Aesop believes in the power of touch and is harnessing it by introducing express skin-care services in the U.S.
On Dec. 9, the Australian brand will start performing 35-minute facials for $70 in its store at the retail and dining development Platform in Culver City, Calif., before they spread to additional Aesop locations on the West Coast and reach shops on the East Coast. The facials are designed to cover cleansing, exfoliating, toning and hydrating, and deliver transformative results over a span that’s not much longer than an average commute for an Angeleno.
“We administer our efficacious treatments with expediency in mind, but do not dismiss the sensory pleasures they bring from the feel on the skin to the gentle pressure of our hands,” said Suzanne Santos, general manager of retail and customer service at Melbourne-based Aesop.
Aesop initiated express facial services a few years back at Liberty London, where shoppers don’t necessarily have excess slots in their schedules for prolonged appointments. Despite the services being swift, Santos said they leave skin clarified, stimulated and nourished. “Most people lead increasingly busy lives, with less and less time available for self-care. Yet they have, rightfully so, higher expectations for what they consume or apply to their skin and less tolerance towards miracle claims in the skin-care industry,” said Santos.
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Facial therapists providing the treatments receive the product and customer training that all store consultants receive, and they also undertake hands-on, intensive instruction to familiarize themselves with Aesop’s treatment techniques. They begin each facial with a consultation to understand clients’ goals and discuss their skin-care concerns to inform decisions about the products to use. It’s recommended clients get express facials every four to six weeks.
Santos noted that Aesop’s facials revolve around carefully considered movement, rhythm and pressure. “We do not apply a formulation then desert the space. Our hands do not leave the customer,” she explained. “From a business standpoint, this involvement might come with a higher cost, but this is about providing genuine care to our clients.”
The American premiere of Aesop’s express facials comes as the brand has been expanding retail worldwide. Aesop has locations throughout Europe and Asia as well as the U.S., where it has more than 35 freestanding stores, and is sold at the retailers Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom. Including at Liberty London, express services have been available within select locations around the globe prior to launching at Aesop’s Platform store. The brand offers hour-long facials in Hamburg, London, Sydney and Melbourne.
Combating the ascendency of e-commerce, services are regarded in beauty industry circles as a strategy to draw people to physical beauty destinations, but Santos suggested that’s not Aesop’s rationale. Instead, she emphasized that facials give clients a deeper view of the brand. “We take the time to educate clients, allow them to try our formulations, understand the impact, experience, feel and embrace each aroma,” said Santos. “We’ve built Aesop on the idea that what matters is inside of the jar, and we’ve always encouraged first-hand experience, through hand demonstrations, prescriptive sampling and now facial appointments.”