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Malin + Goetz Unveils First Asian Store in Hong Kong

“People here take beauty very, very seriously," cofounder Andrew Goetz said.

HONG KONG — Skin-care brand Malin + Goetz has opened its first store in Hong Kong, where founders Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz were on hand to celebrate.

Launched in 2004, this is the company’s 11th store and first in Asia, joining four each in New York and Los Angeles, plus two in London. “We have a very cosmopolitan, international customer, and they’re traveling all over the world, and we see a lot of people from Hong Kong in all of our U.S. and U.K. stores, and it just made a lot of sense,” said Malin.

Goetz noted that Hong Kong is a thriving beauty market. “People here take beauty very, very seriously, and they take shopping very seriously, so we would be remiss not to be here.”

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The space, in 400 square feet at IFC mall in Central, was designed by New York-based architect Andrew Bernheimer, who also did one of the firm’s L.A. locations. None of the brand’s stores look alike. “They’re all entirely different from one another, and they’re intended to be localized businesses that feel specific and special to where they are,” Malin said.

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For Hong Kong, Goetz, who has a design background, referenced the city’s Seventies architecture. “I love the 1970s old sort of ‘Blade Runner’ apartment houses, and I went online, and I got these photos with the air conditioners hanging out, and the laundry hanging out, and they were very textural. And so the whole inspiration here was sort of looking at one of those ‘Blade Runner’ buildings and how to interpret that into a store.”

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The store located within IFC mall is its first footprint in Asia.
The store located within IFC mall is its first footprint in Asia. Courtesy

The look is clean and spare, with mostly white fixtures. Graphic shelving represents the windows and air conditioners, perches jutting out from display cases are meant to be the balconies.

The company’s retail strategy is to open five or six locations in certain key cities, newly joined ceo Brad Horowitz told WWD last month.

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Expect more doors in Hong Kong; Malin says they’re already thinking about the second location in the city. “We’re here to do market research,” said Goetz. “Obviously we think there’s a lot of opportunity, there are a lot of shopping centers here, and it’s a really big city.”

While the potential of Mainland China is appealing to any brand, requirements for animal testing on imported beauty products means Malin + Goetz won’t be there right away.

“Well, we know cross-border shipping via the Internet is an opportunity, so that’s one work-around,” Malin said. 

“That’s a work-around, but we would never…first of all, we have our dearly beloved pug Mr. Greenberg,” Goetz said. “We would never; our integrity is much stronger than our desire to have lots of dollars. So it’s not on the table.”

In any case, there is plenty of work to be done elsewhere — even at home.

The brand’s first shop in San Francisco is scheduled to open this year, and a third London location is in the works.

“There’s still room for expansion in L.A. [and] Chicago is still really important. There’s this place called Brooklyn that seems to be getting a lot of attention,” Malin said.

“Yeah, we don’t have a store in Brooklyn yet, so there’s an opportunity right at home,” Goetz added, laughing.