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Carly Hagedon

VMSD 2020 International Visual Competition – First Place: “American Girl Julie’s Groovy World”

Julie’s Groovy World creates a journey at the American Girl flagship




VMSD 2020 International Visual Competition – First Place; Temporary/Pop-Up Retail Space; “American Girl Julie’s Groovy World”; Submitted by: FRCH Nelson, Cincinnati

FOR AMERICAN GIRL’S New York flagship, FRCH Nelson (Cincinnati) created a temporary retail experience set around the brand’s Julie doll. With themes drawn directly from the character’s book, the project called “Julie’s Groovy World” was chock full of 1970s motifs, like a replica of Julie’s bedroom that featured beaded curtains and an egg chair. Other props included a vintage Volkswagen Beetle and a 3-D view of the San Francisco skyline, Julie’s hometown.

“Julie is such a great character,” says Robyn Novak, VP, FRCH Nelson. “She’s rooted in the 1970s; she’s somebody who struggles with the prejudices of the past and sees opportunities in the future. And because her storyline message is so positive, we wanted to create little moments representing parts of her life so girls could experience a day in Julie’s world.”

Drawing upon Julie’s dreams to become a civic leader and basketball player, a “pop-a-shot” game and voting booth were on display for kids to play with. The team was challenged to select materials that could withstand wear and tear, with the ultimate goal to immerse children in Julie’s world beyond the book.

“You get this opportunity to step into Julie’s world and into the 1970s. You’re engaging with her surroundings, her personal bedroom and her love of basketball. All of those things come together to let girls play,” Novak says. “The idea is that if they step into this immersion, they’ll connect with the character on a whole new level, and then they can connect with the supporting products, take her and her things home and continue that conversation.”

The judges felt drawn to Julie’s fun attitude, as well, “Julie seems like a groovy girl, and I’d hang out with her,” said 2020 Visual Competition judge Joe Baer of Columbus-based ZenGenius Inc.


Carly Hagedon is the Editor-in-Chief of VMSD magazine. She is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, where she studied Journalism—Magazine Writing and American history. She also currently serves as a board member for the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).



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