Bigger is Better
This story first appeared in the August 13, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Beauty Company, San Francisco’s go-to beauty emporium, has moved to a 4,000-square-foot location down the block from its original spot in tony Russian Hill. The new locale, at 2325 Polk Street, boasts tanning, nail and waxing services, as well as a 500-square-foot retail space featuring brands such as Bumble and bumble and Dermalogica, as well as owner- founder Sherri Ziesche’s own skin care and cosmetics line, aptly named Beauty Company. On why she has been able to expand when most other salons are cutting back, she says: “At the end of 2008, we started to cut back [in spending] and [became] completely debt free, so in a time when there are many open retail spaces, we were able to take advantage and grow. We believe that the service and retail space together is a real advantage, [whereas] the competition has one or the other.” Perhaps most unusual is the new waxing area, located in a former bank vault built in the Thirties. Ziesche, a former freelance makeup artist and aesthetician, took over the original Beauty Company in 2002, and is now “having so much fun as a retailer,” she’s considering branching out into jewelry and accessories, too.
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Stylists, Start Your Engines
Conair Corp.–owned hair tools brand BaByliss Pro has teamed up with sports car powerhouse Ferrari to devise a high-performance hair dryer engine—a motor is for the minivans on the hair dryer highway—couched in a sleek Ferrari red casing. According to BaByliss Pro product manager David Gardiner, the Volare hair dryer with the Ferrari engine is the first of its kind to incorporate a ball bearing design to reduce friction and vibration.
Among its many other mechanical bona fides more familiar to Formula One fans than salon patrons, it has precision insert-molded construction to eliminate unnecessary weight and a turbo boost button that revs up airflow roughly 12 percent. The Ferrari-approved improvements give the Volare hair dryer 2,000 watts of power, and enable it to run for 2,000 hours, compared with 500 to 700 hours for standard hair dryers. At $400, the dryer has a luxury, almost car loan–worthy price tag, but BaByliss has lengthened its warranty to four years. “The industry has been dominated by advancements in the straightening-iron category, and nothing has really been done with blow- dryers,” says Gardiner. “We wanted to come in with an advancement that is going to make hairstylists better at what they do.”
Sleek, shiny and modern on the outside, certified organic on the inside. Makeup’s newest player is Denmark-born, New York-based makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis. “I wanted to have a line that was green on the inside but not too organic looking on the outside,” she says, “but one that did have a social-responsibility aspect to the packaging.” Creating color cosmetics that meet organic standards (it’s certified CCPB, Italy’s organic standard, where the line is manufactured) requires a lot of patience—and trial and error. “We are largely dependent on the crop,” Kjaer Weis says, explaining how one time a batch of cream eye shadows came out a much rougher texture than originally planned. “The shea butter turned out drier than usual so we had to create a whole new batch.” A batch, by the way, is 1,000 pieces. Her line is tight (11 items in total) and consists of a Lip Tint, Cream Blush and the eye shadow, in several neutral shades of each. Packaging is also environmental: Each is a refillable compact. Kjaer Weis will launch in Space NK in September, and prices range from $20 to $54.
Couldn’t every business conference benefit from a little spa break? The Ritz-Carlton in Dallas thinks so. Its spa is offering to energize meetings and reduce stress with group sessions of stretching, dancing (a Texas two-step, anyone?), mini hand or chair massages, yoga, Pilates and posture exercises. The 50-minute classes start at $60 for a group of 20 and top out at $125 an hour per massage therapist. Dubbed Playground, the innovative service was inspired by “a movement within the meetings industry to add a wellness component to the process,” said hotel spokeswoman Bonnie Crail. Hear, hear!