This paper is based on a critical analysis of a chain of retail outlets called `Girl Heaven', aimed primarily at 3-13-year-old girls, described variously as `a piece of retail folklore' (Lumsden, 1999) and as `Guardian Wimmin Hell' (Kettle, 1999). It argues that while on the one hand Girl Heaven appears to provide a celebratory social space in which girls can affirm their femininity, it also seems to epitomize the commercial appropriation of childhood femininity. As a way into exploring these two alternatives, this article is concerned initially with what it means to `do' feminine childhood against the backdrop of contemporary consumer culture. It then outlines the methodological approach that we take to researching Girl Heaven, and the ways in which we explore young girls' lived experience of consumer culture and gender acquisition. We then consider the commercial context of Girl Heaven in relation to the increasing market recognition of `tweenies', as well as the significance of pester power and branding in childhood approaches to consumption. We subsequently focus on Girl Heaven as a cultural text, concentrating on its construction of femininity. Our analysis culminates in an attempt to reflect critically on the complex relationship between consumer culture and the process of becoming a woman. We reflect on Girl Heaven - with which, our research suggests, young girls themselves are acutely aware of having a relationship that is far from straightforward - as a notable manifestation of this complexity.