About a 10-minute drive from its headquarters in Newport Beach, Calif., L’Oréal-owned Urban Decay is making its first move into retail with a store opening by early November at the Fashion Island shopping center.
The 1,000-square-foot store will have six makeup stations, a custom foyer, a digital video wall, wood flooring, a bathroom wallpapered in pictures of Urban Decay’s employees’ dogs and a 100-inch chandelier inspired by sconces festooned with hanging chains that the brand has in its displays at Macy’s. Although the merchandise will be similar to what’s available at Urban Decay’s wholesale partners, including Sephora, Ulta and Macy’s, the brand will also experiment with new items; dip into more shades in its eye shadow and complexion ranges, and mix in lifestyle products such as T-shirts, mugs, headphones and bags at the store.
Wende Zomnir, chief creative officer and founding partner at Urban Decay, said the brand has long considered entering retail to present the “full expression of the brand,” but was too busy growing its business at its wholesale partners to concentrate on developing a store. She elaborated that the opportunity to expand internationally — and spread freestanding stores in countries where they are appropriate for the brand — pushed Urban Decay to take a stab at retail.
“It really felt like the right time. It makes sense for us to understand what the freestanding model would look like as we expand internationally,” said Zomnir. Tim Warner, chief executive officer of Urban Decay, added that international sales account for 20 to 25 percent of the brand’s total annual take, but that figure could increase to as much as 50 percent of Urban Decay’s revenues in the upcoming years.
“In some markets, there really isn’t a lot of department store opportunities, and freestanding stores play a bigger role. It is just another component of distribution we can deploy in a market,” said Warner. “Even in the U.K., where we are in department stores, there really isn’t an open-sell retail store that we do business with. So, if we want to do business outside department stores there, freestanding stores are really the only other opportunity.”
Urban Decay’s retail infrastructure is built upon the systems L’Oréal, which acquired the brand in 2012, has put in place. “L’Oréal has vast resources to help on the operational side. I don’t want to spend my time deciding what’s the right POS system,” said Warner. “[L’Oréal] already does stores with Kiehl’s. I can key into all of their best practices and leverage their back end, and then we can focus on how it will look on the front end.”
Warner observed that some people might think Urban Decay should open its first store in a big market like New York, but emphasized Fashion Island suited the brand because it is in its backyard, and Urban Decay doesn’t currently have significant distribution there. Additionally, the center’s busyness — it reports attracting 15 million visitors per year — and open-air setting appealed to Zomnir.
“An Urban Decay freestanding store to me isn’t a mall store. It should be more of a freestanding store, but, as you know in Southern California, it’s really hard to get foot traffic in anything that is not in a shopping mall,” she said. “So, Fashion Island fit the bill in so many ways.” Industry sources estimate the store could generate $1 million to $2 million yearly.
Zomnir and Warner underscored the store could enable Urban Decay to nurture a closer relationship with its customers. “We all have these relationships on Facebook with people we don’t know that well. To have a personal interaction with a brand or another person is really special, and a retail store allows you to speak to your customer in a one-on-one personal way,” said Zomnir. Warner chimed in, “Our own retail store is an opportunity to interact directly with the customer from a CRM [customer relationship management] standpoint. Obviously, working with Sephora, Ulta and Macy’s, those are their customers that we have there, so we never really have direct access to them. So, this is a great opportunity for us to have direct access to them.”
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)