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Beauty Beat: Space NK Reveals a Masculine Side

Twelve years ago, Space NK founder Nicky Kinnaird helped to pioneer the U.K.'s niche beauty movement with the launch of her first apothecary store in 1993.

LONDON — Twelve years ago, Space NK founder Nicky Kinnaird helped to pioneer the U.K.’s niche beauty movement with the launch of her first apothecary store in 1993. Now, with 36 stores to her name, she’s turning her attention to men — catering to them with a new men’s grooming store and a second masculine fragrance.

Situated at 8 Broadwick St. in central London’s Soho area, the first Space NK Men store was unveiled earlier this month alongside the 37th Space NK women’s apothecary — a London flagship.

“Space NK Men is something that I have been working on for some time,” Kinnaird said during a recent interview. “The men’s category within Space NK apothecary has been showing strong sales growth over the past two years and, having seen significant growth in the male self-purchase market, we felt the time was right to create a store especially for men.”

With Space NK apothecaries already selling prestige men’s grooming products from Kiehl’s, Anthony Logistics and Space NK’s signature line, Kinnaird has sourced more than 30 new brands to add to the portfolio, including U.K. exclusives for Task, Frederic Fekkai for men, SKINethics and Menscience. She expects the latter two to be her bestsellers. In-store, prices range from 8 pounds, or $15 at current exchange rates, for an oxygen face mask by Task, to 148 pounds, or $277, for Caron fragrances.

Products carried at the men’s store run the gamut from hair care, skin care and bath and body ranges to fragrance, sun care, self-tanning items and home fragrances by Diptyque and L’Artisan Parfumeur.

Space NK Men is also venturing into upmarket sex toys, offering intricately etched platinum vibrators, hand-dyed silk blindfolds and sleep masks and exotic essential oil fragrances from U.S. lifestyle brand Jimmyjane — another U.K. exclusive. “The idea is that men can choose gifts for their wives and girlfriends,” a Space NK spokesman said.

Although it has its own entrance, the 500-square-foot men’s store is discreetly linked to the women’s 1,100-square-foot boutique so bored husbands and boyfriends have an excuse to wander off. Designed by architects Universal Design Studio — who also designed the Stella McCartney store in New York — the men’s store has obvious differences from Space NK’s women’s shops. The lighting is much lower than the brightly lit areas traditional of Space NK stores. And instead of makeup tables, there is one bright red 19.5-foot “testing bar” that runs down the center of the store.

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“The men’s store had to be an evolution of our core apothecary concept — modern in appearance, technical and forward-thinking in appeal,” said Kinnaird. “Ease of category navigation and an extensive testing bar were critical to the store design. Men are becoming much better informed about, and increasingly discerning in, their purchases, and Space NK Men aims to acknowledge and address this.”

In addition to opening the two new stores, Space NK has launched a second men’s fragrance, called Space NK Blue. A collaboration between Kinnaird and Quest International’s Christopher Sheldrake — who created the line’s first men’s scent, called Man — Blue is a fresh blend of lime, grapefruit, star anise and basil with lavender, geranium and amber in a clean woody base of cedar leaf, patchouli and oakmoss. The scent is available in a 50-ml. eau de toilette spray, priced at 38 pounds, or $71.

Men may also leave their scent in the new treatment room next door at the women’s apothecary, which will offer three Peter Thomas Roth facials and men’s waxing — for now.

But not all the new offerings are for men. The Space NK-owned Eve Lom skin care brand has rolled out four new items and repackaged its full assortment, which now totals 11 products. In the new quartet of items, there’s a 50-ml. moisturizer SPF 15 for 38 pounds, or $71; a 15-ml. eye serum at 35 pounds, or $65; a 50-ml. hand cream SPF 10 at 18 pounds, or $34, and a 7-ml. cuticle cream at 15 pounds, or $28. The brand is available at Space NK stores, Selfridge’s, John Lewis, House of Fraser and Fenwick, London.