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Estée Lauder Cos. Moves to Fitzrovia

Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. has opened the doors to a 140,000-square-foot office complex in London.

BEAUTY MARK: Estée Lauder Cos. has a new home in London.

The beauty giant has moved from its 35,000 square feet Grosvenor Street space in Mayfair to One Fitzroy in Fitzrovia. The structure has 10 floors, and was designed by Sheppard Robson. Some 500 head-office employees are based at One Fitzroy from departments including marketing, public relations, education, sales, corporate communications, procurement, commercial operations, media, store design and human resources.

There is a hot desk system throughout the building. Laptop-toting employees can select a desk depending on their particular assignment, and engage directly with teams from other departments and functions. There are also small, enclosed spaces for concentrated individual work.

There are open spaces for employees to congregate and collaborate. There is also a training room, social spaces and a cafe. The lifestyle spaces include a hair and nail bar, staff shop, meeting rooms for yoga or pilates, bike racks, showers and changing rooms. In addition, there is also a personal and team storage space and a gift-wrapping station.

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The impact of the new work environment will be measured this summer.

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Chris Good, U.K. and Ireland president at the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., also noted the company is focusing on enhancing the digital experience for its customers.

“We invest a lot of money on things like live chat,” said Good. “We are increasing our live-chat capabilities even in a different languages — and so on. Even if the consumer is not interacting with us directly face-to-face, in a store, even online she can get that high-touch experience and that is so important for us. That is what a luxury brand is all about.”

Good notes that social media plays a key role for the roster of beauty brands. “Very topical at the moment is London Fashion Week,” said Good. “We can take things from the catwalk, into the store within a heartbeat through the social media area because our brands MAC, Bobbi Brown, Bumble & Bumble, Aveda — they are all very prominent in London Fashion Week, so I think as a company we are involved in a huge number of shows, in one way or another.”

Good noted the boost of product sales when tied to celebrities. “There is a lot more immediacy now in terms of the way things go from a celebrity,” said Good. “For example, Kendall Jenner wears one of our lipsticks, we are out of stock within 30 seconds. When we do our MAC collections and we use celebrities like Rihanna, etc., like that, it is phenomenal. So it’s really opened up a whole new world for us, but as an organization it’s incredible that we, of course, react and build capabilities to match that.”

In terms of innovative projects, the company has focused on several including a lift-and-learn unit, grooming stations and barber shops.

“One of the things we came up with recently was called a lift-and-learn unit,” said Good. “So you get a traditional skin-care unit or makeup unit in a department store and you lift the product up and as you lift it up, on a digital screen there is information on the product and how to apply it or so on. Seems very simple, but it works and consumers engage with it and it’s also for that consumer that doesn’t necessarily want to ask too many questions or wants to browse to start with and so on.”

The company is working on developing a host of initiatives that they test and roll out.

The company is planning to launch a chain of barber shops for men. After performing a test run in 2014 with an Aveda barber shop in Covent Garden, the firm plans to launch more locations across the U.K. It recently opened a Grooming Station at St. Pancras station in King’s Cross, which will carry a range of its brands including Clinique for Men, Aveda and Bumble and bumble. “The U.K. is ahead of the world in terms of new concepts and trends and also in the use of digital.”

The U.K. is the second-largest market for the company, and is the second-largest market worldwide. In the U.K., the company reported that its makeup category grew 18 percent in retail sales while their fragrance category has grown 10.2 percent during the 2015 fiscal year.

Earlier this week, the beauty giant announced its acquisition of perfume brand By Kilian.