Bloomingdale’s is sweet on Tobi Tobin.
Following shops-in-shops at six California Bloomingdale’s, Tobin is taking her collection of chocolates, candles and fragrances on the road. This week she’s finalizing the rollout of her shops-in-shop concept on the beauty floor in five more Bloomingdale’s sites: the 59th Street flagship in Manhattan, Roosevelt Field, The Mall at Short Hills, Tysons Corner Center and the Aventura Mall.
Those debuts follow her installation at Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza; Westfield Century City; Westfield Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks; the Beverly Center; Bloomingdale’s in San Francisco, and Glendale, Calif.
“I’m expanding because I’m selling,” said Tobin during a tour of her Brentwood, Calif. store. The vehicle for growth is called a “permanent mobile” concept that can be placed in different locations on the beauty floor as needed. Tobin wouldn’t share numbers, but those familiar with her concept believe it can pump out sales per square foot exceeding most luxury fragrance brands.
You May Also Like
Making her design moveable was a priority. “You hear the term pop-up…but I don’t want to pop down,” laughed Tobin. “The way things move around on the beauty floor, I needed a mobile design [no electricity is required facilitating the moveable shop]. I saw all these brands investing in expensive real estate and not getting attention. Now I can get the best real estate on the beauty floor.” Trained ambassadors will staff the boutiques.
Her shop brings together her three unisex categories — chocolates, candles and fragrances that she launched in 2009. “It has to be all or none,” she said, adding that the categories boost each other. Sales are divided equally among the three businesses. “My vision was affordable luxury — everything is under $200 — and never goes on sale. I’ve never spent one dollar in marketing and I only do organic social media.”
Candles were first on her list and her goal was to create long-burning, fragrant candles that delivered value for the investment. With an eye to detail, she even positions the wick distance on the candles to deliver the best fragrance payoff based on the candle’s ingredients. The candles retail retail between $38 and $68.
Using her fragrance knowledge gleaned from candles, she added fragrances — but she sought to make them different from what’s already sold at department stores. “It is hard to launch a fragrance today. Department stores don’t want another celebrity fragrance. Celebrity is dead, so your product has to be different.”
The fragrances, which are numbered, are inspired from her travels as a model and interior designer. The 1.7 ounce retails for $98 and the 3.3 ounce is $148.
To offer an accessible price for those who want to buy from the collection, she ventured into chocolates. “I found a way to bring chocolate to the beauty floor, which has never been done before,” she claimed. She hand-makes 16 varieties of dark chocolate truffles.
Tobin opened her cozy 300-square-foot shop in Brentwood in 2015 as a laboratory to get feedback on her lifestyle collection, while providing retailers a peek at what they can duplicate in stores. She was inspired to open the location by a trip to Capri where she was entranced by minuscule shops with unique products.
Tapping her background in interior design, Tobin also plans to add curated furniture pieces to a retail project in the future.