The duo have teamed to open a space at 393 Broadway in lower Manhattan, the Byrdie Beauty Lab, which is meant to serve as a beauty playground where incomers can test products and interact with Byrdie beauty editors. The space will also play host to master classes and a meet-and-greet with hairstylist Jen Atkin, scheduled for Dec. 14.
The Instagram-friendly build out features more than 200 products from more than 70 brands, hand selected by the beauty staff at Byrdie and stationed around lab-themed accessories, like petri dishes. Most of the products have sample sizes, which will be available to visitors for free. Brands in the lineup include Charlotte Tilbury, Diptyque, Sisley, La Prairie, Kiehls, Estée Lauder, Ren, Clinique, Slip, Barbara Sturm, DevaCurl, Moroccanoil, Bumble and bumble, Aveda, Ouai, Living Proof, Drybar, Oribe and R+Co. Beauty enthusiasts can shop, too, but only digitally at nordstrom.com on iPads — there’s no inventory on site.
That is intentional, according to Faith Xue, Byrdie’s beauty director.
You May Also Like
“It’s less about pushing product and more about ‘Why don’t you guys come in and try stuff and be a beauty editor for a day,'” Xue said. The space is divided by category — gifts, fragrance, masks, foundation, highlighters, lipstick, sleep products, etc. Most sections are outfitted with charming descriptors such as “While You Were Sleeping,” “Iridescent Everything,” “Scentspiration” and “Glow On.”
“We’ve always wanted to create this in-real-life extension of Byrdie,” Xue said. “We were thinking, ‘What if we brought that aspect of playing and testing product to life and let other people in on the joy of beauty. And Nordstrom seemed like such a perfect fit for us as a partner — it was a way for them to bring their beauty floor…to Manhattan ahead of their third store coming to the city.” While it doesn’t have inventory, the store will have “surprise social gifting” moments, Xue noted, and some visitors will win a full-size product when they post on social media using the proper hashtag.
“We love to try to test new concepts and this was one of those out-of-the-box ideas that we thought was blurring the lines between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar,” said Debbi Hartley-Triesch, vice president and divisional merchandise manager for Nordstrom. “Our pop-up shop offers customers the ability to test, try and touch beauty products merchandised by trends and narrated through the Byrdie editors, which they can purchase on nordstrom.com.”
The Nordstrom-Byrdie pop-up is one example in a sea of many as department store retailers work to up their respective beauty games in the hopes of luring an Internet- or specialty retail-bound Millennial into the fold. The Byrdie partnership is not Nordstrom’s first new development in beauty — the chain has an ongoing partnership with boutique specialty retailer Space NK, which operates a sprinkling of shops-in-shop in different cities. Bloomingdale’s also has a Space NK shop-in-shop partnership, and recently launched GlowHaus, a beauty section in five stores that stocks Millennial-friendly brands such as Context and Nudestix. Neiman Marcus launched the Trending Beauty Shop, as well as hosted brands from the Indie Beauty Expo.
The Byrdie Beauty Lab is open from noon to 7 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, starting today and running through Dec. 15. If the experiment goes well, Byrdie would consider opening future labs — potentially in Los Angeles, Xue noted.
Byrdie has recruited a slew of beauty heavyweights to come in and teach masterclasses — each will be focused on a specific look or story.
On Dec. 2, Tobi Henney will host a holiday makeup looks workshop; on Dec. 3, Erin Stein will show visitors tips and tricks to enhance features with makeup; on Dec. 6, Indie Lee will teach about natural skin care; on Dec. 7, Sunnie Brook will show how to create her signature textured, undone braids; on Dec. 8, aesthetician Joanna Vargas will show gusts how to get red-carpet ready skin at home; on Dec. 9, Hourglass founder Carisa Janes will tell the story of her beauty brand, which was recently acquired by Unilever; on Dec. 10, Nam Vo will share highlighting techniques, and on Dec. 13, Katie Jane Hughes will show how to wear glossy makeup in real life.
“We love this idea of creating a space for readers that feels a little bit more elevated and giving them the sense of community — that’s such a big part of beauty,” Xue said. “We have a great online community and we interact with our readers on Instagram and Facebook and our web site, but I think having this in-real-life community is a really exciting step for us. This is the first of its kind and we’re excited to lead the way in a way that feels not as crazy as a full-fledged, three-day festival thing like Beautycon, but more of a casual thing you can drop by with your friends.”