The name may not ring a bell, but the Polish import Inglot Cosmetics is turning heads with its sleek beauty outposts bursting with color.
This story first appeared in the February 25, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The company, which operates 270 stores across the globe, has its eyes trained on the U.S. market. On Feb. 18, the beauty retailer opened its second location in Manhattan — a 5,000-square-foot loftlike space in Chelsea Market that also includes a photo studio.
The sprawling store, located at 75 Ninth Avenue, is far larger than Inglot’s average footprint of 450 to 1,100 square feet. Natural light streams in from a wall of windows and a rainbow comprising thousands of color cosmetics shades offsets the white interior. Black display tables are outfitted with wheels so they can be easily moved. On the far wall is the Mixing Station, a first for Inglot’s U.S. stores, where customers can create their own shades for a host of different products.
The customizable space, complete with a bar, was designed with parties in mind. In fact, on Feb. 17, the store hosted nearly 300 people — bloggers, makeup artists, models, beauty executives and press — to fete its official opening the following day.
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The beauty retailer opened its first U.S. door in 2009 in bustling Times Square. “The U.S. is very special because of its size,” said Wojtek Inglot, founder and president, during a visit to New York City in September. He was in town to survey the recent expansion of Inglot’s store in Times Square, which had grown to 900 square feet from its original size of 500 square feet.
Since the fall, Inglot has opened U.S. locations in The Forum Shops in Las Vegas; Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J.; Aventura Mall in Aventura, Fla., and Fashion Island in Newport Beach, Calif. And the company is not stopping there. This year, Inglot plans to open an additional 10 locations across the U.S., and 50 stores globally.
Many of the outposts are franchised, but the company does own stores located in the U.S., Poland, Australia, the U.K., Ukraine and Latvia.
Inglot is a vertical enterprise. The company makes 95 percent of its products in Poland, with the exception of wooden pencils. It also manufacturers product packaging, graphics and displays in-house. The brand has gained traction with makeup artists given its breadth of colors — products in the store are organized by category and color — as well as its Freedom System, which allows customers to create customized color palettes that are magnetic and easily stackable.