Hourglass founder and chief executive officer Carisa Janes understands why people assume her sleek luxury cosmetics brand is from New York, but she’s proud it’s based in Venice, Calif. — and a new flagship dedicated to the brand in the Los Angeles neighborhood should clear up any misconceptions.
“If you know Venice and you look at Hourglass, you would absolutely not think that Hourglass is a Venice brand. It’s not hippie. It’s not boho. It’s not beachy,” she said. “But Venice has a very creative energy, whether you are an artist or you are a chef or you own a dress shop. The connection is really to creativity and energy.”
Janes considered only Abbot Kinney Boulevard when picking a street to open Hourglass’ first retail outpost. Around the corner from the company’s headquarters, the store will mark the first color cosmetics brand on the street’s increasingly popular retail row, where Le Labo, Caudalie, Aesop, Warby Parker and Rag & Bone are among the growing list of retailers setting up shops.
Janes was looking specifically for an older structure in order to marry Hourglass’ modernity with classic construction. Opening Monday, the 1,400-square-foot store is housed in a Twenties-era loftlike building with original wood beams and an exposed brick wall that has been painted white.
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Janes teamed up with design firm Standard to bring Hourglass’ sensibility to the space. Glass tubes cover a sidewall and a portion of the front of the store to underscore the light-reflecting benefits of Hourglass products.
On the store’s mezzanine level, there’s a private area that can be booked for parties or for tutorial sessions with makeup artists using Google Glass to record videos to help customers replicate looks at home. Back on the entrance level, there are four makeup stations and a customization bar for customers to get their desired powder shades put into the brand’s Ambient Lighting Palettes. At the center of the store, customers can test the complete array of around 200 products priced from $28 for mascara, lip gloss and lipstick to $350 for Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum, Hourglass’ premier skin-care product, launching with the store, on a zigzagging fixture made out of Calacatta marble and onyx quartz.
Industry sources estimate the store could generate $1.5 million in first-year sales. Although Janes doesn’t envision another store soon, the fixtures in the Venice space can be easily reproduced in other locations. The brand is expanding its wholesale distribution soon, however, and is opening three Nordstrom doors — in Dallas, Houston and Chicago — by November. Ten-year-old Hourglass is sold at Sephora, Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman and Liberty of London.