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Trinny London to Launch at Saks Fifth Avenue

It will be the first permanent retail presence in the U.S. for the direct-to-consumer British beauty brand.

Hot on the heels of her successful entry into skin care, Trinny Woodall is taking her namesake direct-to-consumer brand in a new direction: retail distribution in the U.S.

On Tuesday, Trinny London will launch at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, less than a year after testing the waters with a pop-up at the store.

“There is always going to be a woman who wants to try products in a store,” said Woodall, during an exclusive interview with WWD. She noted that 39 percent of respondents in a recent Instagram survey that the brand conducted had not purchased online; when asked why not, respondents said they wanted to see the products in real life.

“It was about I want to touch and feel the colors — that visual sense of how you use color,” Woodall said.

Even with the brand’s proprietary Match2Me technology and deep visual library that shows Trinny London makeup products on a wide variety of skin tones and age groups, “there is still the customer who wants to see the products in the store,” she noted.

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Woodall, whose only other retail distribution is the British department store Fenwick, said she chose Saks because it’s aspirational but not intimidating. “Women from all walks of life go there,” she said. “When we did the pop-up, we had such a buzz and the people who came felt incredibly comfortable in the environment.”

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The success of the pop-up convinced Saks executives to add the line to its permanent matrix. “There was a huge demand with a wide range of customers and they reacted really well,” said Kate Oldham, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of beauty, jewelry and home at Saks. “Our customer is looking for color again, and Trinny is super connected to the customer.”

Trinny London Skin Care
Trinny London skin care is off to a fast start.

Since launching her brand in 2017, Woodall has built a strong international following, which she calls “Trinny Tribes.” There are 37 tribes in 17 different countries, with more than 50,000 members globally. Of that, about 43 percent are between 45 and 54 years old; 22 percent are 22 to 34 years old, and 20 percent are 55 and over.

It’s a very engaged group, with the brand reporting about 20,000 total comments weekly. That has translated into sales, as well. Trinny London grew by 330 percent in 2020, with revenues reaching 55 million pounds for 2021.

Skin care, which launched earlier this year, has “fundamentally changed the business,” said Woodall, noting that in less than five months it comprises 32 percent of sales.

The U.S. is about 12.5 percent of Trinny London’s business, which Woodall hopes to increase to 20 percent over the next year. While there are no immediate plans to open more Saks doors, she does envision building a stronger retail presence, noting that the goal is to have the space running smoothly before the holiday rush. While she’s not ruling out the possibility of more pop-ups, she’s not rushing in, either, and maintaining control over online distribution is part of the strategy right now.

“I don’t believe in doing pop-ups if you don’t have a long-term strategy in play,” she said. “A pop-up is that lovely appetizer so that when you come back three months later, you can replenish.”

Woodall hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a standalone space, noting, “I don’t think one’s own stores need to be cathedrals — they could be chapels.

“I’d rather have a busy chapel than a huge cathedral,” she said. “The idea of a slither of something that is permanently packed is very dynamic.”

Woodall has 1.1 million followers on Instagram, and engagement, not sales, is the most important metric as she builds her business. “Whether you buy or not, there is still an important role to play,” she said. “People convert at all different stages and for different reasons, and it’s about never letting go of that woman who isn’t a customer.

“What is important going into a recession is how much of an emotional relationship you have with the follower, the customer and the community,” Woodall continued. “That is the most important thing.”