Strolling around a busy department store’s beauty floor wearing only a robe may sound like an excerpt from a somnambulist’s nightmare. However, hoards of women did just that in London’s Selfridges last summer. The near-naked ladies were not participating in peignoir protest, but rather preparing to have their tans topped up by the bronzing brand St. Tropez.
In fact, spray-tanning, eyebrow threading, makeovers and manicures are among the many services British department stores are serving up. More are likely to be added, including weigh-in stations for diet devotees, head-to-toe makeovers and even teeth whitening.
“In this market, customer service is everything and offering additional services is a way of looking after your existing customers and driving new customers into stores,” says Thea Green, founder of the London-based Nails Inc. nail bar chain and the fledgling Get Lashed false lash counter concept. “It’s affordable luxury—affordable not just in terms of money but in terms of time.”
Convenience is a key selling point. “When a woman has the case of the ‘uglies,’ she has to get what she needs done right now,” says Jean Ford, who, with her twin sister Jane, founded Benefit Cosmetics. The brand’s brow bars have been trailblazers in the arena. “It takes the mystery out of a one-and-a-half hour spa treatment and being in department stores makes services à la carte,” says Ford.
“It’s a less scary and more accessible environment than salons and spas,” says Michelle Feeney, chief executive of St. Tropez. “Only 10 percent of British beauty shoppers go to spas to get services. In order to have a wider reach, you have to [offer services in department stores].”
Having one-on-one time with customers is a boon for brands, whose therapists and sales associates have a captive audience. “You’ve got her total attention,” says Debbie Beaumont-Howell, head of beauty and accessories at House of Fraser. “For five to 10 minutes you’re talking to her about the product and selling in a very subtle way.”
According to one brand, its average transaction value in store increases from about $36 to $218 when a customer has a treatment.
Treatments on the beauty floor also create buzz. “It brings kinetic energy and curiosity, and women will stop and stare,” says Jean Ford. “It creates theater and drama,” agrees Noella Gabriel, director of product and treatment development at Elemis, which operates department store “spa pods,” or rooms with specially designed massage chairs where clients are offered facials. “The more exposed our consulting areas are the more successful they are.”
Indeed, British women seem happy to adopt a stiff — soon-to-be-hairless — upper lip attitude to grooming in public. “In Selfridges, our tanning cabanas were by the door, but people were still willing to strip off,” says Feeney. Beaumont-Howell also is counting on women’s willingness to get up close and personal in House of Fraser stores, where she’s considering teaming with Weight Watchers to offer weekly weigh-ins and healthy eating advice, and plans to roll out a concept by New ID Cosmetics, where customers can have makeovers and hairstyling services. “It’s all part of making the store a destination,” she says. “It needs to be an experience.”
Adds Gabriel, “When people are spending less you have to give more.”
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