Shu Uemura Sets Up Shop in San Fran
SAN FRANCISCO — Shu Uemura waited 10 years to launch its second store in the U.S., which has been opened in the heart of San Francisco's bustling Fillmore Street.

To celebrate, U.S. general manager Chris Salgardo last Tuesday night packed the corner shop with Japanese flair — and local fans of the skin care concern, which is named for its founder, Shu Uemura, a pioneer in modern theatrical and personal makeup artistry with a career that has lasted for more than 50 years.

The San Francisco store is the start of what Salgardo expects to be the opening of one to two stores a year in high-end markets. Shu Uemura's first store was opened in 1995 in New York's SoHo neighborhood.

“We're in no hurry,” Salgardo said, referring to expanding in a way that's designed to protect the brand's exclusivity, as a Shinto priest prepared to bless the new business in front of an altar decorated with fruit and vegetable arrangements. Afterward, as guests nibbled on sushi, a floor-to-ceiling mural was unveiled by Japanese artist Ai Yamaguchi, whose ethereal work depicts young courtesans in Japan's Edo period.

During the party, appointments at the store's Tokyo Lash Bar were filled for the next day, with patrons saying they needed Shu Uemura's signature extensions for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's Modern Ball. In its first three days, the store booked 20 appointments for the $12 to $24 extensions.

Salgardo said northern California is a rich area to mine for customers of all ages, women and men, interested in “accessible luxury” through things such as Shu Uemura's lashes, a $26.50 cleansing oil or free, 10-minute face massages. The region, with San Francisco leading, provides the second-highest volume in sales on the company's U.S. Web site, after the New York metropolitan area, Salgardo said, declining to offer specifics.

Shu Uemura, which is 51 percent owned by L'Oréal and 49 percent owned by Uemura and his family, is also carried at 15 department store locations in the U.S., including Barneys New York and Bergdorf Goodman.
— Joanna Ramey

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