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MAC Opens Pro Products Flagship

The barriers between professional makeup artists and everyday consumers are coming down at MAC.

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The barriers between professional makeup artists and everyday consumers are coming down at MAC Cosmetics.

The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.-owned brand premiered its first pro-flagship fusion store and third U.S. flagship Thursday at 45 Powell Street in San Francisco’s Union Square. The store, which has a sales floor of 1,340 square feet and a total space that covers 3,000 square feet, features MAC’s professional lineup of products along with the brand’s more customary ranges to cater to the thousands of makeup artists in the region and other customers curious about the high-technology products aimed at professionals.

Karen Buglisi Weiler, global brand president of MAC Cosmetics, said MAC decided to spotlight the pro products in the location because they set the brand apart from the competition. “It is one more point of difference,” she said. “The pro products that we have are really for makeup artists. They are designed for the industry and giving pro makeup artists more service, especially in the city of San Francisco, because we have a high level of pro makeup artists there.”

James Gager, creative director and senior vice president of MAC Cosmetics, said, “A lot of people know how significant we are in the area of what goes on backstage with fashion shows on the runway, in theater and in dance, and the fact that so many professional makeup artists use our brand. The ordinary customer might not be exposed to that, so we thought this might be an interesting way to let them know.”

MAC has divided the pro-flagship fusion store into four zones. The first zone has newly launched collections — MAC puts out around 50 a year — and the brand’s signature color selection. The second and central zone is service-oriented, and has six makeup stations and one private makeup room.

The third zone houses the pro products, and the fourth zone contains a lash bar with 40 types of lashes and the brand’s skin-care pillars, notably Prep + Prime and Mineralize. Two custom video walls animate the two final zones, and gray-tinted glass panels with overhead lines of light are used in three of the four areas in the store.

In total, more than 1,700 stockkeeping units are available at the pro-flagship fusion store, some 300 more than are available at the Champs-Élysées flagship in Paris that MAC opened earlier this year. The store has a staff of 45 makeup artists and is outfitted to serve as a venue for special events, performances, artistry trainings and educational seminars. Industry sources estimate it will generate $4 million to $5 million in first-year revenues.

Like MAC’s flagships on Fifth Avenue and in Times Square in New York, the San Francisco store adheres to the brand’s strategy of placing retail in areas with heavy foot traffic. “We anticipate these flagships to be high-volume doors for the brand, due to the large number of visitors they attract from around the world,” said Buglisi Weiler. “Each year, approximately 16 million people travel to San Francisco.”

The store also reflects MAC’s experimentation with various retail formats. Gager noted the brand is working on no less than five formats at the moment. “People want different kinds of shopping experiences. It is nice to know that MAC is MAC everywhere in the world, but I think it is smarter and more interesting to have little tweaks on what MAC is,” he said.

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