“We need more disruption,” said Bluemercury Inc. cofounder and chief operating officer Barry Beck.The executive spoke with WWD Friday as the University of Arizona Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing wrapped the final day of its annual retail conference in Tucson, Ariz., about how Bluemercury continues to try to push the buttons of what works at retail to stay ahead of the competition."The average attention span of a human being today is eight seconds; the average attention span of a goldfish is nine seconds,” Beck said. “Think about that. With the advent of the Internet, people want their products now. We’re in your neighborhoods, where you live your lives, where you buy your groceries, where you get your coffee, and this has really been our strength.”Bluemercury opened three stores last week alone.The upscale cosmetics retailer started 18 years ago, first as an e-commerce pure play. It raised $1 million but nearly ran itself into the ground with few people shopping online at the time. The company entered physical retail first with a store in Georgetown — much to the disappointment of some of its investors, including America Online founder Steve Case — but growth took off from there.It was when the company opened its third store in a historical building in Philadelphia, Beck recalled the first customer of the day looking around excited at the prospects of no longer having to go to a mall to buy her beauty products. She bought $3,000 worth of product that day. “I knew right then, we had a really great business,” Beck said.Macy’s Inc. acquired Bluemercury in 2015.“We really love Macy’s. Why? Because they’re incredible operators,” he said. “Really nice people. They have a West Coast innovation lab, which really inspired us, and they were able to provide us key know-hows to back-end digitalization of our supply chain. They’re still allowing me to flex my entrepreneurship muscles, which is something really, really important to me.”Beck said the company views itself as a mom-and-pop organization. He still interviews every store manager and calls the shots on everyday decisions.Among one of the more important of those is how the company’s looking at real estate moving forward with a portfolio Beck said he only sees getting larger over time – to the tune of what he said was room for another 300 stores in the U.S.In cities, Bluemercury is within a five-block radius of its customers. In the suburbs, it’s about a 15-minute drive time, Beck said.The importance of that underscores a shift to localization as more communities grow and moving around will become more difficult. That in turn will lead to a movement to shopping local, Beck said.“I think the smart retailers are going to realize there’s an opportunity for more stores, not less [and] that they’re going to be more well-placed stores near where their clients live their lives,” Beck said. “We don’t see cannibalization [in continued store openings]. We see a lift to the overall business.”Bluemercury is also working with Google right now in New York on local delivery service.“Bluemercury,” Beck said, “is basically becoming a substitute upscale drugstore.”That idea calls into question whether Bluemercury has or would consider expanding into additional categories in its stores. Beck is open to the idea.“Absolutely. We’re not going to rule out any possibilities,” he said. “We want to serve our clients so I’m on a mission to serve my clients and give them the products they want and we’re always listening. If our clients say that they would like electronics in our store or they would like to be able to get their their iPhone fixed in the store and we become these hubs around the country and we become this last-mile delivery, the answer is absolutely yes. Look, we never know what the future’s going to bring and we’re always willing to partner with companies.”He said Bluemercury’s been approached by tech firms about the possibility of partnering on other programs.“We’re always listening, he said. “Disruptors are everywhere and so either we’re changing every day or we’re going to be disrupted.”For More on Bluemercury in WWD:Bluemercury Boosts Natural Beauty OfferingBluemercury Opens 100th StoreBluemercury Opens in Texas
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion