LONDON — Digital first beauty brand Beauty Pie is going off-line for the first time with a pop-up at Harvey Nichols beauty hall starting March 12. Beauty Pie launched in 2016 as a club, offering wholesale prices for luxury beauty products to paying members, and claiming to offer the best products while cutting out the middle man.
So why is Beauty Pie now exploring bricks-and-mortar? “It’s an omnichannel world,” said founder Marcia Kilgore. “It started as a digital brand, because we hoped it would be a really convenient way for us to test the idea of a luxury beauty buyer’s club without having big retail overheads. However, we knew eventually pop-ups or another form of retail would be required.”
Beauty, Kilgore added, is a sensorial experience and people still want the opportunity to touch, feel and smell a product. While starting out digital made sense for her business model, she stressed that it’s still necessary to have physical presence.
That being said, the concept is far from retail as usual. In terms of pricing, off-line will mirror online. Members of Beauty Pie can shop the products at members’ prices, which are usually up to 80 percent off typical retail prices for similar prices, with allowance top-ups. Beauty Pie members can buy up to 100 pounds worth of a product’s regular price value every month.
For nonmembers, customers can purchase a drop-in pass where they can purchase items for a discount of 50 percent off of typical retail prices. Passes cost 20 pounds, and there will be a limited number sold online. For those who can’t get their hands on a drop-in pass, customers can still purchase Beauty Pie products at typical retail prices.
For example, Beauty Pie’s Super Retinol Night Moisturizer costs 9.08 pounds for members and 75 pounds for nonmembers. Lipsticks costs 4.64 pounds for members and 20 pounds for nonmembers.
“It’s a tiered approach based on how we think our customers like to shop: Some dive in with reckless abandon, some just want to dip their toes, and some are still walking around the edge of the pool,” said Kilgore, who added that the extra margins gained from nonmember purchases will pay for the pop-up’s expenses.
She said the idea of doing a pop-up shop excited her and the partnership with Harvey Nichols an easy choice.
“When you get an opportunity to do something so game-changing with a visionary retailer like Harvey Nichols, you have to look at how that opportunity might elevate your offer, whether you can pull it off and test and learn — just like you would do online,” she said.
For the Harvey Nichols beauty team, working with Beauty Pie fits in with its ethos of “new, niche and ground-breaking.” Jo Osborne, director of beauty and concessions at Harvey Nichols, said the brand is a game changer in the industry.
“Their boundary pushing ethos has a great synergy with Harvey Nichols and we firmly believe that this partnership will bring in a new customer to our Knightsbridge flagship, as well as appealing to our existing domestic and international shoppers,” she said.
Osborne also believes in the importance of syncing the online and off-line experience together. “While Beauty Pie already has an extremely engaged online audience, we understand that in-store experiences are vital for any bricks-and-mortar business, so the three-month pop-up will be a combination of honoring their existing format but showcasing the brand in a whole new way,” she added.
While Beauty Pie may be dipping its toes into retail, Kilgore said the focus remains on creating a robust product development pipeline, ticking off aromatherapy, more skin care, body care, makeup, supplements, hair and scalp treatments and artist collaborations as projects currently in the works.