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NYX Opens Union Square Store, First Manhattan Location

The 2,000-square-foot flagship is home to exclusive makeup master classes.

NYX Cosmetics has landed in Manhattan.

The L’Oréal-owned makeup darling of the Instagram and YouTube vlogger set opened on Oct. 28 its first brick-and-mortar store in New York. The 2,000-square-foot space is located at 41 Union Square West, the long and narrow home of a former Starbucks. It is a time of rapid expansion for NYX, which was acquired by L’Oréal in 2014. In the past year, it has opened 20 brick-and-mortar stores, following its first in 2015, but NYX is calling this particular space its flagship.

Chief executive officer Scott Friedman declined to talk specific financial figures, but noted the store, which stocks some 2,000 stockkeeping units, is expected to produce the most sales volume of any other NYX brick-and-mortar location. Industry sources project retail sales volume of $2 million within opening year.

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“There’s no better place…this is the heart, it’s the center of so much activity, it’s a makeup mecca,” said Friedman, decked out for the flagship’s opening night party with a theatrical, red, white and blue lightening bolt makeup design. “It’s the perfect place for our brand.”

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He certainly has good company. Blue Mercury has a store on the west side of the square, MAC Cosmetics is on the south side and Sephora has a store on the north.

Exclusive to NYX’s Union Square location is a series of 30-minute master classes, held every month in the store. Priced at $30, classes focus on different features of the face, such as lips, brows, lashes and eyes.

Known for its innovative integration of digital and social media into brick-and-mortar stores, NYX’s Union Square store is home to what the brand calls an “interactive color-cast sculpture,” a menagerie of iPads and iPhones that pick up on the color one is wearing and generate images aggregated from social media of other people wearing makeup in that color. It also generates product suggestions based on the color a customer is wearing.

As in other NYX stores, tablets are strategically placed throughout the merchandise, so customers can scan a product bar code to interact with screens that aggregate posts from people who have used that certain product, according to the hashtag. At the Beauty Bar, a testing station in the center of the store, customers can watch more interactive screens that play 90-second reels created by beauty vloggers, so they can follow along with the tutorial in real time.

“We want the people that go online, who are familiar with influencers, to feel at home here,” said Friedman. “That’s how they learn, that’s they look at and talk about beauty. This is a mixture of the online world and the brick-and-mortar world.”

Friedman noted that NYX will expand its brick-and-mortar presence at a similar rate in 2017, with a location in Orange County opening next week and Palm Beach, Fla., later in the year.

Friedman noted NYX’s retail expansion has exceeded expectations. “We’re doing double what we thought we would,” he divulged. But retail partners haven’t complained, according to Friedman. “These stores help define and differentiate our brand,” said Friedman. “It’s the best way to express it and the more people understand it, the more people shop at Ulta and other partners.”