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Winky Lux Tests Retail

The retail move comes on the heels of a $2 million VC round.

On the heels of its latest capital raise, Winky Lux is ready to roll into retail with its first stand-alone store.

The business is opening its first branded shop in New York’s Lower East Side today. Winky Lux also has a four-monthlong pop-up slated to hit the Roosevelt Field Mall in New York. The moves are meant to test the company’s concept — trend-driven, fast-to-market, masstige beauty products — in a format that matches its fun, quirky personality, according to cofounder and chief executive officer Natalie Mackey.

“The customer doesn’t think digital or brick-and-mortar,” Mackey said. “It’s all intertwined for her, so we are trying to build stores for Instagram. We don’t care if you buy anything, we want you to understand what the brand is about.”

Winky Lux Flower Balm
Winky Lux Flower Balm Courtesy Photo

The Lower East Side store, at 69 Ludlow Street, will be full of Instagrammable moments — think Millennial pink everything and flower walls that match Winky Lux’s whimsical packaging — and “activations” like having influencers filming tutorials, etc., Mackey said. The space also has a window where shoppers can look through the back wall into Winky Lux’s new office space, which now has a ball pit.

Winky Lux Tests Retail
Inside the Lower East Side Winky Lux store. Courtesy Photo

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The brand is going to “invite influencers to come and film tutorials, and people can watch” through the window,” Mackey said. The space has a soft opening on Oct. 17, with an official Nov. 1 launch.

In addition to its full line of products, which include Flower Balm — a pH-balancing lipstick with a tiny flower inside the bullet — and the Unibrow eyebrow pencil, the Winky Lux store will also sell products from other brands. Candles and accessories are on the list, as well as exclusive K-beauty brands.

At Roosevelt Field, Winky Lux will operate its own pop-up as a means to experiment with malls.

“The idea is to test out our mall presence — whether or not we resonate in a mall,” she said, adding neighboring pop-ups will be hosted by Skinnydip, the Donuttery, Everlane, Harry’s and Daniel Wellington.

“If it goes well, 100 percent yes [we’ll open more mall locations],” Mackey said. “Malls are looking for brands like us — we can get leases that are very special right now….If you can create a system and process for extraordinary retail, it’s very scalable.” Plus, she noted, mall leases are extremely negotiable at the moment.

Winky Lux’s parent company Glow Concept, raised a $2 million venture capital round in August from F3, BBG, GGV, Finn Capital, Ride Ventures, SoGal Ventures and TGZ Capital — the VC fund of influencer Cameron Dallas and partners Patrick Finnegan and Jake Paul. The additional funds were planned in part for the company’s retail strategy, as well as digital expansion and staffing.