Neiman Marcus Trending Beauty Shop

Neiman Marcus is the latest department store retailer to make a big Millennial beauty play.

On Friday, Dallas-based Neiman’s will unveil its first Trending Beauty Shop on the beauty floor of its NorthPark Center flagship store and on neimanmarcus.com. The Trending Beauty Shop will hold 650 stockkeeping units from 45 brands across the makeup, skin care and “self care” — an assortment of candles, aromatherapy oils and ingestibles — categories.

To assemble the array of mostly young, indie brands, Neiman’s assembled a “task force” of its Millennial-aged assistant buyers, planners and coordinators from the beauty merchandising team. The team of about 20 twentysomethings searched social media to procure a lineup of new vendors, including Dr. Barbara Sturm, Edward Bess, This Works, Smith and Cult, Sunday Riley, Bioeffect, Joanna Vargas, Hum Nutrition, May Lindstrom, Ouai, Kosas, KNC Beauty, Lipstick Queen and RMS Beauty.

At the NorthPark location, the products are housed in a space that is only about a few hundred square feet but is visually differentiated from the rest of the retailer’s beauty floor. The space is outfitted with modern wood and metal fixtures, and is punctuated with bright pink neon signage.

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Neiman’s is not the first department store to make a play for Millennial beauty customers — over the summer, Bloomingdale’s unveiled Glowhaus, its Millennial-targeted beauty space in five of its locations. While Glowhaus sits on the contemporary floor alongside Millennial-targeted apparel brands, Trending Beauty Shop is located squarely within the Neiman’s beauty department. There are plans to roll out Trending Beauty Shop to “a handful” of other Neiman’s locations in 2018, said the retailer’s vice president of beauty Kelly St. John.

“It’s about understanding how our customer has evolved — she is changing in the way she wants to shop and the products she’s educated on, because she’s reading about them online,” St. John said. “There’s been such a growth in up-and-coming beauty brands in the last [several] years, and we wanted to curate an assortment we could position not only to our existing customers, but to new customers as well.”

While the product assortment speaks to Neiman’s luxury heritage — a Dr. Barbara Sturm hyaluronic acid serum is priced at $300 — there are also lesser-priced items from brands like Context and Tula. “The average price point is $51 — we really feel that’s a big differentiator,” said St. John, who mentioned she hopes the lower price points will drive new customers into Neiman’s stores.

The assortment skews heavily toward makeup, and most brands — for instance RMS Beauty, Antonym, Lilah B and Kosas — are billed as clean and nontoxic. “The innovation in color has been tremendous, and we wanted to accelerate the number of color [lines] we could offer our customer products and formulations that were different from our day-in, day-out staple brands,” she said.

Trending Beauty Shop is just the latest in a series of efforts from Neiman’s to infuse the beauty floor with newness. Earlier this year the retailer launched The Wellness Shop, which carries beauty supplements and other ingestibles, and in October partnered with Indie Beauty Expo to showcase 15 indie beauty brands.

Recruiting emerging brands is part of a longer-term strategy for Neiman’s. “We’re all about, ‘How can we be nimble? How can we react to what the customer is shopping for?’ It’s a way to bring brands to our customer in a new and different way from what we’ve done in the past,” St. John said. “I can’t tell you a time in my career when we’ve done this. I said to our [sales floor] associates at NorthPark today, ‘Think about it — we just put 45 brands on your floor in three hours time, today. When has that ever happened?’”

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