The frill is gone, and that’s just what Dermalogica founder Jane Wurwand intended.
The skin care company that shuns pampering for pampering sake plans to quietly open its second U.S. concept store in Manhattan next week (the first unit opened in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2004), and intends for the art-gallery-esque space to serve as an allegory for the brand.
Describing both, Wurwand said, “It’s very authentic. What you see is what you get.”
Within the 1,600-square-foot space, located at 110 Grand Street in a building designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, there are treatments and a try-it-yourself Skin Bar, complete with personal steamers and mirrors. But don’t call it a spa, cautioned Wurwand.
“This [concept] is not about luxury or pampering. It’s about skin health and fitness,” said Wurwand, whose been espousing that point of view since launching Dermalogica 25 years ago. “There needs to be a course correction in beauty, and a move away from the steaming and creaming approach, because that’s just not enough. If we are going to secure clients, we need to do more,” she said. “More” also means making it seamless for overscheduled patrons to slip in-and-out for an appointment, without the robe and candle-filled lounge niceties.
At the Skin Bar, licensed skin therapists give shoppers complimentary five-minute skin exams, or Face Mapping in Dermalogica speak, to determine their skin condition and recommend products accordingly. Immediately behind the Skin Bar are two Micro-Zone Treatment pods, or semiprivate areas used for 20-minute services including a minifacial, extractions and exfoliation, to name a few. The SoHo location also has one Dermalogica Skin Pod, an oval-shaped space where clients can customize the lighting and music, right down to plugging in their own iPod or MP3 player. Treatments here tend to last an hour or more.
“Time is very valuable,” said Wurwand, noting that many of the women she polls say they’d rather fit in a workout than a spa treatment. To make it easier and faster to maintain skin health, Dermalogica’s Manhattan outpost will be open seven days a week until 9 p.m., most likely, said Wurwand, who is still ironing out details for the official grand opening, slated for Feb. 26.
A staff of five to seven will man the store, which Wurwand anticipates will host myriad educational events to teach shoppers (men and teens included) “how to get the best results at home.”
Dermalogica has built is global business, estimated at more than $100 million, through its product line and International Dermal Institute training facilities. It is sold at 6,500 U.S. shops with a professional skin care bent, including Bluemercury and Ulta, and Dermalogica is used by more than 75,000 professional skin therapists around the world.
In addition to the two Dermalogica concept stores in the U.S., others are located in London; Berlin; Auckland, New Zealand; Mumbai, India and Dubai in United Arab Emirates.
Wurwand, who has been scouting for a location in New York for nearly three years, acknowledges the brand’s bravado in opening a Manhattan shop during a dismal economic climate, but said, “The economic woes are a short-term thing, and brand building is a long-term thing. For us, this [shop] is like an advertisement with walls.”