The Art of Shaving has opened a barbershop-in-shop concept at Bloomingdale’s, and the space forms the cornerstone of a 4,570-square-foot fragrance department and men’s skin care area at the retailer’s 59th Street flagship.
This story first appeared in the March 13, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The fragrance department, located on the Third Avenue side of the store, was opened during the last week of February. This was after the floor was closed for a few weeks as a new fragrance bar, case lines and The Art of Shaving’s 200-square-foot, two-chair barbershop was constructed.
“The new fragrance and men’s skin care area at 59th Street is part of major renovations of the main floor,” said Howard Kreitzman, vice president of cosmetics and fragrances for Bloomingdale’s. “We see it as a way to take our service and brand offerings to the next plateau.”
Kreitzman said of offering barber services in the store, “We wanted to offer our customers a unique experience as we opened our new fragrance world, and we believe that Art of Shaving allows us to do that.”
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The new fragrance department looks decidedly upscale. In the middle of the floor is a wide, round fragrance bar, which features black, mirror and chrome accents. Around the perimeter walls of the department are case lines with the same sleek, black-and-silver fixtures.
While all the major men’s and women’s fragrance brands are merchandised at the fragrance bar and along the case lines, men’s skin care lines have been moved to The Art of Shaving’s corner, which measures a total of 400 square feet, including the barber space.
Merchandised in an alcove immediately in front of the barber space are brands like Lab Series — “a long time, critical part of our men’s business,” said Kreitzman — and Zirh. In a bid to make the barbershop a semiprivate area, a partition separates the men’s skin care area from the barbershop, which is manned by two master barbers.
The floor of the new department is as sleek as its fixtures, with high-shine black and white tiles — one of the reasons The Art of Shaving slightly tweaked the colors of its barber spa. (“Barber spa” is what The Art of Shaving calls its barbershop format, which features services like straight-razor shaves.)
“We went with white marble counters rather than our regular beige,” said Eric Malka, who cofounded The Art of Shaving with his wife, Myriam. He added, “This shows the great confidence Bloomingdale’s has in The Art of Shaving. It fits with [the floor’s] newly renovated style.”
While he wouldn’t discuss numbers, industry sources estimate that before building the barbershop-in-shop at Bloomingdale’s, The Art of Shaving did about $180,000 annually at the store. In year one, according to sources, the barbershop-in-shop could pull in from $300,000 to $350,000, and within two to three years could be a $500,000 business.
The location — a first for the men’s grooming brand — is not far from The Art of Shaving’s first store, which was opened in 1996 at the corner of Lexington Avenue and 62nd Street. “Bloomingdale’s used to refer customers to us for barber services,” said Malka, “and now, 13 years later, it’s come full circle.”
Kreitzman didn’t rule out building more Art of Shaving barber spas in Bloomingdale’s in the future. “Once we have gained some experience with this new initiative, we will be able to determine the next steps,” he said.