My business is called Sweetie's Cupcakes & Cookies. That's my nickname.  I made the same cupcakes you tasted for Ainsley's birthday party.  I started seriously baking after my Dad died from cancer two years ago.  Mom was so sad, she could barely talk without crying.  I sort of had trouble focusing in school.

 (Mango Coriander Pound Cake Cupcake - Food Network's Cupcake Wars)

Chyna's eyes fill with tears.  She accepts Kiki's tissues and wipe them away.

 It was hard on me too, but Dad kind of prepared me, since I'm the oldest.  He also made me 12 videos, one for every month for a year, where he talks about stuff.  His parents, MiMi and Pop-Pop, gave them to me right after the funeral.  On the first video, he reminded me of our last conversation.  He told me he loved my blueberry pancakes and orange vanilla cupcakes.

The girls reach out to her, she fans them away. 

I'm good.  Anyway, I needed something to make Mom and me and my two sisters smile again.  So I combined Daddy's two favorite things .... no ... three ...and created blueberry pancake vanilla cupcakes with bacon.   He loved bacon too ...the thick kind.

Girl, you're preaching to the choir.  She's making them for two of iCafe Girl Moderne upcoming events.

It sounds weird, but I couldn't stop eating them.  Tell them how you made it.

It's so easy.  I made a light pancake batter from scratch, added fresh blueberries, marscapone and fresh vanilla bean.  I made a sweetened condensed milk whipped cream frosting swirled with maple syrup and topped with an orange slice glazed with orange juice, cinnamon and sugar.  And I added a crisp piece of thick bacon.  It's so yummy.  

Tell them what you told me.  

Felicity doesn't wait for her to speak.  She turns to the web camera.

FELICITY (Con'td.)
She said, the cupcakes were what made them all smile again. 

Since then, I've never stopped baking ...and people started ordering a bunch of stuff and paying me.  I made my my Mom and sisters my staff ...even Ainsley and Felicity help out. We're trying to get on Food Network's Cup Cake Wars.  

Your cupcakes are awesome! We ate them first, but I had a birthday cake too.  
(her smile dims) 
I'm a ballerina, so my dad surprised me with cake in the shape of a ballerina that looked like me.   She thought it was going to be a sheet cake with a ballerina on it, not a replica of me.  I overheard her tell him that it was too over-the-top.  And he said, "so a spa day with a chauffered pink limo is your average little girl's birthday party?"  They shut up when they saw me in the doorway.  I was too psyched about the cake to get bummed.  I wish they would stop trying to compete for my love.  They already got it.

I'm glad you all shared your feelings with us today.  I think parents don't fully realize how hard divorce is on their children.  And, a death of a parent is especially hard on a family, because the life as they know it has changed forever.  

The camera pans the girls faces.

...They still have a life to live and new memories to create.  Ainsley and Felicity ...keep telling your parents how you love them both, equally.  They'll get it.

She sits down next to Chyna.

 And Chyna, you were so smart to find something your Daddy loved and turn it into something that would make you all remember the happy times together.

The camera zooms in on Kiki.

What about you?  We'd like to hear your comments ... tweens, parents, grandparents ... just click on the comments.  Don't be shy!