This fall, a slew of new beauty boutiques are opening in New York City. Here, a look inside.
This story first appeared in the October 14, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Sephora’s 16th store in New York City, located at the corner of Ninth Avenue and West 13th Street, is an incubator for a number of new initiatives — the most surprising of which is the lack of a cash wrap.
The 5,000-square-foot store (3,500 square feet is devoted to selling space) is the first Sephora in the U.S. to feature a completely mobile checkout model, according to David Suliteanu, chief executive officer of Sephora Americas. The store is Sephora’s 293rd in the U.S. “This store gives us an opportunity to put our most current thinking into Manhattan,” says Suliteanu. The mobile checkout system, which Suliteanu plans to add to as many as 50 stores by yearend 2011, works with an internal Wi-Fi network and a scanner that looks like a handheld phone. “It works on touch screen and does just about all of the same things a cash wrap can do in a smaller format,” he says.
The store stocks several new-to- Sephora brands, including Giorgio Armani, Koh Gen Do and Ellis Faas cosmetics. Another new idea is the Global Beauty gondola, which includes Tatcha Blotting Papers from Japan, Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm from Hungary and Phillip Martin’s Maple Wash and Rinse from Italy. In all, about 12 new vendors are stocked at the Meatpacking District store; those that do well will go into additional doors.
The selling space is equally high tech. In the Beauty Art Studio, four double-sided glass, chrome and black fixtures with LED screens on each side dominate. Each station features lighting that is adjustable to six settings, while smaller versions of the mirrors are installed at the end of each cosmetics gondola. There’s also a Sephora Nail Studio Art + Lacquer Services featuring an XpresSpa installation. While Suliteanu declined to discuss sales projections, industry sources estimate that the store could do upwards of $6 million in retail sales in its first year.
Given its trendy location, Sephora went for the “wow” factor in terms of decor, incorporating art into the design. Perhaps most fitting is a sculpture by artist E.V. Day titled “Flamenco Tornado.” While it’s the first in a series commissioned by Sephora, one can only assume the retailer hopes shoppers will be blown away by the new store.
Benefit Cosmetics has brought a piece of San Francisco to NYC’s SoHo. Located at 454 West Broadway, the 2,000-square-foot, two-story boutique opened in late September and is intended to serve as the brand’s flagship, says Aurelian Lis, general manager of North America for Benefit Cosmetics. It is the third East Coast boutique for the brand, which operates 30 freestanding boutiques, 14 of which are located in the U.S. Two additional door s— in Greenwich and Westport, Conn. — are also set to open this fall. The decor celebrates the brand’s cheeky positioning. Interiors are done in rosy pink, accented with crystal chandeliers, sleek tables with cabriolet legs and padded makeup stools, while lacquered wainscoting complements hand-painted wallpaper in pink, white and black and tiled floors. Products like They’re Real (a $22 volumizing and lengthening mascara) and Take a Picture, It Lasts Longer (a glimmering body balm, $28) spill from pale pink armoires. The store’s service menu, crafted specifically for the SoHo store, includes brow shaping, facial and body waxing, brow and lash tinting, tanning, brow threading and makeup application lessons.
Jo Malone stores are coming in pairs this fall, with outposts at 330 Bleecker Street and Grand Central Station’s Lexington Passage set to open. The stores—715 square feet and 273 square feet, respectively—will unveil a new design for the brand, one that is both homey and luxe. The inspiration was that of English classicism mixed with modernity, says James Gager, senior vice president and group creative director for MAC, La Mer and Jo Malone. “We’ve taken the existing Jo Malone architecture and embellished it, punctuating it with black and an eclectic mix of elements,” says Gager. “We want to create an environment where shopping becomes a luxurious experience, one that a customer wants to browse and actually feel like they would like to live in” Adds Maureen Case, president, Estée Lauder Cos. Specialty Brands, “Our customer is looking for understated service that is tailored to her. She likes subtle displays of good taste.”
With walls made from 2,800 recycled copies of the New York Times affixed to wood and an antique sink dominating the 350-square-foot space, Aesop’s first stand-alone store in the U.S. isn’t just another bath and body shop. Located at 232 Elizabeth Street in NoLIta, the jewel box was designed by architect Jeremy Barbour. The store is Aesop’s 41st globally. “The idea behind the newspapers was marking the passage of time, and to make a connection with New York,” says Giovanni Lepori, president of Aesop USA, explaining that Aesop customizes each store to best complement the market in which it is placed. The tiny square footage — small even by Aesop’s standards — forces every inch of the space to work. Narrow wood shelves along two long walls hold the full range, while the sink is tucked under a shelf. The cash wrap is built into a counter which doubles as a demonstration area, and storage cabinets are secreted behind the cashwrap. Two more Aesop doors are in the works for Manhattan, both set to open this winter.
Duane Reade has unveiled a glittering concept store at 40 Wall Street. Inside a vaulted hall with marble arches lies an express hair salon, barbershop, nail polish bar, virtual makeover station and fragrances galore. The 22,000-square-foot store is Duane Reade’s largest and marks its most dramatic attempt to reinvent the beauty department and gain market share from department stores.
The store, housed in an old bank, builds upon its upscale beauty concept called Look Boutique. “This is the Look Boutique on steroids,” said Joe Magnacca, president of daily living products and solutions of Walgreens Co. and president of Duane Reade.
Additions to the Look Boutique concept here include Phyto Universe, a three-chair salon that offers treatments and blow-dry services; a hair tools dis- play, where shoppers can test out flat irons, curling irons and blow-dryers; the EZ Face “Find Your Look” make-over tool, which allows a customer to snap a digital photograph of herself and then virtually apply products simply by scanning the bar code; a fragrance display that spritzes 40 scents onto blotters or wrists, and the Nail Bar by Essie-OPI housed in David Rockefeller’s former office. Service prices range from $10 for a manicure to $65 for a hair treatment. The store is manned by at least one beauty adviser 24 hours a day; during peak hours, five are on hand. Higher-end beauty brands include Pür Minerals, Barex hair care and This Works skin care, while in the fragrance area, prestige names abound.